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Tag Archives: slack

Slack is raising $400M+ with a post-money valuation of $7B or more

Slack — the app that lets coworkers and others in professional circles chat with each other and call in data from hundreds of integrated apps in the name of getting more work done (or at least procrastinating in an entertaining way) — has been on a growth tear in the last few years, most recently passing 8 million daily active users , 3 million of them paying. Now, the company is planning to capitalise on that with some more funding. TechCrunch has learned that Slack is raising another round, this time in the region of $400 million or possibly more, with a post-money valuation of at least $7 billion — adding a whopping $2 billion on top of the company’s last valuation in September 2017, when SoftBank led a $250 million round at a $5.1 billion valuation . We’ve heard from multiple sources that a new investor, General Atlantic, is leading this round, with possibly another new backer, Dragoneer, also in the mix. It’s not clear which other investors might be involved; the company counts no less than 41 other backers on its cap table already, according to PitchBook . (You might even say  Several People Are Funding …) We also don’t know whether this round has closed. At $400 million, this would make it Slack’s biggest round to date. That size underscores a few different things. First, it points to the existing opportunity in enterprise messaging. Consumerisation has taken hold, and apps that let users easily start and carry on a mix of serious and diverting conversations, infused with GIFs or whatever data they might need from other applications, are vying to replace other ways that people communicate in the workplace, such as email, phone conferences and in-person chats, even when people are in the same vicinity as each other. With consumer messaging apps like WhatsApp topping 1.5 billion users, there’s plenty of room for enterprise messaging to grow. Second, the round and valuation emphasize Slack’s position as a leader in this area. While there were other enterprise social networking apps in existence before Slack first launched in 2013  — Yammer, Hipchat and Socialcast among them — nothing had struck a chord quite as Slack did. “Things have been going crazy”, was how co-founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield described it to me when Slack exited beta: teams trialling it were seeing usage from “every single team member, every day.” That growth pace has continued

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Japan’s Freee raises $60M to grow its cloud accounting business

Japan-based accounting software company Freee , one of the country’s most-prominent startups, has raised a $60 million Series E funding round as it bids to expand its services into other areas of management for its customers. Freee was founded six years ago — we wrote about the startup when it raised a Series A in 2013 — which makes it one of the ‘oldest’ startups in Japan, while this round is also a large one for the country, too. Japan’s startup ecosystem has a culture that encourages founders to take their companies’ public earlier than in most parts of the world, to mitigate some risk, but there are signs of alternative approaches that include this round and of course the recent IPO of Mercari, which went public this summer and raised over $1 billion . “Japan is a country that respects precedent a lot,” Freee founder and CEO Daisuke Sasaki told TechCrunch in an interview. “Having present cases will change the culture a lot, we are staying private and investing in growth. The ecosystem isn’t changing yet but startups, founders and VCs now have more options.” Free was one of the first Japanese startups to raise from overseas investors, a move that helped get Japanese VCs interested in enterprise and Saas, and this time around it has pulled in capital from a bunch of big names: Chat app company Line, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) — Japan’s largest bank — consumer credit firm Life Card and “several unnamed international institutional investors.” DCM and Infinity Investments are among the startup’s earliest backers. Today, Freee offers cloud-based accounting and HR software and it  claims to have over one million business accounts. It has over 5,000 certified accountant advisors — who help it reach new customers and also use it for their own work — and the company said that over 3,500 apps and services, including mainly financial products, are integration with its software. Going forward, Sasaki — who is a former Googler — said Freee will use this new capital to build out an API ecosystem to enable more integrations — some of its practical ones right now include Slack and Salesforce — while it is planning a major collaboration with Line to allow Line business customers to integrate their use of the app with Free, while it is exploring how it can collaborate around Line Pay. Freee founder and CEO Daisuke Sasaki Freee is also focused on expanding the scope of its services to branch out into products that help with more general management and operational tasks. “We want to focus not only on back office but also to add value to customers to make their businesses better through dashboards, reporting and insight. Customers who use the existing business reports grow faster. Our vision is to give much better insight and business advice through AI and to do that we need more data, not just back office but front line too,” Sasaki said.

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Facebook’s debacle, $100M rounds and Slack links up with Atlassian

Hello and welcome back to  Equity , TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This was one hell of a week. Happily, we had our own Connie Loizos , Matthew Lynley , and Alex Wilhelm on hand, along with Initialized Capital’s Alexis Ohanian to pick over the mix. First up we had zero choice but to talk about Facebook . The social company’s epic repricing in the middle of the week blotted out the news sun. It may keep us in the shade for another week, too. Facebook’s dive has implications for social startups and competing public companies alike. Like, say, Reddit. Moving along, Crunchbase News recently dropped a report digging into the rise of $100 million and larger rounds. From a turning point in 2013 to today, megarounds have been on the rise. Why

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Slack forms key alliance as Atlassian throws in the towel on enterprise chat

With today’s announcement from Atlassian that it was selling to Slack the IP assets of its two enterprise communications tools, HipChat and Stride, it closes the book on one of the earliest competitors in the modern enterprise chat space. It also was a clear signal that Slack is not afraid to take on its giant competitors by forming key alliances. That the announcement came from Slack co-founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield on Twitter only exacerbated that fact. Atlassian has a set of popular developer tools like Jira, Confluence and Bitbucket. At this point, HipChat and Stride had really become superfluous to the company and they sold the IP to their competitor. Not only is Slack buying the assets and Atlassian is effectively shutting down these products, Atlassian is also investing in Slack, a move that shows it’s throwing its financial weight behind the company, as well, and forming an alliance with them. Slack has been burning it up since in launched in 2014 with just 16,000 daily active users. At last count, in May,  the company was reporting 8 million active users , 3 million of which were paid. That’s up from 6 million DAUs and 2 million paid users in September 2017. At the time, the company was reporting $200 million in annual recurring revenue. It’s a fair bet with the number of paid users growing by one-third at last count, that revenue number has increased significantly, as well. Slack and products of its ilk like Workplace by Facebook, Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams are trying to revolutionize the way we communicate and collaborate inside organizations. Slack has managed to advance the idea of enterprise communications that began in the early 2000s with chat clients, advanced to Enterprise 2.0 tools like Yammer and Jive in the mid-2000s and finally evolved into modern tools like Slack we are using today in the mobile-cloud era. Slack has been able to succeed so well in business because it does much more than provide a channel to communicate.

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Slack buys HipChat in a bid to take on Microsoft

Atlassian and Slack announced today that they're entering a partnership, one that should be beneficial to both as they continue to face competition from Microsoft. As part of the agreement, Atlassian will sell its HipChat and Stride communication pro...

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Slack wants to make search a little easier with search filters

Slack’s search functions are getting another little quality-of-life update today with the introduction of filters, which aims to make search a little more granular to find the right answers. The company also says searches are going to be more personalized. All of this is an attempt to get to the right files or conversations quickly as Slack — a simple collection of group chats and channels that can get out of hand  very fast — something a little more palatable. As companies get bigger and bigger, the sheer amount of information that ends up in it will grow faster and faster. That means that the right information will generally be more difficult to access, and if Slack is going to stick to its roots as a simple internal communications product, it’s going to have to lean on improvements under the hood and small changes in front of users. The company says search is now 70 percent faster on the back end. Users in Slack will now be able to filter search results by channels and also the kinds of results they are looking for, like files. You can go a little more granular than that, but that’s the general gist of it, as Slack tries to limit the changes to what’s happening in front of users. Slack threads, for example, were in development for more than a year before the company finally rolled out the long-awaited feature. (Whether that feature successfully changed things for the better is still not known.) Slack now has around 8 million daily active users, with 3 million paid users , and is still clearly pretty popular with smaller companies that are looking for something simpler than the more robust — and complex — communications tools on the market. But there are startups trying to pick away at other parts of the employee communications channels, like Slite , which aims to be a simpler notes tool in the same vein as Slack but for different parts of the employee experience.

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Amazon may send holiday toy catalogs in the mail

Toys 'R' Us is calling it quits in the US, but Amazon is apparently ready to pick up the slack. Bloomberg tipsters have asserted that Amazon is planning to mail a holiday toy catalog to "millions" of American homes and (naturally) distribute it at W...

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Zenaton lets you build and run workflows with ease

French startup Zenaton raised $2.35 million from Accel and Point Nine Capital, with the Slack Fund, Kima Ventures, Julien Lemoine and Francis Nappez also participating. The company wants to take care of the most tedious part of your application — asynchronous jobs and background tasks. While it has never been easier to develop a simple web-based service with a database, building and scaling workflows that handle tasks based on different events still sucks. Sometimes your background task fails and it’s going to take you days before you notice that your workflow stopped working. Some workflows might require so much resources that you’ll end up paying a huge server bill to get more RAM to handle those daily cron jobs and performance spikes. And yet, many small companies would greatly benefit from adding asynchronous jobs. For instance, you could improve your retention rate by sending email reminders. You could try to upsell your customers with accessories if you’re running an e-commerce website. You could ask for reviews a few hours after a user found a restaurant through your app. “We work hard to make it super easy – as a developer, you just have to install the Zenaton agent on your worker servers. That’s all.

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Slack introduces Actions to make it easier to create and finish tasks without leaving

As Slack tries to graduate beyond a Silicon Valley darling to the go-to communications platform within a company, it’s had to find ways to increasingly pitch itself as an intelligent Swiss Army knife for companies — and not just a simple chat app — and it is trying to continue that today once again with a new feature called Actions. Companies can now bake in a user experience of their own directly into the Slack application that isn’t yet another chatbot that’s tied into their services. Developers can essentially create a customized prompt for any kind of action, like submitting a support ticket, within the Slack core chat experience through a drop-down window called an Action. While Slackbots may have been an early incarnation of this, Slack’s platform has grown to include more than 200,000 developers, and there’s still constant need for robust tools internally. This offers partners and developers a little more flexibility when it comes to figuring out what experience makes the most sense for people that sit in Slack all day, but have to keep porting information to and from their own tools. “There’s such a demand for specialized software, and for great tools that are easy to use and interoperable with all applications you use,” Slack chief product officer April Underwood said. “We think this is good, and we think more tools means customers have more choice. Ultimately there’s more competition in the marketplace, that means the best tools, the ones that truly help companies do their best work, rise to the top. But your work experience becomes increasingly siloed.  Slack needs to be highly configurable, but in doing so we believe Slack is the collaboration hub that brings all this together.” Each company that wants to build in an integration — like Asana for task management or Zendesk for ticket management — works to create a new flow within the core Slack experience, which includes a new dropdown inside a message and a prompt to bake something into the chat flow. Once that happens, all that information is then ported over to the integration and created in the same way an employee would create it within that environment. If someone creates a Zendesk ticket through an action in Slack, Zendesk automatically generates the ticket on their side. Slack has sprawled out over time, and especially as companies using it get larger and larger, the company has to figure out a way to show that it can remain a dead-simple app without turning into a bloated window filled with thousands of instant messages. Actions is one potential approach to that, where users can know from the get-go where to coordinate certain activities like equipment procurement or managing some customer information — and not have to go anywhere else. The other advantage here is that it makes the destination for completing a task not necessarily a “what,” but also a “who.” Slack is leaning on its machine learning tool to make it easier and easier to find the right people with the right answers, whether those questions are already answered somewhere or they know who can get you the information right away .

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