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Slack launched in August 2013 and one year later it had already attracted 1.1 million users. By December 2015 that figure had reached 2 million users, 570,000 of whom were paid accounts.

With that type of heady growth, it’s no surprise that Slack is a Silicon Valley “Unicorn” — scoring its last $160 million venture capital round at a $2.8 billion valuation. Here’s why:

  • Disruption – What Slack did is disrupt the collaborative communication market by applying a tried-and-true doctrine of innovation, remove pain points by simplifying the way company teams can communicate with one another. Slack did that by adopting Twitter’s hashtag, a well-understood metaphor.
  • Viral growth – The result is that “Slack is killing email,” as The Verge put it. And because communication is so viral, Slack has seen its usage sky rocket. With more than 60,000 teams using Slack at outfits like eBay, NBCUniversal, Sony and Yelp, the company claims it’s the fastest growing business app ever.
  • Open platform – Slack’s record success is due to its seamless integration with other apps — about 150 apps — from such third parties as Twitter, Dropbox, Trello and Google Drive. In order to grow that ecosystem, Slack has also announced an $80 million developer fund, backed by Accel Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Spark Capital and Social Capital.

It’s abundantly clear that the folks at Slack are not slacking off, and they shouldn’t based on this tweet:

Slack Technologies Inc.

Year (of first major innovation): 2013
Innovations: Realtime messaging
Innovation Types: Product

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