Slack is the new darling of enterprise software. The eighteen-month-old company, which is used by companies for internal communication, doubled its userbase since January and was recently valued at almost $US3 billion.
Other collaboration companies are now jumping into the space.
On Wednesday, Jive, a business software company worth about $US400 million, officially launched Jive Chime, its own business messaging app.
Jive Chime allows users to send and receive messages, create group or 1-on-1 chat rooms, and search and share files with other users. It’s built for businesses, so there’s stronger security, and for an additional $US2 per user/month, you get more admin control features as well.
If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone.
Jive Chime is one of the many business messaging apps that’s been popping up in the last few years — not just Slack, but also apps like Atlassian HipChat and startups Cotap and TigerText. Just last month, document collaboration app Quip added chat rooms, and file storage companies like Dropbox and Evernote are making messaging part of their products.
So why would Jive want to join this crowded market?
“Many of the customers we speak to still use email or WhatsApp to communicate with their teams,” Clara Liang, Jive’s Chief Product Officer, told us. “There are so many companies out there that aren’t even collaborating with any of the communication apps — they’re stuck in the old days.”
Liang has a point. If you step away from the high-tech fields of Silicon Valley or New York City, a lot of big companies are still relying on email and text messages to communicate with their coworkers. Using an internal communication software may be a novelty to the thousands of companies that are not as tech-savvy.
The business collaboration and messaging app space is still in its very early stage. Although companies like HipChat and Yammer have been chipping away at the problem for years, the idea has only started to gain real traction recently.
Even Slack has “only” 750,000 daily active users and 200,000 paying users. For context, there were more than 119 million full-time employees in the US as of March 2015. Assuming only a quarter of those workers use the internet at work, it would still translate to 30 million potential users.
Plus, Jive already has over 1,000 businesses using its work collaboration software, making it easier for them to make the transition to Jive instead of any of the other communication apps.
And that’s why Jive’s late move into the business messaging app world doesn’t sound as outrageous as it might be. “It’s still very early days — there’s just a ton of opportunity for us,” Liang said.