The communications platform Slack, which aims to disrupt emails, could be bought by Amazon in a deal which would value the startup at $9bn.
Sources with knowledge of the situation told Bloomberg that the agreement isn’t assured and discussions may not go further, and other technology companies were involved in talks alongside Amazon.
The messaging platform launched in 2012 with the goal of replacing office emails and making work more collaborative and productive. Now, it has grown to exponential size: with over 5m daily users, a collaboration with IBM Watson to power its bots with artificial intelligence (AI), and has invested in startups via its own $80m fund.
The app is so successful that it has recently had to fend off competition from the likes of Microsoft and Facebook who have launched their own workplace messaging apps to capitalise on the widespread appeal of Slack.
Earlier this year, Slack opened its first UK office, its second in Europe alongside its Dublin base, despite concerns that Brexit would prevent new companies from entering the UK. The new London-based office is home to just five employees but the company expects to grow the team up to 400 percent by the end of 2017.
As well, it has announced plans to move from the workplace to the event space, with the launch of its first future of work conference, Frontiers. The first event will take place in San Francisco, in September, where the startup is inviting partners, customers and developers to take part in exploring the future of work productivity.
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It’s interesting that Amazon is potentially looking to acquire a work-based platform, such as Slack. The e-commerce site recently made headways into the office space with the launch of Amazon Web Services (AWS), which sells cloud computing services to companies and individuals. For instance, the streaming service Netflix, uses AWS for almost all of its backend infrastructure, storing and streaming according to the Guardian.
It is one of the most successful parts of its businesses, pulling in around $861m annually and has pushed the company into profitability. It’s also credited with helping push the website’s founder and chief executive, Jeff Bezos, into position as one of the richest men in the world.
Clearly, Amazon has seen the potential in helping businesses function online with AWS and as Slack is continuing its growth and success, it makes sense that a company like Amazon would want to get involved.