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Slack teams with top VCs for $80M developers fund

The company also revealed a new App Directory, to make it easier for customers to find apps

Innovation series by Steven Loeb
December 16, 2015 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/4218

Workplace collaboration service Slack has a new plan to build out its platform. It goes beyond just integrating apps onto the platform, but by being a hub for their creation and development. 

The company announced on Tuesday two new initiatives to make this happen. First it revealed a new $80 fund that it has started, to give support to developers who want to build their app for the Slack platform, as well as other apps it can integrate in the future.

That $80 million isn't coming only from Slack, but also from its partners, which include some of the top venture capital firms in the Valley: Accel, Andreessen-Horowitz, Index Ventures, KPCB, Spark, and Social+Capital.

"If you’re a developer or small company deciding whether to make a bet on the Slack platform, the Slack Fund is a new source of support to help you get started building apps," the company wrote. "The Slack Fund will fund both 'Slack-first' apps as well as B2B and enterprise tools that make Slack integrations a core part of their offering."

Three companies have already received funding: Small Wins, Howdy, and Awesome, a spokesperson for Slack confirmed to VatorNews.

No details about the amount of funding received, when funding was provided, or how many companies will be receiving funding are all unknown. VatorNews has reached out to Slack for confirmation of those investments, and more information on them. We will update this story if we learn more. 

The other big pieces of new is the creation of the Slack App Directory, a resource for Slack's clients to find over apps for them to offer to their team. There are 160 apps currently on the platform.

The Directory makes it easier to find apps by sorting them into curated lists by category, popularity, and staff favorites. Categories include design, marketing, office management, developer tools, and productivity.

Finally, Slack also revealed Botkit, a new framework, which comes from Howdy, and will leverage what Slack already has by offering services to developers.

Botkit, the company said, "greatly simplifies the creation of apps (especially bots) with a flexible codebase that handles things like authenticating apps to a team and the sending, receiving, and processing of messages with our API." Basically it makes it easier for developers to start creating apps. 

What Slack has done here is bring developers onto the platform by giving them funding, then make it easier for developers to create apps, and then make it easier for Slack customers to find them. It's really smart, and it will likely give Slack a leg up on competition for some time.

"There’s a lot to be excited about in these three announcements. The App Directory will become the place to find apps that let your team work smarter and faster in Slack. The Slack Fund will ensure a wide range of new apps from a variety of developers will get built and launched thanks to this new financial backing. Botkit will greatly simplify Slack programming and give us a world where a thousand bots can bloom," it said.

Slack has been one of the fastest rising companies of the last couple of years, coming seemingly out of nowhere to raise its $120 million round last October, suddenly becoming a unicorn. Then it raised another $160 million valuing it at nearly $3 billion.

Slack now has about two million daily active users around the world, of which 570,000 are paid users, up from 1.1 million daily active users, and 300,000 paid seats over the summer. 

(Image source: slack.com/apps)


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