New To Dublin: All About Slack

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The biggest story in Irish tech of late has got to be the arrival of Slack at the Digital Hub, announced earlier this month.

Founded and based in San Francisco, the team communication platform has chosen Dublin as its European base. Job ads have already been posted, and given that it’s the fastest-growing B2B tech company in the world, the number of desks they take is sure to multiply. The announcement made headlines internationally – Irish premier Enda Kenny heralded their arrival – but how much do you really know about them? Here’s everything you wanted to know about Slack, but were afraid to ask…

They’re growing at a prodigious rate:
Has B2B software ever been this buzzed-about? First there was that $1 billion valuation they secured in less than a year, then in 2015 they levelled up to a $2.8 billion valuation. This coincided with the announcement that they’d raised a further $160 million, making their total funding $340 million. In terms of user figures, they have 750,000 daily active users and are currently adding 10,000 new ones every week. Relying on word of mouth and an addictive ‘freemium’ model, over 60,000 teams and 135,000 paid accounts use Slack every day, bringing in $1.5 million in revenue so far.

They have a really odd, really interesting origin story:
CEO Stewart Butterfield was raised on a commune in a wood cabin without running water (read this epic Wired profile to find out more), and is known around Silicon Valley for founding Flickr, the original photo-sharing social network – acquired, many would say disastrously, by Yahoo in 2005. Flickr was invented by accident as part of a game Butterfield’s team were working on, called Game Neverending. The strange thing is that Slack was invented by similar means – Game Neverending metamorphosed into another game, Glitch, which somewhere along the way begat Slack.

Slack is inherently viral, and addictive:
This might just be the email killer that tech media has long prophesied. The big draw with Slack is that it integrates everything else going on on your desktop: applications like Dropbox, Google Apps, GitHub and Zendesk can all be rounded up neatly in one place. ‘Reads’ and ‘unreads’ are tracked, attachments are organised and stored, and there’s no more hopping between windows and labyrinthine email threads. The messaging is streamlined and searchable, though the ‘freemium’ model only permits up to 10,000 messages and 5GB of storage… after which you’ll probably be hooked and happily spend the $7 per month required to keep going anyway.

It’s making workplace communication more casual:
It’s all about quick-fire chats rather than formal emails. Oh, and you can easily make customised emoji – what’s not to like about that?

They have a killer list of clients:
Seriously. Vox, BuzzFeed, Medium, Gawker (even though CEO Butterfield claims to hate Valleywag…), Expedia, Dow Jones, eBay, PayPal, Adobe, The Wall Street Journal, CrossFit, Pandora, Urban Outfitters, GoDaddy, LonelyPlanet, Shutterstock, Airbnb, Foursquare, Behance, HBO, (*breathes*) the list goes on….

Oh and that killer list of investors:
First it was Accel Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Biers, and Social+Capital Partnership. Slack’s second round retained all previous investors, adding Horizon Ventures, Digital Sky Technologies, Index Ventures, Spark Capital Growth and Institutional Venture Partners to the roster.

And finally.. they have BIG plans for Dublin:
Joining the list of tech giants old and new that have made Dublin their European HQ, Slack have announced plans to add over 100 new hires to their Dublin office, mainly in customer support and account management. Commenting at the announcement of their move, James Sherrett, Slack’s Dublin accounts team lead, said “With an initial focus on customer experience and account management, our Dublin office will play a central role in our international footprint.”

The Bottom Line?
They’re growing by the day.. Slack is big news for tech and big news for Dublin’s tech landscape.

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