Why We Bet on Slack
August 2016: We are about to launch Pingpad for Slack teams to capture shared knowledge, organize and act on it. Focusing your startup on a single platform is a big bet, and I thought I’d share our reasoning.
- Great APIs. We got into this with a side project. Our main effort was a consumer mobile app, and we wanted to explore integrating just to send notifications to Slack like many apps do. We did a spike (proof of concept) for a new standalone app, and we liked it so much we bet the company.
- Fastest growing, ever. Slack is the fastest growing enterprise company in history by any measure. Users, active users, paying users, revenue. A while ago it reached escape velocity beyond Silicon Valley product teams. My target market is serving those 3M+ and growing daily active users.
- They don’t want to do a Twitter. They are doing all the right things with their platform, including publishing their product and platform roadmaps and being open to community feedback.
- Business model alignment. This is the one that will make the difference over the long haul. Slack is free for up to 10k searchable messages, or 10 integrations. Beyond that, you pay. The more (there are +600 so far in the Slack App Store) and more valuable the 3rd party applications, the more likely teams will cross over the threshold of 10. Having a platform with revenue incentives to nurture and grow an ecosystem is a very healthy thing.
So that’s the bet. There are still a lot of risks as there hasn’t been a company that took this bet and grew as a breakout success. Perhaps we’ll be the first.