When companies do decide to go public they often do so with an initial public offering (IPO) as the added help from Wall Street and the financial sector can help boost their valuation. However, Slack Technologies, the company behind the popular workplace collaboration tool Slack decided to do things a little bit differently.
The company made its trading debut on the New York Stock Exchange today under the ticker symbol WORK via direct listing as opposed to going the IPO route.
Unlike an IPO, a direct listing means the company did not issue any new shares nor did it have to raise any additional capital. Instead Slack was able to become a publicly traded company without having to pay the high fees and requirements of using an underwriter.
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The night before going public, the company set a reference price of $26 per share but its shares surged by more than 60 percent in the early minutes of trading after opening at $38.50. Slack's stock price eventually climbed to a high of $42 until it ended the day at $38.62 which means the company is now valued at close to $23bn.
Building its customer base
In its relatively short five year existence, Slack has managed to cement its place in the growing enterprise collaboration market where many other platforms have tried and failed. What the future holds for the now public company remains to be seen but one area in which it has excelled is continually adding more paying customers.
According to Slack's S-1 filing (opens in new tab) from April, the company's workplace collaboration platform had over 10m daily active users with 88,000 paid customers. However, earlier this month Slack revealed that it now has more than 95,000 paid customers and 645 of which bring in annual recurring revenue of more than $100k.
Slack has a number of big name competitors including Microsoft Teams (opens in new tab) and Workplace by Facebook but there are also other companies trying to carve out a place for themselves in the growing workplace collaboration space.
The company's CEO Stewart Butterfield has repeatedly said that its platform will eventually replace email in the corporate workplace and if its direct listing is any sign, Slack may one day achieve this goal.
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