From: HBR

Slack’s origins trace back to the team that began working together at a company I cofounded in 2002. After giving up on the project that first drew us together—developing a web-based massively multiplayer game—we ended up creating the photo-sharing tool Flickr, which was acquired by Yahoo in 2005.

In 2009 the four of us left Yahoo and cofounded another company to create…another web-based massively multiplayer game. Though we were more experienced and better resourced, the game, called Glitch, was wildly ambitious and ended up caught in a major technology shift as computing-for-leisure moved to mobile. We spent three and a half years working on it but again had to pull the plug. However, the software we’d developed to connect our cross-functional team—from software developers, customer support, and business operations to artists, animators, writers, and musicians—showed a lot of promise. We committed our remaining funding to its development, built the app and platform, and in August 2013 began a closed beta for Slack: a “searchable log of all communication and knowledge.”

Since then we’ve become an NYSE-listed company that grew revenue 57% last year, to $630 million, with enterprise customers including IBM, TD Ameritrade, GlaxoSmithKline, and Uber. We’re rapidly growing and heavily reinvesting, so we’re still not profitable. But we closed the past fiscal year (which for us ended on January 31, 2020) with 110,000 paying customers, nearly 900 of which spend more than $100,000 a year with us and 70 of which spend more than $1 million. That’s what we reported on our March 12 earnings call. At the same time, we were flying into the future, figuring out how we would work as an all-remote organization, how best to help our customers, and how to preserve momentum as the pandemic spread and a recession loomed.1

슬랙 CEO 스튜어트 버터필드 인터뷰.

  • 2002년, 스튜어트 버터필드 공동 창업.
    • 첫 프로젝트: 웹 기반의 대규모 멀티플레이어 게임 개발. => 개발 포기.
  • 게임 개발 포기 후, 사진 공유 프로그램 Flickr 개발.
    • Flickr 야후에 매각.
  • 2009년, 스튜어트 버터필드와 동료 4명. 야후 퇴사 후 다시 공동 창업.
    • Glitch라는 이름의 웹 기반의 대규모 멀티플레이어 게임을 3.5년 동안 개발.
    • 게임 시장이 PC에서 모바일로 이동하여 성공하기 어려웠음.
  • 게임 개발을 위해 부서간 협업 툴로 개발했던 소프트웨어에서 많은 가능성 발견.
    • 여러 부서간에 편리하게 협업을 할 수 있었다.
    • 남아있는 자금을 이 협업 소프트웨어에 쓰기로 결정. => 슬랙.
  • 2013년 8월, 슬랙의 비공개 베타 서비스 시작.
    • Slack: Searchable Log of All Communication and Knowledge

이후 뉴욕 증권거래소(NYSE)에 상장되었고, 2019년 기준으로 6억 3천만 달러의 매출을 기록했다고 한다.

빠르게 성장하고 있지만 적극적인 재투자로 아직은 적자 상태.



  1. 하버드 비즈니스 리뷰. 2020 7-8월호