In just five years, Slack has grown to have more than 10 million users and has become a verb in the process. “I’ll Slack you” is shorthand for sending a message via the workplace chat platform.
On Thursday, the company took that popularity to the New York Stock Exchange, where its shares soared on its first day of trading. Slack Technologies opened at $38.50 per share — 48% above the starting price that had been projected Wednesday. It soared to as high as $42 per share Thursday, but closed at $38.62. That puts the company’s value at about $20 billion.
Instead of having a conventional initial public offering, Slack entered the market as a direct listing, which means the shares were simply listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Most firms that pass on an IPO are widely known companies that are in good financial shape.
As Fortune explains:
“Unlike an ordinary IPO, a direct listing means the company doesn’t issue any new shares and doesn’t raise additional capital. It’s primarily a way for company insiders to sell some of their holdings to investors, while bypassing the formidable fees and requirements of using an underwriter.”