Notion bought automate.io! This should come as no surprise, frankly. I've written about how every tool will have automations built in. Notion being a core no-code tool was no exception to that prediction. With that assumption, the only decision notion was facing was whether they should build it out natively, use a third party or outright buy.
Build vs outsource vs buy?
Notion has (mostly) shunned venture capital, only raising $50M last year. Therefore, it remains a small team with limited capacity. If we're to go by the time it took them to build out their API despite strong user demand, building out in-house connections to hundreds of tools would have taken years.
An alternative could have been to partner with Automate.io (or other automation tool) using their existing connections instead of building out Notion's own. That would have sped up Notion's (or any other tool's) path to automations. However, what's in it for the automation tool?
Notion costs at most 8 dollars a month per user whereas 8 dollars a month doesn't get you anything at Automate.io where plans start at 10$ a month. Their most popular plan is $80 a month (although for 3 users), 3x the cost of 3 Notion paying users. If a Notion user is automating using Automate.io's piping, isn't that a user that Automate is foregoing indefinitely? I don't see a price between Automate and Notion that makes this feasible.
And that leaves us with the 3rd option: buy Automate.io (or other automation tool). I imagine Notion went down the list of options and found the tool with some traction, good connections to core tools for notion users and wasn't asking too much. Automate seems to fit the bill perfectly.
What happens next for Automate?
My gut tells me that Automate continues to run independently while Notion build its automation module within the tool. When that becomes available (which could take time!), I expect them to bundle it as a premium add-on. And that'll be the end of Automate.
If I was an Automate client today, especially if I was not a power Notion user, I'd be looking for alternatives!
What do you think of this acquisition?
Until next week, keep building!