Slack Technologies

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Slack Technologies, Inc.
FormerlyTiny Speck (2009–2014)
TypePublic
NYSEWORK (Class A)
IndustryInternet[1] (formerly video games)[2]
FoundedVancouver, British Columbia, Canada (2009)[3]
FoundersStewart Butterfield
Eric Costello
Cal Henderson
Serguei Mourachov[4]
Headquarters
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Stewart Butterfield (co-Founder and CEO)
ProductsSlack
RevenueIncrease $401 million (2019)[5]
Decrease −$141 million (2019)[5]
Number of employees
1,664 (April 2019)[5]
Websiteslack.com

Slack Technologies, Inc. is an American international software company founded in 2009 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Its core team is largely drawn from the founders of Ludicorp, the company that created Flickr.[6]

Outside its headquarters in San Francisco, California, Slack operates offices in Dublin, Vancouver, New York City, Toronto, Denver, London, Tokyo, Pune, Paris, and Melbourne.[7]

In June 2019, Slack Technologies went public on the New York Stock Exchange via a direct stock listing.[8] On December 1, 2020, Salesforce announced its acquisition of Slack for $27.7 billion.[9]

History[edit]

Initial funding and Glitch[edit]

Tiny Speck received angel funding of $1.5 million in 2009,[10] followed by Series A funding of $5 million in 2010 from Accel Partners and Andreessen Horowitz.[11] A Series B round of $10.7 million was raised in 2011.[12]

Tiny Speck's first product was a computer game called Glitch—a social MMORPG with highly stylized 2D graphics. The gameplay was described as "players must learn how to find and grow resources, identify and build community and, at the higher levels of the game, proselytize to those around them".[13] Originally scheduled for release in Spring 2011,[14] Glitch launched on September 27, 2011,[15][16] but subsequently "unlaunched" to improve gameplay.[17]

In November 2012, it was announced that Glitch would be closed, effective December 9, 2012.[2]

Slack and further funding[edit]

The New York Stock Exchange Building after Slack's direct offering on the NYSE – June 20, 2019

After the closure of Glitch, the company launched the Slack real-time collaboration app and platform, raising $17 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Accel, and Social Capital.[18] After the launch of Slack, the company renamed itself to Slack Technologies in August 2014.[19] The name is an acronym for "Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge".[20] Slack had been an internal tool used for the development of Glitch.

The company raised $42.75 million in April 2014.[21] In October 2014, the company raised $120 million in venture capital with a $1.2 billion valuation led by Kleiner Perkins and GV.[22] Earlier investors Andreessen Horowitz, Accel, and Social Capital also participated in this round.[22]

In January 2015, Slack announced the acquisition of Screenhero, a specialist in voice, video, and screen sharing.[23] In March 2015, Slack signed a deal with investors to raise up to $160 million in a funding round that valued the company at $2.76 billion. New investors include Institutional Venture Partners, Horizons Ventures, Index Ventures, and DST Global.[24]

In April 2015, the company raised another $160 million.[25] In May 2015, Social Capital was a leading investor in a funding round for Slack Technologies.[26]

In April 2016, Slack raised another $200 million, led by Thrive Capital, with participation by GGV, Comcast Ventures and existing investors, including Accel, Index Ventures, and Social Capital.[27][28] In 2016, Slack was ranked #1 on the Forbes Cloud 100 list.[29] In September 2017, Slack raised $250 million, the majority of which came from Softbank's Vision Fund, with about 45% of that, or $112.5 million, originally from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.[30][31] This round put Slack's total fundraising at $841 million and its valuation at $5.1 billion (including cash raised).[32] In early 2018, Slack announced the company's first CFO, Allen Shim.[33]

On July 26, 2018, Atlassian announced the shutdown of its competing HipChat and Stride effective February 11, 2019, and the sale of their intellectual property to Slack.[34] Slack was to pay an undisclosed amount over three years to assume the user bases of the services, and Atlassian was to take a minority investment in Slack. The companies also announced a commitment to work on integration of Slack with Atlassian services.[35][36]

In September 2018, it was announced the firm was preparing for an initial public offering in the first half of 2019.[37] In November 2018, Slack was recognized in Credit Suisse AG's inaugural Disruptive Technology Recognition (DTR) Program, an annual recognition of five top companies who are disrupting traditional enterprise information technology.[38] On January 16, 2019, Slack announced the launch of the company's new logo.[39]

On December 11, 2018, it was reported that Slack was considering a direct public listing.[40] In the lead-up to its DPO, Slack reported that it had generated $400.6 million in revenue for the fiscal year ending January 31, 2019, up from $220.5 million in the previous year[41] and up from $105.2 million in 2017.[42] Slack also reported losses of $138.9 million for the fiscal year ending in January 2019.[41][43] On February 4, 2019, several media news outlets reported that Slack had filed for taking the company public. According to The Wall Street Journal, sources indicated the company would pursue a Direct Listing Process (DLP) instead of the traditional IPO.[44][45] On April 26, 2019, Slack filed its Form S-1 to go public through a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange,[46] similar to Spotify in 2018.[47] Its stock, ticker WORK, started trading on June 20, 2019. The NYSE set a reference price of $26 to start off trading and the stock rose to more than $41 in the initial hours of trading.

On November 13, 2019, Slack announced the formation of its partner channel as part of its focus on enterprise clients.[48]

On February 10, 2020, it was reported that IBM will deploy Slack to all of its 350,000 employees, making IBM Slack's largest client to date.[49]

On November 25, 2020, the Wall Street Journal reported that Salesforce was in advanced talks to acquire Slack.[50] The company announced its planned acquisition of Slack on December 1, 2020, for over $27 billion in cash and stock.[51]

Litigation[edit]

In July 2020, Slack filed a lawsuit with the European Commission accusing Microsoft of anticompetitive behavior. Slack alleges that Microsoft illegally bundled their competing Microsoft Teams collaboration product with the Microsoft office suite.[52]

In October 2020, investors plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit against Slack in the California State Superior Court of San Mateo County, alleging securities violations.[53] Plaintiffs claimed, on behalf of individuals who acquired Slack Class A common stock in Slack’s June 2019 direct public offering, that Slack violated Sections 11, 12, and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 because its IPO documentation allegedly had untrue statements and material omissions.[53] Earlier, in April 2020, Judge Susan Illston of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California had issued an order partially granting Slack’s motion to dismiss a similar federal class action complaint against it.[54] On the one hand, while typically, plaintiffs must show they can trace their shares of stock in the issuer back to the relevant offering, however, if there are multiple registration statements, plaintiffs must prove that the shares they purchased were issued under the allegedly false or misleading registration statement, Illiston held that a direct listing is different and requires a broader reading of Section 11 of the '33 Act of the phrase “such security,” meaning: “acquiring a security of the same nature as that issued pursuant to the registration statement.”[54] As a result, she denied defendant’s motion to dismiss the case under Section 11.[54] On the other hand, she granted the motion to dismiss partially - as to claims that Slack misled plaintiffs regarding Slack's scalable architecture, and she also found the statements in the “Key Benefits” portion of Slack's registration statement to be unactionable.[54]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Crunchbase – Slack Technologies". CrunchBase. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "A Sad Announcement from Tiny Speck". Retrieved November 17, 2012.
  3. ^ "Tiny Speck Finds More Than a Glitch and Closes Game for Good". TechVibes. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
  4. ^ "Slack's Co-Founders Take Home The Crunchie For Founder Of The Year". TechCrunch. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c "Form S-1 Slack Technologies, Inc". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  6. ^ Kara Swisher. "Flickr Co-Founder Butterfield Talks About His New Game startup, Glitch". AllThingsD. Retrieved September 17, 2010.
  7. ^ "About Us". Slack. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  8. ^ "Slack Just Went Public and the Stock Is Trading Well Above Expectations". Barron's. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  9. ^ "Salesforce buys Slack in a $27.7B megadeal". Techcrunch. December 2, 2020. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  10. ^ Mathew Ingram. "Q&A with Stewart Butterfield on the launch of Glitch". GigaOM. Retrieved September 17, 2010.
  11. ^ Om Malik. "Stewart Butterfield's Tiny Speck Raises 5 Million from VCs". GigaOM. Retrieved September 17, 2010.
  12. ^ "Slack - Crunchbase Company Profile & Funding". Crunchbase.
  13. ^ Daniel Terdiman. "In depth with Tiny Speck's Glitch". CNet. Retrieved September 17, 2010.
  14. ^ "Tiny Speck CrunchBase profile". TechCrunch. Retrieved September 17, 2010.
  15. ^ "A Flickr Founder's Glitch: Can A Game That Wants You To Play Nice Be A Blockbuster?". Fast Company. September 27, 2011. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  16. ^ "Vancouver's Tiny Speck puts massively multiplayer game Glitch online". Vancouver Sun. September 27, 2011. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  17. ^ "Glitch 'unlaunches' to add new features - Massively". Retrieved December 2, 2011.
  18. ^ "Flickr Co-Founder Stewart Butterfield Turns to Workplace Communication Tools With Slack".
  19. ^ "Tiny Speck is no more. We're now Slack Technologies, Inc. See @SlackHQ. Bye!". Twitter. August 28, 2014. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
  20. ^ Kim, Eugene (September 27, 2016). "Slack, the red hot $3.8 billion startup, has a hidden meaning behind its name". UK Business Insider. Retrieved October 13, 2018.
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  23. ^ "Screenhero joins Slack". The Screenhero Blog. January 28, 2015. Retrieved October 13, 2018.
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  25. ^ Lunden, Ingrid (April 15, 2015). "Used Daily By 750K Workers, Slack Raises $160M, Valuing Collaboration Startup At $2.8B". Techcrunch. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
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  27. ^ "Forbes Cloud 100". Tech Crunch. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  28. ^ Roof, Katie; Constine, Josh (April 1, 2016). "Slack is work chat's runaway train, raises $200M at $3.8B". TechCrunch. Retrieved October 13, 2018.
  29. ^ "Forbes Cloud 100". Forbes. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
  30. ^ Fiegerman, Seth. "Silicon Valley wrestles with Saudi Arabia ties". CNN Business. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  31. ^ "Slack's Financials Are Released". Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute. June 20, 2019. Retrieved June 27, 2019.
  32. ^ Andrew Nusca (September 20, 2017). "Slack Raises $250 million; Tops $5 Billion Valuation". Techcrunch. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
  33. ^ Miller, Ron. "Slack names Allen Shim as company's first CFO". TechCrunch. Retrieved February 8, 2018.
  34. ^ Miller, Ron (July 26, 2018). "Slack forms key alliance as Atlassian throws in the towel on enterprise chat". TechCrunch. Retrieved October 13, 2018.
  35. ^ Etienne, Stefan (July 26, 2018). "Slack buys HipChat with plans to shut it down and migrate users to its chat service". The Verge. Retrieved October 13, 2018.
  36. ^ Kumparak, Greg (July 26, 2018). "Atlassian's HipChat and Stride to be discontinued, with Slack buying up the IP". TechCrunch. Retrieved October 13, 2018.
  37. ^ Farrell, Maureen (September 28, 2018). "Slack Actively Preparing for Early 2019 IPO". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  38. ^ Byrne, Karina (November 20, 2018). "Credit Suisse AG Announces the Disruptive Technology Recognition Program". Credit Suisse (Press release). Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  39. ^ "Say hello, new logo". Several People Are Typing. January 16, 2019. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  40. ^ Term Sheet: A Direct Public Debut, Fortune
  41. ^ a b Fiegerman, Seth; O'Brien, Sara Ashley (April 26, 2019). "Slack files to go public with an unusual approach". CNN. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  42. ^ Taulli, Tom. "What You Need To Know About The Slack IPO". Forbes. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  43. ^ Feiner, Lauren (April 26, 2019). "Slack files to go public, revealing $400 million in revenue and $139 million in losses". CNBC. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  44. ^ Farrell, Maureen (February 4, 2019). "Slack Files Confidentially to Go Public With Direct Listing". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  45. ^ Feiner, Lauren (February 4, 2019). "Slack confidentially files to go public". www.cnbc.com. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  46. ^ "Form S-1 Registration Statement". www.sec.gov. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  47. ^ "Slack files to go public, reports $138.9M in losses on revenue of $400.6M". TechCrunch. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  48. ^ "Slack Services Partners To Help Vendor Target Enterprises".
  49. ^ "Slack skyrockets 21% after making IBM its biggest account yet (WORK)". Business Insider. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
  50. ^ Lombardo, Cara (November 25, 2020). "Salesforce Is in Advanced Talks to Buy Slack Technologies". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 30, 2020.
  51. ^ Levy, Ari (December 1, 2020). "Salesforce acquires Slack for over $27 billion, marking cloud software vendor's largest deal ever". CNBC. Retrieved December 3, 2020.
  52. ^ "Slack Accuses Microsoft of Illegally Crushing Competition". The New York Times. July 22, 2020. Retrieved September 1, 2020.
  53. ^ a b "First Amended Complaint Filed In Consolidated Slack Securities Suit - Tech Giants". October 7, 2020.
  54. ^ a b c d "Slack Direct Listing Lawsuit Partially Dismissed - Tech". April 24, 2020.

External links[edit]