Slack Files for an IPO. Anything in Common with Telegram?

Slack is going public soon: we immediately discussed the news right in Slack as it’s the corporate messenger at United Traders. Here’s our take on the outlook of a large IPO and some personal experience of using Slack for corporate communications.

Slack decided to use the renewal of U.S. government’s operation, and that of SEC in particular, and file for an IPO. The rumours that the company plans to take the less traditional route with a direct listing found some proof. We discussed this form of a public offering and why companies choose it in our article here. In this case, Slack has $900 million in cash, and therefore, has simply no need in raising additional capital. Spotify that went public last year on NYSE was the first large offering that used this method.

Market decline in December and the increasing fears that the economic expansion may be over have forced many companies (like Uber, Lyft, Palantir, and Airbnb) to accelerate their IPO preparations. The markets have strongly rebounded since then, the U.S. economy still shows no signs of an approaching recession, but the uncertainty increases, and companies are quite reasonable in their thinking that there’s no point in delaying an IPO: their valuations may be hit hard if the overall investment environment deteriorates. In addition, any such developments may seriously affect some shareholders as a decrease in capitalization in the next funding rounds may trigger protection rules for earlier investors, which will result in dilution of stakes of less privileged investors.

What Analysts at United Traders Think

Based on the financial figures available, Slack’s revenues for the last twelve months may total $438 million. One of the most popular methods to evaluate startups at exit is their price-to-sales ratio. According to a research done by our analysts that covered U.S. startups and IPOs, the most recent 25 IPOs on average had their price-to-sales ratio at 15x (vs the IPO pricing), and on average the ratio rose to 20x by the end of three months after the IPO date. This way, we may arrive at the conclusion that Slack’s fair market capitalization will be in the $8-$9 billion range. According to some reports, the company itself plans to get a $10 billion valuation. In the most recent funding round in August 2018, Slack was valued at $7.4 billion.

How We Use Slack in our Daily Life

For some reason, it always feels good to read news and research about the companies that you are familiar with at some personal level. And we aren’t talking Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, or iPhones here. The thing is that Slack has already become a multipurpose tool for internal communication at United Traders. We talked to Alex Kurdyukov, our CTO, to give you some insights and share our personal user experience:

"Just a little over two years ago, we all were using Skype setting up group chats, making group calls and video conferences. But over time, we started experiencing troubles with in-chat search as well as various bugs and errors. We picked Slack as an alternative solution starting with a free version, and then switching to a paid option that nicely covered our needs. Now we pay around $700 a month. This price seems to be quite fair, and here is why:

  1. Slack is almost never down; it is stable which is extremely important for our ecosystem with lots and lots of tasks.
  2. Group calls are top quality; we sometimes use Sococo but in this case a lot depends on the meeting format.
  3. The screen sharing option that allows presenting your computer screen to your colleagues is absolutely one of the best I’ve ever seen!

"Another important aspect is that Slack smoothly integrates with third-party applications: it’s a very convenient solution for Google Calendar, Trello Boards, and Jira.

"New bug notifications, infrastructure issues and other reminders can also be received in Slack. We are on our way to a full-scale ChatOps.

«Only recently, we synced Slack with Telegram through a special gateway. This super feature is suitable for those cases where we cooperate with third-party development teams and can’t add them to our corporate Slack workspace.

«Are there any alternatives? I can name only two companies now: Zoom and MatterMost, which enables setting up a server in your internal corporate network at a cost of higher workload for admins. To sum it all up: Slack is a real champion in this segment, and they are very comfortable to work with!»

We’ll be watching the IPO progress very closely and keeping you updated: stay tuned!