Slack Files for Direct Listing

The company posted a loss for the latest fiscal year but said it is spending less on sales and marketing.
Lauren MuskettApril 26, 2019

Cloud-based collaboration company Slack has filed to pursue a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

In its S-1 filing released Friday, the company reported $400.6 million in revenue for the latest fiscal year but said it had a net loss of $140.7 million. Its revenue was up 82% year-over-year, but its operating expenses rose 49%, to $503.5 million.

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Slack said it had more than 10 million daily active users and 88,000 paid customers, a 49% increase year-over-year. More than 500,000 organizations use its free subscription plan. The company said it reduced its sales and marketing spending to $2.7 million, from $8 million a year ago.

“We believe our market remains underpenetrated and we will continue to expand our marketing and sales efforts to reach more users and organizations and to increase the number of paid customers,” the company said.

Stewart Butterfield

Slack was founded by Stewart Butterfield and Cal Henderson as a messaging tool for gaming company Tiny Speck. They changed the name to Slack in 2014. The company raised a total of $1.2 billion in funding, according to Crunchbase. Its largest shareholders are Accel, Andreesen Horowitz, and Social Capital. Butterfield owns an 8.6% stake.

Lyft, Pinterest, and Zoom are among a slew of tech companies that have already tested public markets this year. Spotify, in April 2018, went public in a direct listing like the one Slack is planning, though Spotify was not seeking to raise new money but instead to allow existing shareholders to sell shares in the open market.

Slack is reportedly hoping for a valuation of more than $10 billion. Kelly Rodriques, the chief executive officer of the brokerage company Forge, told CNBC some early investors and employees have been selling the stock at around $28, valuing the company close to $17 billion.

Slack is expected to trade under the symbol SK.