According to two tech journalists from The Verge, in 2013 ‘the clouds [parted] … a light shined [sic] down from heaven’ and thus Slack appeared, a communication collaboration platform on a divine mission to make your working life simpler, more pleasant and more productive.
Three years later, and with 2.7 million daily active users, this San Francisco-based start-up has just announced they have raised another $200 million in venture capital financing, bringing their total to $540 million. Now valued at close to $4 billion, Slack is one of the fastest-growing ‘unicorns’, or start-up companies worth over $1 billion. Given the recent decline of funding in Silicon Valley, these figures are all the more impressive.
For those unfamiliar with what the media have described as a ‘messaging app on steroids’, the software is a combination of instant messaging, texting and chat rooms, which can be used across multiple devices and platforms, has options for open and private messaging channels, let’s you upload and share files, as well as integrating with other programs such as Skype, Google Drive and Twitter. Slack’s built-in robot, Slackbot, will help you set-up and maintain your profile and can even be programmed to respond to messages.
As with all tech start-ups, Slack has an ambitious growth plan, made public on the company’s Trello board. Recent developments include the ‘Calls’ feature, which allows both private and conference calls, and enhances the seamless Slack experience. While the company offers a free version, additional features do come at a cost, albeit a relatively minor one.
But it’s not all work and no play, in fact quite the opposite. Slack founder Stewart Butterfield admits that his background in game development helped when designing the software and the result is a downloadable cool office culture, complete with custom-made emojis, GIFs and inside jokes. Sounds ideal, until you realise work is so fun, you never want to leave… Things just got real.