Slack rolling out new features, will direct list on NYSE


Cloud-based communications company Slack recently announced a host of new features, the same week it filed to go public. Among the new features are shared channels on enterprise grid, a workflow builder, and deeper integrations with its work tools.

Slack was last valued at $7 billion USD, and is expected to generate $500 million in revenue this year.

“Work today is more complex, more global and ever-more demanding,” Slack wrote in a company blog post. “Our attention is fragmented. Information lives in multiple silos. All of this makes it difficult to stay aligned and productive. That’s why we’re introducing a host of new features… designed to break down these barriers.”

Among the new features, Slack said it is attempting to bridge the divide between email and its own service. Earlier this month, Slack announced an integration with Office 365, which now allows users to connect their calendars to Slack, send emails to channels, and preview PowerPoint and Word files through its platform. Slack has similar integrations with Google Calendar and Gmail.

With this new feature, users will be able to communicate with non-users from within Slack, by way of @-mention through Slack’s channels or direct message. From there, the messages will appear directly in the non-user’s inbox. Emailed responses will come back into Slack, and the entire exchange becomes a Slack history if the non-user ever decides to join Slack.

“These types of integrations tie multiple workflows together, significantly improving the interoperability of the tools you use at your organization while also extending the value of your existing IT investments,” the company wrote.

RELATED: Slack acquires email client Astro

Another new feature is its workflow builder, which Slack said will allow users to create a basic app for routine tasks, without using code, similar to Amazon’s Alexa Blueprints. This approach allows users to draft up self-service HR forms, employee surveys, or a welcome message for new team members. The feature is expected to roll out later this year.

This summer, Slack will also be releasing Shared Channels Beta, a feature that connects teams in separate organizations through its platform. The company said this would allow agencies, customers, vendors, and many others to collaborate, seamlessly and securely.

Founded in Vancouver, Slack has made several acquisitions and investments in the past to boost its own messaging platform. The company acquired Screenhero, which specializes in voice, video, and screen sharing, in 2015. In January 2017, Slack revealed the seven companies backed through its $106 million Slack Fund. The company says more than 10 million people use its service each day. Last August, it raised $427 million USD in a Series H round led by Dragoneer Investment Group and General Atlantic.

The new features were first showcased at Slack’s 2019 Frontiers Conference, an annual event that focuses on digital disruption and technologies in design, health, AI, robotics, 5G, industries 4.0, software, communication.

Slack filed for a direct listing on Friday, sidestepping the process of its long-awaited initial public offering (IPO), according to Bloomberg. According to a Bloomberg, as of this morning, Slack filed for a direct listing on the NYSE under the symbol ‘SK’. Prior to the filing, the company was last valued at $7 billion USD, and the company is expected to generate $500 million in revenue this year, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Journal had reported that it was anticipated that Slack was preparing a prospectus to be released sometime this week.

Update: this story has been updated to reflect that Slack has now filed for an IPO as of Friday, April 26.

Image courtesy Slack.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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