Workplace messaging platform Slack has become one of the hottest start-ups around on the basis of its astonishingly rapid user adoption and unicorn valuation. But now it's facing an onslaught of serious competition.
Since launching in 2013, Slack has grown to an average of 4 million daily active users and 6 million weekly active users and was recently valued at $3.8 billion in a spring funding round. It also reached $100 million in annualized recurring revenue this year.
Slack's impressive following and scale have generated hype around when it will announce an initial public offering, with some speculators suggesting it could be as early as 2017. However, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield said an IPO isn't likely to occur for at least another few years, largely because the company's rapid growth has made it "harder to predict" where the company will be one year from now.
But as investors await hints about a Slack IPO in the near future, the market for office communication platforms has become more and more crowded.
Microsoft (MSFT) earlier this month rolled out Teams, its own Slack-like competitor, while Facebook (FB) in October launched Workplace, a business-focused social network and messaging service. Other collaboration platforms, such as Atlassian's (TEAM) HipChat and Salesforce's (CRM) Chatter, have been around for several years.
Microsoft Teams is regarded as Slack's foremost competitor in the workplace communication sphere. Slack itself signaled concerns of competition when it took out a full-page advertisement addressing Microsoft Teams in the New York Times.
"We're genuinely excited to have some competition," the company wrote in the letter, which was published earlier this month on its website. "However, all this is harder than it looks. So, as you set out to build 'something just like it,' we want to give you some friendly advice."