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Slack is preparing for a 2019 IPO (MSFT, GOOGL)

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Slack Technologies, owner of popular enterprise workplace communications platform Slack, is actively preparing for an initial public offering (IPO) in the first half of 2019, according to The Wall Street Journal. The company, which has reportedly been eyeing a potential IPO since 2017, is expecting to reach a valuation in excess of $7 billion.

Stewart Butterfield Slack Beck Diefenbach/Reuters

The IPO will build on Slack’s recent moves to help expand its platform to more users and improve its existing tools. Slack, which boasted 8 million daily active users (DAU) as of May 2018, could use the influx of cash from an IPO to continue to improve its platform’s tools and expand to more users around the world.

For instance, this past July, the company acquired the IP for Atlassian’s workplace chat tools HipChat and Stride, which enabled it to migrate those platforms’ customers to Slack. And this past August, Slack Technologies raised $427 million in its latest round of funding, which it plans to use to improve its offerings and bolster user growth.

Slack needs to continue improving its platform and growing its user base to stave off new competitors with strategic advantages that are doing the same:

  • Microsoft’s driving user growth for its new workplace communications tool, which leans on the tech giant’s popular enterprise products. Microsoft launched its Slack competitor, Microsoft Teams, in March 2017. The product comes natively integrated with the Office 365 suite, making it seamless and easy for Microsoft’s enterprise clients to use. And enterprises are taking to the new tool, as the number of organizations using the platform grew 65% from 200,000 in March to 329,000 in September.
  • Google is improving feature functionality in its own new communications tool, which natively integrates with popular G Suite products.Google launched its workplace collaboration tool Hangouts Chat this past March, which enables users to seamlessly access Google Docs, Drive, and Sheets within their Google Hangouts chat experience. Google is also taking steps to improve the Hangouts Chat user experience, as it released enhanced notification controls this September and expressive emoji reactions this past August.
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