Slack launched in February of 2014 and on the anniversary of its launch, the team communication platform was heralded by Fast Company as one of the 50 most innovative companies of the year “for slaying interoffice email.”
But the founders of Slack didn’t start out with the goal of developing an email slayer. Originally, the founders (which included Flickr founder Steward Butterfield) wanted to create a massive multiplayer online game. Since they were all in different locations around the globe, communications quickly became a challenge, so they developed a system for communicating with one another.
Eventually this system was their primary way to communicate as a team, and with the game going nowhere, they decided to launch their communication platform to the public. According to Fast Company, 8,000 companies signed up within 24-hours of that launch. Indeed, Slack has dubbed itself the fastest growing business app, ever.
Slack has since grown at a breakneck pace. To date, the platform has 135,000 paid accounts, and more than 500,000 daily active users, sending more than 300 million messages per month. The team has grown from 16 to more than 100 in just one year, and Slack was nominated Best New Startup, Fastest Rising Startup, Best Enterprise Startup, and won Founder of the Year in the 2015 Crunchie Awards by TechCrunch.
The platform operates on what CMO Bill Macaitis referred to as the standard SaaS subscription model. Anyone can sign up for a free account with basic features that include unlimited users, five integrations and multi-team support. However, there’s a monthly subscription fee per user, for additional features such as a fully searchable archive, priority support, usage statistics, and Google authentication.
Admittedly, Slack isn’t all that different from competitors like Yammer and Hip Chat. According to Macaitis, most customer say they weren’t using anything before they began using Slack. A little digging tells a different story, says Macaitis:
There’s this wide assortment of communication tools. They’ll be using email, they’ll be using Skype. They’re using private Google Hangouts. They’re using Yammer and Chatter.
Ultimately he said what sets Slack apart is the look and feel and the vibe customers get from the platform.
Macaitis also noted that the accelerated growth is one of Slack’s biggest challenges. Sure they want more customers, but they have to be able to support those customers. But enterprise level functionality and support are “coming soon.”