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Slack Beefs Up Executive Ranks

Slack, the privately held corporate messaging startup valued at almost $3 billion, is rounding out its leadership team with two newly created positions.

Geoff Belknap, the company’s first chief security officer, previously held a comparable position at data analytics darling Palantir for five years. He’s responsible for handling Slack’s physical and cybersecurity.

Keith Adams, who co-founded Facebook’s artificial research team and was also an early engineer at VMware, is Slack’s new chief architect. His job duties include evaluating technologies that will play a role in Slack’s future.

The hires closely follow the rapid-fire promotion of April Underwood, a former Twitter executive who was hired in June to lead platform direction and Slack’s strategic partnerships. Underwood was elevated to vice president of product in early January.

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Slack has raised more than $320 million in funding, making it one of the most closely watched technology unicorns, or companies with private valuations of at least $1 billion. The new hires are a precursor to an initial public offering, although the company isn’t expected to file for one until at least sometime in 2017.

As of mid-December, the company had more than two million daily active users, almost double the number it reported in June. Many Slack users stay connected to the service an average of 10 hours daily, according to stats shared by Underwood last month.

One way Slack intends to differentiate its messaging service is through an initiative that prioritizes close connections with other widely used cloud applications, including Twitter, Dropbox, Google, and Uber. Last month, the company premiered an $80 million investment fund to kickstart startups that are developing related applications.