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Knowledge, as the old saying goes, is power. But when that knowledge is spread across sprawling, fragmented repositories, it can be difficult for even the most organized individual to connect the dots and make sense of it all.
It’s something that fledgling startup Logseq proposes to solve, with an approach based on confidentiality open source knowledge base that helps individuals and businesses combine all of their disparate notes, research, PDF annotations, and more into one interconnected system for storing and retrieving information.
With support for markup languages such as Reduction and Emacs’ org modeLogseq allows users to create tasks, manage and store notes or task lists, embed pages, annotate PDFs and create links between all the information they contain, in order to create free flow of information.
Logseq is entering a space that includes incumbents such as Wander, Obsidian, Moss and Athens, although in reality it seeks to supplant older knowledge management systems that are “skeuomorphically” designed to mimic linear systems built around pages, files, and folders. Indeed, Logseq is conceptually closer to something like a global wiki that stores data “like a human brain” – a graph of nodes made up of a myriad of interconnected concepts. It also supports graph database-based visualizations, allowing users to express particular tasks and subtasks on a graph that shows their interconnection.
To take things to the next level, Logseq today revealed that it has raised $4.1 million in seed funding from a slew of notable backers, including the CEOs and founders of companies such as Stripe, Shopify and Quora.
Logseq in action
Logseq, which users can already access through a desktop app or native iPad/iOS app, can be used to write and connect just about any type of text note. For example, it can improve note-taking for project meetings, with two-way links and graphical databases on top of simple Markdown files – this can help any attendee review previous conversations and notes and use filters to select relevant topics for the meeting.
Logseq also advertises itself as “local-first”, which means that it supports storing information in Markdown text files on users’ local machines, giving them full and unfettered access to all their information. And because it supports Markdown and Org-mode out-the-box, that means it’s interoperable with other platforms and systems.
Another potential use case is in PDF annotation, with Logseq allowing users to highlight a piece of text on the document and write notes associated with those highlights.
So who exactly is the intended end user with Logseq? Anyone and everyone, according to Logseq co-founder and CEO Tienson Qin.
“Individual researchers and home consumers already rely on Logseq to store complex knowledge bases and personal CRMs,” Qin told VentureBeat. “SMBs and enterprise teams use Logseq to store notes for teams in a way that builds deeply interconnected relationships to give new hires faster context, more convenient data management, and keep more detailed logs of their collective mental thought process.”
The story so far
Qin and Co. created Logseq as an open source “passion project” in early 2020, although it has only been around as a formal company for a year. But in the months since, the company has attracted a growing user base that includes developers, researchers, and academics from a host of top organizations like Google, Meta, MIT, and Stanford.
“It’s a great platform for researchers and scholars to catalog a lot of information, both in groups and on their own,” Qin told VentureBeat. “Logseq is used by enterprise teams who need to better store information in interconnected structures. Logseq’s product is designed to be so incredibly easy to use that even young children can pick it up and start exploring. »
Regarding how Logseq plans to make money beyond its existing donation-based approachthe company intends to dedicate at least a portion of its initial investment to hiring and product development, resulting in high-end features for individuals and businesses.
“We are exploring a ‘pro’ Logseq plan for individuals that would include end-to-end encrypted sync, publishing, AI assistant and collaboration, as well as the potential for enterprise plans,” Qin explained. “But, first, we’re focused on rapid growth by enabling open-source, widespread collaboration.”
Indeed, it is this open source foundation that could well set up the company as it builds a commercial product, especially in industries where data ownership and control is a top priority.
“Because it’s open source and puts privacy first, we have a large user base whose identities we don’t actively track, which also speeds up compliance checks,” Qin said.
Additionally, the fact that Logseq is a community project means that contributors from all over the world can add (or request) their features. Qin said that in the past three months alone, the Logseq community has created more than 80 plugins to support integrations with calendars, natural language processing (NLP) applications, and even To read.
In the coming weeks, Logseq is preparing to launch features to better support real-time collaboration, allowing teams to simultaneously edit notes on their Logseq Knowledge Graphs, much like Google Docs.
“Logseq is great for helping teams work on datasets together — it’s even better for allowing multiple teams to work on the same dataset,” Qin noted. “That’s because the ideas and information in this dataset become naturally connected in a two-way graph, which means organization isn’t just about files and folders, but rather logically, like a brain works, to advance research.
Logseq’s seed funding round included investments from Stripe CEO Patrick Collison; Tobias Lütke, founder of Shopify; former GitHub CEO Nat Friedman; Quora founder Charlie Cheever; famed software developer Dave Winer; Andreessen Horowitz partner Sriram Krishnan; Craft businesses; Matrix partners; and Day One Ventures.
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