February 24, 2024
Open source Notion alternative AppFlowy gets big-name backers and moves to the cloud techcrunch

A new startup is targeting the lucrative workplace productivity space with an open source approach to project and knowledge management — and it’s received backing from investors across the technology spectrum.

AppFlowy, as the company is called, has raised $6.4 million in funding from a number of well-known founders, including Matt Mullenweg (Automattic); Steve Chen (Youtube); Tom Preston-Werner (GitHub); Bob Young (Red Hat) and Amr Awadalla (Cloudera). The seed round was led by OSS Capital.

Helping the workforce be more efficient is big business, as evidenced by companies like Notion reaching a valuation as high as $10 billion due to demand for remote work-powered collaboration software. However, as with proprietary software, businesses – especially enterprises – may be hesitant to work solely on technology over which they do not have complete control.

And this, essentially, is what AppFlowy seeks to address with a self-hosted solution that goes toward addressing security and scalability concerns with existing providers.

Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, AppFlowy includes tools for managing projects, taking notes, tracking the status of individual project items, viewing deadlines, creating documents, among other things that are similar to using similar virtual workspace tools. You can get acquainted with them.

AppFlowy Image Credit:appflowy

However, the promise of AppFlowy is all about control and customizability, allowing companies to tailor their workspaces with modular building blocks that can be fine-tuned for specific use-cases. And because it’s open source, AppFlowy is able to support community contributions, which can accelerate new functionality.

But AppFlowy lends itself particularly well to industries with strict data privacy restrictions.

“Most proprietary collaboration workplace tools share one major limitation – their customers find it too difficult or too expensive to have 100% control over their data,” co-founder and CEO Annie Anqi Wang said in a blog post. “As a result, vendor lock-in becomes harder to break. Users often feel anxious when entrusting their sensitive data to these devices, naturally concerned about their longevity.

to the cloud

Founded two years ago by former ByteDance product manager Wang and CTO Nathan Fu, who was previously a software engineer at TikTok’s parent company, Appflowy appeared on GitHub in November 2021 under the “copyleft” AGPL-3.0 license and passed the certification. 30,000 “stars” in its first year.

With $6.4 million in the bank, the company is now well-funded to build the platform into a money-making business. AppFlowy introduced self-hosting in early September through Supabase (an open source Firebase alternative), which provides data storage for those wishing to host AppFlowy in-house. But along with its funding, the company also unveiled a cloud product designed for deployment on cloud platforms like Amazon EC2 and Azure virtual machines.

“Moving forward, we will support team collaboration and enterprise offerings based on the AppFlowy cloud,” Wang told TechCrunch.

In fact, while self-hosting gives companies unbridled control over their data, it also comes with maintenance costs and challenges that not all companies will be willing or able to cover – that’s where AppFlowy Cloud enters the fray. Does.

With the promise of end-to-end encryption (E2EE), AppFlowy hopes to court businesses that are hesitant to lean on the cloud due to security concerns – although E2EE is entirely optional, and few businesses view it as such. You may prefer not to activate full encryption. This limits some of the things that users can do. This includes real-time collaborative editing on documents, while it may hinder integration with some third-party services, among other obstacles.

“People often want E2EE for extreme security, however, there are many reasons why some people choose not to choose E2EE,” Wang said. “Users who prioritize speed and performance can opt out of E2EE, [and] Lack of recovery options [will mean] That only the user has the key to decrypt. may be an organization [also] Choose not to use E2EE due to regulatory compliance, data retention policies, and management considerations.

It’s also worth noting that companies can take a hybrid local/cloud approach with AppFlowy, allowing them to keep their instances local and sync with the cloud only when needed.

“This approach provides a blend of offline experience and cloud connectivity based on user needs and preferences,” Wang said. “Data is used in a local environment, and can be uploaded to the cloud when users want to back it up or share it. However, users also have the option to sync continuously.

Ultimately, AppFlowy Cloud will also be the company’s ticket to monetization, although it will initially be offered completely free.

“We plan to adopt a freemium model for AppFlowy Cloud, which means some premium features will not be included in the free tier,” Wang said. “Since these features are still under development, there is no paywall at this time.”

AppFlowy’s cloud platform is now available in private beta, with a full public launch expected “soon.” The company also said it is working on a mobile app that is scheduled to launch next month, and that will help Appflowy go fully cross-platform.

Source: techcrunch.com

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