Just two years after being founded, Vancouver-based Slack has already established itself as one of Canada’s hottest startups, with a $3.8 billion valuation, following its most recent $220 million CAD Series E.
Now, Slack has announced a $80 million USD investment fund specifically for early stage investments in companies building apps for Slack. Speaking with Re/code, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield said the company will start with smaller seed stage investments. “But it’s possible we’ll be writing bigger checks in the future,” he noted. “In an ideal world, we’d like to make some return on the investments, but mainly this is about getting the wheels spinning on making the Slack platform more powerful and more useful.”
Two early investments include Howdy, which builds Slack bots and apps that automate tasks in Slack, and Awesome, which has software that summarizes a user’s activity in Slack. The fund has been established in partnership with VC funds Accel, Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, KPCB, Spark Growth and Social Capital.
In a move to further make the Slack platform a more powerful everyday tool, Slack also announced an app directory, already featuring 150 apps. Platforms like UberConference, Twitter, Google Calendar and Drive, and Dropbox are among apps available for integration into Slack. The directory is sure to make life easier for Slack’s now 2 million daily active users. It’s a 16 percent increase from October, when the service had 1.7 million users, and the company now boasts 570,000 paid users, up from 470,000 two months ago.