Slack just keeps blowing up. The super buzzworthy work–and dating?–chat app just surpassed 1.1 million active users and $25 million in annual revenue. Sure, that’s a fraction of Yammer’s 8 million users, but Slack is only 16 months old and its momentum shows no sign of stopping. To keep that growth going, Slack now wants to become a platform for all your work communication needs.
Slack has hired April Underwood, an alumnus of Google and Twitter, as its new head of Platform. In that role, Underwood will oversee Slack’s API, integrations, and developer relations.
To date, Slack has worked with about 100 partners to build third-party services directly into Slack’s suite of mobile and desktop apps. Teams using Slack have collectively activated 900,000 of those integrations. With Underwood’s arrival, the company aims to dramatically increase those numbers, making Slack more of a one-stop-shop for work and productivity.
“There’s been a huge proliferation of apps and services for work over the past few years, and while many of these apps help teams do great work, they all operate as islands,” Underwood told Fast Company. “Slack, as a platform, makes work easier for users by bringing these tools and services together all in one place.”
Some of the most popular integrations include Google Drive, GitHub, Trello, and Twitter, Underwood tells me. Of course, if your team is anything like Fast Company, you wouldn’t be able to get through the day without Slack’s integration with Giphy, which enables us to send very important, definitely work-related animations to each other throughout the day.
By sharpening its focus on the platform side of things, Slack hopes to not only expand the selection of third-party integrations, but make them easier to discover, Underwood says. For users, the benefits are obvious: This makes Slack a more convenient place to work and communicate and beefs up the app’s functionality.
For Slack as a company, the platform focus is a wise one: It allows the service to grow its functionality without bogging down Slack’s product and development teams with trying to reinvent various wheels. Rather, Slack can laser-focus on building out its core product and let third-party developers extend the product in ways that will be most useful to users. All the while, in theory, the expansion should make Slack more of a central hub for productivity, further immersing users in an experience that many already seem to love.
Founded by Flickr cofounder Stewart Butterfield, Slack has won the hearts and minds of a growing number of corporate teams since launching in February 2014. The company now employs 180 people in its San Francisco headquarters.
You’d think that with established players like Yammer and Campfire, a new entrant into the enterprise chat space wouldn’t stand a chance in 2015. But Slack’s simply designed, cross-device communication system coupled with powerful search and archiving capabilities has given it a foothold. And if Underwood has her way, Slack is only going to get more and more useful.