Slack looks set for a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange

2 Apr 2019194 Views

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Work messaging platform likely to be taking the same path to a public listing as Spotify.

Slack is reportedly planning to list on the New York Stock Exchange in June or July.

The messaging platform has raised more than $1bn in venture capital investment, including a massive funding round in August 2018. The business is estimated to be valued at approximately $7.1bn.

Slack has become the work tool that defines a generation. With more than 10m users as of January 2019, it is being deployed by some of the world’s biggest companies. Rescued from the embers of a failed game company called Glitch, the messaging tool used by a team of entrepreneurs and developers has gone on to shape the workplace of today and most likely tomorrow.

Direct listing v traditional IPO

Slack is one of several highly valued companies eyeing an initial public offering (IPO) this year and its decision to pursue the New York Stock Exchange for a direct listing as a route to public markets echoes a similar route taken by Swedish music platform Spotify.

A direct listing cuts out the usual underwriting process involved in an IPO by lining up investors ahead of time, avoiding traditional IPO costs and giving investors more liquidity.

Slack is understood to have filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) earlier this year.

Slack was founded by Stewart Butterfield, Cal Henderson, Eric Costello and Serguei Mourachov after they shuttered Glitch. The same team was also involved in the creation of Flickr, the photo-sharing platform acquired by Yahoo in 2005.

But it won’t be plain sailing for unicorns on the public markets. On-demand taxi player Lyft made its IPO debut last week but by Monday saw shares retreat to below its $72 IPO price.

IPOs are returning to vogue for tech companies; on this side of the Atlantic two Irish-based companies, VR Education Holdings and Diaceutics, have successfully entered the public markets.

Updated, 9.28am, 2 April 2019: This article was updated to clarify that Slack now has more than 10m users, not 8m.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com