Slack smashing ceilings


Emailed on June 21st, 2019 in The Friday Forward

Slack, the quirky workplace chat app, had a smooth opening day on the market yesterday for its direct listing. This was especially newsworthy for two reasons:

Direct Listing: It's only the second direct listing from a major tech company and the first from a non-consumer service (Spotify blazed the trail last year). This means that Slack isn't using underwriters, nor issuing new stock, in the manner of a traditional IPO.

Instead, it's effectively allowing existing stockholders to begin trading their shares on the public markets.

New Money: Because Slack has managed to hire (relatively) more employees of underrepresented minority groups, its public debut yesterday also meant an influx of wealth for more folks of color than the typical tech IPO.

In 2018, they made up 14.2% of Slack’s U.S. technical positions, 13.0% of its U.S. managers, and 8.8% of its U.S. leadership team (these are typically the employees that get higher stock compensations at tech startups).

There's still much room to improve, but this is a promising step toward a more diversified tech landscape.

Sean Steigerwald