Slack hits 2m daily active users – creates $80m developer fund

16 Dec 2015

As Slack takes over the productivity world it is bolstering its rapid advances by fostering a whole new apps ecosystem.

Enterprise messaging player Slack has revealed it now has 2m daily active users, up 16pc since October. The company has also created a new $80m fund to find the next Slack-first app.

Slack, which is spearheading the fast-moving group of next generation productivity companies assaulting the traditional enterprise world, also revealed it now has 570,000 paid seats, up from 470,000 two months ago.

The popular enterprise messaging app business founded by Stewart Butterfield is now worth $2.8bn.

Canada-born Butterfield co-founded image-sharing site Flickr in 2002 with Caterina Fake and Jason Classon, originally as a video games business. Flickr was acquired by Yahoo in 2005 and Butterfield stayed on as product manager for three years.

Originally created as a project management tool for Glitch, a gaming company that Butterfield shuttered in 2012, Slack has quickly become the tool of choice for a growing number of creators, designers, entrepreneurs and software developers and is growing to become a mainstream productivity tool for businesses.

$80m fund for Slack-first apps

To grow its ecosystem, Slack revealed it has set up an $80m developer fund to find the next Slack-first app to embrace start-ups that see Slack as a wireframe for their future growth potential.

The fund is backed by Accel Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Spark Capital and Social+Capital.

“If you’re a developer or small company deciding whether to make a bet on the Slack platform, the Slack Fund is a new source of support to help you get started building apps,” Slack said in its blog.

“The Slack Fund will fund both ‘Slack-first’ apps as well as B2B and enterprise tools that make Slack integrations a core part of their offering.

“We expect our portfolio to feature a diverse array of entrepreneurs working on solving problems for teams in every industry, function, and corner of the world. We’ll measure the success of the Slack Fund in the quality and adoption of the apps built by Slack Fund companies and by the overall investment we see in the Slack ecosystem.”

A growing software emporium

To get a sense of where the company is headed with this, the company has set up its own app store called the Slack App Directory where already there are more than 160 apps to extend the capability of the platform for busy teams.

Categories include design, marketing, office management, developer tools and productivity.

Not only this, but Slack has created a new software called Botkit to simplify the building of such apps.

“It greatly simplifies the creation of apps (especially bots) with a flexible codebase that handles things like authenticating apps to a team and the sending, receiving, and processing of messages with our API.

“With Botkit, developers can stop reinventing the wheel on basic functionality and instead get a head start on writing code for what their bots actually do and how their apps interact with Slack. Botkit will also provide a simplified way for new developers to get into programming for Slack by building off the impressive collection of tools available in it,” the company said in its blog.

Interview with Slack’s April Underwood

Team work image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years