By Jonathan Vanian
July 17, 2018

Slack is attempting to broaden its appeal to businesses and has bought a small enterprise software startup in Denver to help.

The workplace chat app company said Tuesday that it has acquired Missions, an enterprise software startup. Slack declined to comment on the financial terms of the deal, which is Slack’s third acquisition in its history.

Although Missions is a small startup with less than 10 people, Brian Elliott, the vice president and general manager of the Slack platform, described the deal as an acquisition rather than an acqui-hire, in which companies typically buy smaller companies for the talent.

Slack will not be reassigning its new employees, who started work at Slack this week in its Denver office, to different Slack product development teams, Elliott said. Instead Missions will continue developing its product within Slack.

Missions specializes in technology that lets non-IT staff more easily create features in Slack so customers can individually tailor the workplace app to suit their needs. These could include features like creating “a simple approval process” inside Slack in which different team members can “sign off” when a project is complete, Elliott said.

Companies could also use the Missions technology to create onboarding systems for new employees that are built within Slack so that new workers could see a list of “things I need them to do,” like the forms they need to fill out or the meetings they need to attend, he said.

These kinds of features would not be as robust as the kinds of services offered by other workplace software companies, like Zendesk or Hubspot. Slack recently debuted a feature that lets other enterprise software companies more easily integrate their own tools inside of Slack.

Elliott pitches the Missions technology as a way for different teams within a business to better customize Slack without having to consult corporate IT staff to do so, which could entail a longer, more involved process.

Typically, tasks like new-employee onboarding are conducted via multiple emails, and Missions’ technology would let companies push those tasks to Slack so people don’t have to wade through their inboxes, he explained.

Missions CEO Mike Brevoort said that he decided join Slack because his startup reached a tipping point. Missions technology specifically works for Slack, and if the startup were to grow anymore, it would likely have to expand its product so that it works with multiple workplace software providers.

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“That would be the least common denominator approach,” Brevoort said.

As for whether Slack is now considering acquiring more companies than it has in the past, Elliott said, “I suspect it won’t be that long between this one and the next one.”

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