Workplace messaging and collaboration app Slack has just raised a stunning $160 million after blazing its way to a jaw-dropping valuation of $2.8 billion – nearly three times its $1 billion valuation of just six months ago.
Given the fact that it didn’t exist before 2013, this is spectacular to say the least (it’s the brainchild of erstwhile Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield). The new cash injection comes on the back of supersonic efforts by Slack to capitalise on the huge interest it’s generated among team workers seeking better tools to access and share work-related content and data.
“Built around search from the ground up,” as the Slack website puts it, the platform archives and indexes every document and decision, every message and file (including relevant content from Twitter, GitHub, Google Docs, Asana, Dropbox and dozens of others), making them all instantly available from one search box. Because it has native iOS and Android apps, it’s available whether you’re on the hoof or in front of a desk. Who needs email when Slack can deliver all that?
With little expenditure on marketing acquisitions to speak of, Slack has grown its daily active user base to 750,000 – double the number it had at the start of the year. Butterfield isn’t planning to make it any more sophisticated; instead, he’s racing to reach as many team workers as possible with the existing service.
The latest cash injection puts a value in excess of $3,700 on each active daily user – a positively stratospheric amount for a firm operating with a ”freemium” business model. The aim is to attract as many users as possible with a free service and then try to sell a premium service to the firms they work for.
There’s undoubtedly competition out there, though. Slack’s sensational growth hasn’t gone unnoticed by Facebook, which is reportedly developing its own team collaboration app.
It’s fair to point out that some investors have questioned whether the firm’s skyrocketing valuation is justifiable given the basic nature of the platform; however, Butterfield is bullish about future prospects, claiming that Slack will grow faster even with a narrow service by helping workers tap into their existing employers’ applications more simply.
He seems onto a winner.