Slack shares to start trading Thursday, valuing company at $15.7B

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Slack shares to start trading Thursday, valuing company at $15.7B

All we know for certain is that Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield and others are now newly minted billionaires.

Shares of Slack Technologies Inc, the fast-growing workplace messaging and communication platform, soared almost 50% in their public trading debut on Thursday, valuing the company at more than $23 billion.

Slack's direct listing is the first since Spotify's successful debut past year.

Slack's ultimate success as a public company is yet to be seen, but the company has already cemented its place as a go-to enterprise collaboration tool in a market where many other platforms have failed.

Though the reference price is partly based on where the shares have most recently changed hands in private transactions, it doesn't correlate to the opening price or valuation in the same way as an offer price in a traditional IPO.

But Slack chose to remain true to its brand identity and take an unconventional approach, using something called a DPO - a direct public offering. This direct listing allows a company's private owners to immediately offload their shares by selling directly to the public.

Slack's debut follows a spate of much anticipated technology IPOs, some of which, including Uber Technologies and Lyft, had disappointing starts to trading.

Slack isn't the first tech company to do a direct listing instead of an IPO.

What is direct listing vs IPO?

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On Wednesday evening, the NYSE set a reference price of $26 per share. "It's a new category of software", he said. Slack's stock price eventually climbed to a high of $42 until it ended the day at $38.62 which means the company is now valued at close to $23bn. In 2018, it lost $138.9 million.

"We are in a growth phase right now and we are continuing to invest, but we expect to hit breakeven cash flow soon", CFO Shim said.

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