The Slack chat platform is going public, with a value of $16 billion, translating to $26 per share.
NPR and other sources show the next-gen texting platform will be first listed on the New York exchange today.
Unlike most big companies, Slack is going with a direct listing instead of a “vanilla” IPO, to avoid underwriting and timeline requirements for current holders unloading stock.
“Slack’s decision to begin trading as a direct listing follows a wobbly start for Uber, which has had one of the most anticipated initial public offerings in the tech sector. Last month, the ride-hailing company reported a $1 billion loss in its first public financial report, just weeks after its IPO,” writes Amy Scott.
Slack’s planners are using an interesting and unusual ticker to help show the value proposition behind this company: WORK.
Slack is currently used by over half a million organizations for internal communications, though some are still hazy on exactly why one would use Slack instead of Skype or just email, and how it differs from other workflow flavors like Basecamp and Trello.
Forrester analyst Michael Facemire has some ideas: as quoted in Scott’s NPR piece (and elsewhere on the web) Facemire believes that Slack does have some unique merits, if slightly esoteric ones:
“If the world were only composed of technologists and developers and Silicon Valley illuminati, then Slack would be far, far ahead,” Facemire says. “There is a large percentage of the population that isn’t that. This is where tools like Microsoft Teams do just as well.”
Facemire also names another big competitor, Microsoft Teams, which has been establishing itself quietly. Facemire seems to suggest Microsoft’s offering will do just fine for less tech-centric people.
The head to head battle between the two platforms has been going on for a while.
“Teams is new and still needs to go a long way to compete with Slack, feature-wise, but Teams has advantages that come from it being a part of the Microsoft family,” wrote Twain Taylor at TechGenix in February. “Now, where Teams wins big is practicality. Teams is included in the Office 365 subscription. This fact alone puts Slack in a difficult position. Earlier, Slack was one of its kind tool and had taken the world by storm. But, winning the collaboration war simply boils down to practicality. Why get a Slack subscription when you can get Teams for free? Sure, there are features Slack has that Teams doesn’t, but most, if not all, of those features are a part of other Office 365 products which are seamlessly integrated with Teams.”
Keep an eye on this promising direct offer, and please let us know if you think Slack is the bee’s knees, or a dud. Drop us a line in comments!