Slack Filed to Go Public through A Direct Listing to The NYSE

12 May 2019  |  TRADING IDEAS

Slack, a company that provides business collaboration tools, has filed to go public through a direct listing to the NYSE.

Slack provides chat tools for teams and projects;

  • Number of daily active users is over 10 million and being used in over 600,000 companies
  • Slack raised fund from Vision Fund (SoftBank) in 2018 and General Atlantic in 2019

Company Background

Stewart Butterfield co­founded Slack and has served as Chief Executive Officer and as Chairman of the board of directors since February 2009. Mr. Butterfield founded photo-sharing website Flickr and sold it to Yahoo! in 2005. Mr. Butterfield holds a Master of Philosophy from the University of Cambridge and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Victoria.

Revenue and operating loss

Revenue increased by 81.6% year-over-year to $400 million in 2019, while operating loss expanded to $154 million in 2019 from $143 million in 2018.

Product overview

Slack provides a chat tool, which helps teams and projects to communicate better. Most conversations happen in open channels, which users can organize for projects, plus private channels and direct messages. Conversations are automatically saved and users can easily search and find the past messages, conversations and decisions. According to the company, over 1 billion chat conversations occur in a week on the slack platform.

Searchable messages
10 third-party or customer integrations
Voice and video calls
One-on-one only
Up to 15 participants
Up to 15 participants
File Storage
5 GB total
10 GB per team member
20 GB per team member
20 GB per team member

Slack offers wide range of plans from free to enterprise. With the free plan, users are limited with searchable messages (10k) and convertible apps/services (10). With subscription plans, such as standard or plus, users have unlimited searchable messages and larger file storages.

Users can connect over 1,500 third-party apps with Slack such as Google Drive, Microsoft One Drive, Sales Force and Trello.

Key Metrics

Daily Active Users (DAU) of Slack is over 10 million worldwide; more than 50% are outside of the U.S.A. Number of companies that introduced Slack is over 600,000.

Number of paid customers increased to 88,000 in 2019 from 37,000 in 2017. Number of paid customer with over $100,000 annual recurring revenue was 575 in 2019.Oracle, one of Slack’s big customers, has 70,000 daily average users and over 1.6 million of messages are being communicated in the company.

Slack measures the rate of expansion within Paid Customer base, both sales­driven and through organic growth, by Net Dollar Retention Rate, which is calculated by dividing the total current period monthly recurring revenue by the prior period monthly recurring revenue. Net Dollar Retention Rate has declined from 171% as of January 31, 2017 to 152% as of January 31, 2018 to 143% as of January 31, 2019, but has still remained at high level.

Cost of revenue increased by 1% to 13% in 2019 from the previous year. While research and development decreased by 25% to 39% in 2019 year-over-year as the revenue has increased. Sales and marketing expenses, which was 58% in 2019, accounted for the biggest percentage of total expenses.

Convertible preferred stock was valued at $1.3 billion and accumulated deficit was -$665 million as of January 2019. Looking into asset breakdown, marketable securities were valued at $660 billion and accounted for the large portion of total assets.

Cash flow from operating activities, which has been negative over the last 3 years, was -$0.4 million in 2019. Slack raised funds from General Atlantic in 2019 and from SoftBank in 2018.

The biggest shareholder of Slack is Accel (24.0%), followed by Andreessen Horowitz, Social Capital, and SoftBank, which each hold more than 5% of outstanding capital stock.

Slack is planning to go public through a direct listing to NYSE. The method was taken by Spotify in April 2018 and gained public attention. Direct listing makes the company possible to go public without issuing new shares directly to the public. By not using underwrites, it can reduce the fee for the listing compared to the traditional IPO. Also it can maintain the current stock ownership ratio.

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The original article was published by Stockclip, Inc. on 27/04/2019.

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