Reading between the lines: What Slack didn’t disclose in its IPO filing

Slack Technologies, the developer of the popular namesake team collaboration messaging app, recently applied for a public offering on the stock market. This is not a classic IPO, but a “direct listing,” also known a “direct public offering.” This means Slack is not raising money by directly selling shares and instead allows early investors and employees to sell their shares in the public offering. Music streaming service Spotify held a successful direct listing last year.

This story caught my attention for a simple reason. In August 2016, I joined the team developing a still-undercover product called Workplace by Facebook—a direct competitor to Slack. I worked on the product for 2.5 years. Back then, I dreamed of having an opportunity to look inside Slack’s business metrics.

It may seem that Slack has revealed a lot of data about the business in their S-1 filing, a document that is almost 200 pages in length.

The reality is, they haven’t. The company had already disclosed in various ways much of the information compiled in their report.

But if we combine the data disclosed in S-1 filing and the experience I gained while working on Slack’s competitor, we’ll be able to uncover interesting details that will paint a more holistic picture.

I must say that this article contains my personal thoughts on the matter, jotted down while going through their S-1 filing, and should not be considered as investment advice.

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What Slack didn't disclose in its IPO filing

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