Slack prepares for IPO: an alternative data deep dive

As Slack approaches its IPO, a look at alternative data might indicate how the brand will fare in a highly competitive year for tech listings

Key Takeaway

We took a look at Slack’s progress over the last 2 years through an alternative data lens as the firm prepares its IPO – from online ad spend, to app downloads, employee reviews, search trends and more.

Slack announced its plans to IPO late last year, expecting a valuation to the tune of more than $10 billion, previously valued at $7.1 billion in its last funding round of $427M. This puts the workplace communication app well in unicorn territory.

In 2018, the firm revealed its daily active users surpassed 8 million, 3 million of which were paying. In early 2019, the app surpassed 10 million DAU, following acquisition of HipChat and Stride from competitor Atlassian.


The Wall Street Journal reported the brand intends to pursue a slightly more unconventional IPO route, following in the footsteps of Spotify with a direct listing, rather than engaging in the traditional underwriting process.

2019 has been the year many were waiting for when it comes to tech IPOs. As we await public listings from Uber, Lyft, Pinterest and more, we took a look at Slack’s performance over the last few years from an alternative data lens to see how it stacks up as it prepares to enter the public market.


Online advertising spend

Slack began investing heavily in online advertising (via Google AdWords) in Q2 2018, up from a previously steady rate of around $300k/month. As of February 2019, the firm was spending upwards of $8 million per month on SEM.


Search trends + website traffic

Slack has seen a steady rise in appearance in search trends, seeing a spike in early 2019 as talks of its pending IPO picked up, with a similar trend noted in website traffic.

App reviews and downloads

As Slack’s user base has grown and downloads have picked up, its average app rating on iOS took a bit of a hit, from 3.6 in 2017 to around 3.0 early this year.

Slack employee reviews have remained relatively consistent, with a slight decline which may indicate a potential shift in culture as the company has expanded beyond 1,000 employees.

Alternative data provides a more holistic, 360 degree view of a company’s performance in the market across multiple touchpoints. This can supplement traditional financial and sales data to offer investors a more detailed indication of how the brand might perform when it reaches public markets, aiding in context-driven decision-making.

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