Chat platform Slack quietly moves towards stock market listing

Slack going public

Slack, the chat platform beloved of the DevOps classes, has announced plans to go public albeit in the least communicative way possible.

The six year old chat/collaboration platform issued a statement yesterday saying it had “confidentially” filed a draft registration statement with the SEC for “the proposed public listing of its Class A common stock”.

This means it won’t actually be raising new money from the listing, but would side step a lot of the roadshow hoopla and some of the cost a traditional IPO involves, and allow existing shareholders to sell shares immediately.

If the SEC approves, and the company decides to take the plunge, Slack is expected to hit the market with a valuation of well over $10bn, or maybe more than $7bn, depending on who you listen to, having sucked up around $1bn of investment since it launched its service back in 2013.

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Slack has cemented itself as the preferred comms platform for many developers and their ops counterparts, becoming the centrepiece of ChatOps initiatives, and the place where you default to create a virtual war room when an outage hits. It claims over 10 million active users, and 85,000 paid customers. Being listed would presumably put more pressure on to boost that paid for number.

Arguably, one of its major rivals was Atlassian’s HipChat product. The Aussie giant at one point had two chat platforms – with Stride as well as HipChat – which were integrated into its issue management platform Jira. It also has a ton of cash to presumably support its chat and collaboration ambitions.

However, last July Atlassian decided Slack had grown to the point where it just didn’t feel like competing in this space, so it pulled the plug on its own products, handing them over to Slack, while also making an equity investment in the service.

That said, there are plenty of other rivals in the chat/collaboration world. Microsoft for one has its Teams product, which has just received a nice shiny integration with… Atlassian. Microsoft also has the advantage of being able to ensure deep integration between its collaboration products with its other product lines, including Azure DevOps, and comparatively recent purchase GitHub.

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