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The Slack Fund celebrates a milestone anniversary and a new approach to investing

After 5 years, our fund’s reach is broader and more impactful than ever

Autor: Nic Vargus15 de diciembre de 2020

Here at Slack, we strive to make work simpler, more pleasant and more productive. But to truly change the global workplace, that mission extends far beyond us. That’s why, five years ago, we started the Slack Fund, devoted to investing in companies creating that future.

We created the Slack Fund in partnership with Accel, Index Ventures, KPCB, Social Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and Spark Capital. Initially we saw it as an opportunity to fund, mentor and partner with early-stage companies with products that helped make Slack a better platform.

Now we’re investing from our second fund, which doubled in size to $50 million and is funded solely by Slack. We have more than 85 investments across North America and Europe, including companies like performance management software Lattice, knowledge management solution Guru and digital whiteboard Mural.

Jason Spinell, Director, Slack Fund

“The mission of the fund is to invest in and collaborate with the next great wave of enterprise software companies that are focused on building what the future of work will be.”

Jason SpinellDirector, Slack Fund

We’ve made follow-on investments in 23 companies, including online events platform Hopin, whose funding we participated in at seed, Series A and Series B rounds. We’ve also seen many successful exits, including from our friends at the Slack-first ticketing service Halp, the company intelligence platform DataFox, and the security orchestration, automation and response platform Demisto.

“As a Slack Fund company,” says Rick Nucci, the co-founder and CEO of Guru, “we’ve been able to work very closely with Slack on many platform development efforts, collaborating with them on what critical integrations might look like and being able to support new product releases together.”

That partnership is not unique to just Guru, either. Amy Spurling, co-founder and CEO of perk stipend software company Compt, says, “Not only did the team make the investment process really smooth, but they have been like new members to our team.”

amy spurling compt slack fund

“The Slack Fund made valuable introductions to potential partners, customers, and future investors. I couldn't ask for more from a partner.”

Amy Spurling, Co-Founder and CEO , Compt

The Slack Fund’s new approach to investing

With our early investments, we set out to co-create a thriving ecosystem that seeds innovative new services and helps them grow into lasting companies. We were small; it seemed like a good idea; and, suffice it to say, it worked.

“We built a great partnership and product integration that our customers love,” says Jack Altman, the co-founder and CEO of Lattice. “Beyond that, [the Slack team] helped make tons of helpful investor introductions over the years that helped lead to our growth rounds.”

These days, the Slack ecosystem is thriving. We have more than 2,400 custom apps and 820,000 daily active registered developers continually collaborating on Slack. It happens at companies like Donut, built specifically to integrate with Slack. Slack has been essential in its journey, and every improvement to Donut—like the newest feature, Watercooler—is, in many ways, an improvement to Slack.

Jack Altman Lattice Slack Fund

“Ever since investing in our seed round, Slack has been one of our most helpful investors.”

Jack AltmanCo-Founder and CEO, Lattice

But our commitment to the future of work was never just about Slack. To reflect that, we’ve significantly expanded and extended the scope of the Slack Fund. It’s now devoted to investing in companies of all shapes and sizes that help craft the future of work. In fact, our portfolio focus is spread across many categories, including workplace collaboration, people operations, developer tools, and more. There’s absolutely no Slack crossover required; we’re simply keen to help drive forward our philosophy—that your working life can be better.

“There are lots of corporate venture funds,” says Jason Spinell, Slack Fund’s director. “But Slack thinks about it differently. We want to engage with our founders on a much deeper level.”

Every company we invest in has a direct line to mentorship, guidance and whatever else they need using Slack channels, a single place to share files and messages, in the same Slack workspace, through Slack Connect. In these channels, we work with these external organizations many times daily.

“We have a huge amount of information to impart to an early-stage company,” says Spinell, “whether it’s how to do a great integration inside Slack, how to run product-led growth, scale an engineering team, you name it.”

It’s also a collaborative relationship. “These companies can impart knowledge around what it’s like to build for the platform, what it’s like to sell around the ecosystem, what they’re hearing from their customers,” he says.

What’s next for the Slack Fund

We’re accelerating the Slack Fund so we can partner with even more companies navigating the new remote work reality. We are not just investing through this phase but doubling down with even greater conviction.

“Slack’s investment gave Guru a nice validation in the market, that we had a good vision and that Slack felt we could build something meaningful toward the future of work.”

Rick Nucci Co-Founder and CEO, Guru

The Slack Fund is designed to be founder-friendly. We’re quick in our investment decision-making process and delivering the value we say we will, all while creating deep connections for the startups and entrepreneurs within the Slack ecosystem.

And now that we’ve expanded our focus more broadly on companies driving the future of work, we hope to provide this experience for an even more comprehensive range of companies.

You can read more about our vision here.

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