Posted on Tuesday, Mar 3rd 2015
There are several Billion Dollar Unicorn club members who have taken their time getting to the club. But there are a few stories of startups that have sped their way to the club. Here is one such interesting player, two-year-old team communicating service Slack, which is making waves in the market.
SanFrancisco-based Slack was founded in January 2013 by Serguei Mourachov, Eric Costello, Cal Henderson, and Stewart Butterfield. Their founders were also involved in the setting up of photo sharing site Flickr. Slack was initially called Tiny Speck and it began as part of Glitch, a Flash-based multi-player online game. Glitch has since ended, but Tiny Speck developed the now-famous app and renamed themselves Slack.
Slack offers a real-time messaging, archiving, and search tool that helps with communication within a team. Some have even commented that Slack could well be an “app that kills email”. They have a vision of making their user’s working life simpler, more pleasant ,and more productive. But not all features are fun for the employees as their app has sparked controversy since it allows employers to spy on their employees’ messages.
Slack was released to the general public in February 2014 and since then, they have established a user base of over 500,000 daily users spread across more than 60,000 teams. Every month, users spend over 100 million hours connected to Slack and exchange over 300 million messages.
Slack operates on a freemium model. The basic plan is available to users for free and allows them to archive 10,000 messages that are searchable, provides them five integrations with other APIs along with native apps for Macs, iOS, Desktop, and Android devices and multi-team support. The pricing for the premium version of Slack begins at $6.67 per user per month and goes up to $12.50 per user per month. The premium options include features such as unlimited archival of messages, unlimited integrations, simple usage statistics, customer support, and Google authentication. Later this year, Slack is projecting to release an Enterprise option which will be priced from $49-$99 per user per month.
Slack does not disclose detailed financials, but in a recent blog post, they revealed that they had over 135,000 paid accounts translating to an annual revenue run rate of over $12 million. The platform is attracting users at an unusually fast rate. They claim that they are adding over $1 million in annual revenue every 11 days.
Slack has been venture funded so far with $180 million in funding from investors including Slow Ventures, The Social+Capital Partnership, Accel Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, SV Angel, Jeff Weiner, Marc Andreessen, Bradley Horowitz, and Rob Solomon. Their last round of funding was held in October 2014 when they raised $120 million in a round led by Google Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers at a valuation of over $1.12 billion.
More investigation and analysis of Unicorn companies can be found in my latest Entrepreneur Journeys book, Billion Dollar Unicorns. Unicorns will also be discussed with some special guests during our 1M/1M Roundtable programs over the next few weeks. To be a part of the conversation, please register here. The term Unicorn was coined in a TechCrunch article by Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures.
This segment is a part in the series : Billion Dollar Unicorns
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