Team communications chat app Slack today announced its Slack Fund invested in six new startups, including meeting assistant Clara and analytics service Epistema. The size of each investment was not disclosed. Since the fund was created two years ago it has provided early-stage financial support to nearly 40 businesses making services for Slack.
“You see everything from code review as a service (Pullrequest), which isn’t terribly surprising for our user base but is a really cool use case, to SAAS spend management (Zylo) to edtech (Learnmetrics), even real estate property management (Aptly) — so a really wide range of use cases showing the breadth of the platform and what the capabilities are and the breadth of different types of work we can bring value to,” Slack VP Brad Armstrong said in a briefing with journalists.
The investments were made by the Slack Fund, a $80 million fund to seed development of the Slack platform and announced today at Spec, a Slack developer conference. Established in December 2015, the Slack platform is now used by more 200,000 developers. The Slack App Directory of third-party software for the workplace and SaaS integrations now has more than 1,500 apps.
“We’ve made 38 investments since we launched the fund; those companies have gone on in 11 different cases to raise additional capital,” Armstrong said. “Our investment in those companies is really minute compared to the $200 million in external venture capital that has been put into these companies.”
Slack Fund companies have all been announced in batches, the most recent coming in July 2017 to support bots like Loom for quick video collaboration and Polly for polling employees. Prior to that, 11 startup investments were announced in January 2017, with backing for companies including Troops, a tool for surfacing Salesforce inside Slack.
Not all companies backed by Slack have been successful. Awesome.ai shut down in August 2016.
Also announced today for the Slack platform: actions, a deeper integration of external software beginning with SaaS services like HubSpot, Bitbucket, and Atlassian’s Jira.