RelatedSlack Raises $427M Series H
Slack has raised another huge tranche of money. And while a good chunk of its $427 million Series H will likely be spent preserving market dominance, the additional capital presumably gives the enterprise chat service more room to acquire what it needs to scale. (A Slack representative declined to comment on how its recent raise may impact acquisition strategy.)
Slack has, according to Crunchbase, acquired five known companies and products since 2014, most of which have added core functionality to Slack’s product over the years.
Stride And HipChat
HipChat, which languished under Slack’s shadow for years, was one of the first enterprise messaging apps to hit the market. It failed to improve over the years. Meanwhile, Stride, which was launched a year ago, was Atlassian’s formal attempt to compete directly against Slack’s platform.
But for Atlassian, competing with Slack wasn’t a fruitful endeavor. On July 26, Slack announced that it had acquired the intellectual property behind Atlassian’s two chat properties, with a plan to migrate users of both HipChat and Stride over to Slack. Atlassian, in turn, made a small investment in its former competitor. Terms of the deal were not disclosed by either Slack or Atlassian.
One of Slack’s goals, according to a Google Ad, is to help companies integrate their tools under the Slack ecosystem. So it’s no wonder Slack would be interested in acquiring a startup that made such integrations easy to create for its users.
Missions, a platform that lets users automate tasks and build workflows in Slack, was acquired by the enterprise chat app on July 17th, according to Crunchbase—shortly before Slack acquired the IP behind Stride and Hipchat. At face value, Missions is well-suited to accomplish Slack’s goal of making itself a hub for third-party tools and integrations.
While Slack started out as a chat client, it has grown over the years to encompass more functionality, including group video calling.
In 2015, Slack acquired Screenhero, which served as Slack’s catalyst for entering the group video chat space. While terms of the deal were not disclosed, Screenhero was a seed-stage, Y Combinator-backed startup with $1.8 million in funding at the time of its sale. Screenhero CEO Jahanzeb Sherwani told TechCrunch when the acquisition was announced it was “under no pressure to sell from anyone, but we were using Slack; we were spending more time in it. The product is great, and so is the team. It seemed like a natural fit.”
Screenhero’s entire team moved to Slack. Eventually, the product was shut down and was integrated into the Slack platform.
Slack snapped up one of Google Docs’ few competitors in 2014. Spaces, the company Slack swallowed, allowed remote workers to collaborate real-time in documents. It was Slack’s first acquisition, and like its later acquisitions, terms of the deals were not disclosed.
According to Crunchbase, Spaces received seed-stage capital from Canyon Creek Capital, the amount of which was not publicly disclosed. Following the acquisition, Simon Vallee, the Co-Founder and CEO of Spaces, became a senior product manager at Slack. He is now the CEO of Flight, which appears to be in stealth mode. Hans Larsen, a Google engineer and a co-founder of Spaces, also did a short stint at Slack and then returned to Google as a senior software engineer.
Acquired To Integrate
There is a trend among Slack’s half-dozen acquisitions: it isn’t interested in acquiring startups or property that operate as stand-alone entities. Eventually, all of Slack’s acquisitions are worked into its core product in some way. Or in the case of Atlassian’s Stride and HipChat, users are converted wholesale to the Slack platform.
It also hasn’t made very splashy acquisitions, at least none that are known. This could change, however, as the company’s horde grows and its competition with Teams grows.
But for those entrepreneurs, that may mean finding a comfortable home at the expense of independence.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias