Slack, the popular workplace messaging app, is preparing for an IPO.
Stewart Butterfield, Slack’s founder and CEO, said in an interview with The Australian Business Review that the company recently kicked off an “IPO readiness” program. The idea, Butterfield said, is for Slack to have the option to go public in the future and to be prepared when the time is right.
“We’ve done our first external audit and we’ve put in place a lot of controls and security practices. There’s a lot of predictability that needs to be evident in the business, so we’re spending a lot on analysis and data infrastructure,” he said in the interview.
Butterfield noted however that the “absolute earliest” Slack could go public, if everything came together right, would be 18 months from now.
The tech IPO market has been very slow this year, with far fewer offerings than usual. But recent high-profile IPOs of digital payments company Square and Match Group, the parent company of the popular Tinder dating app, may have sparked renewed interest in IPOs.
Atlassian, a popular-enterprise software company that competes with Slack in certain areas, also recently filed paperwork to list shares publicly — and Butterfield said in the interview that he would be paying close attention to Atlassian IPO, noting that Atlassian’s sales and growth model are similar to Slack.
Slack has experienced rapid growth since launching its service two years ago. The company now counts 1.7 million daily users on its service and is valued at $2.8 billion by a long list of private investors including Google Ventures, TK and Accel Partners.
But it could also be facing new competition from social networking giant Facebook, which wants to launch a special version of its services for businesses next year and has begun testing a workplace messaging app.
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