The arrival of San Francisco-based Slack - which markets online tools for information sharing and workflow management - underscores investor hunger for new companies in spite of some high-profile stumbles.
Slack Technologies, the fast-growing workplace messaging and communication platform, is poised for an unusual public listing today that will see it trade on the New York Stock Exchange. This will essentially value the company at around $15.6 billion.
Slack's stock price ended up at $38.62 a share on its first day on the market after reaching a high of $41.95 on a busy Thursday.
Slack now boasts about 10 million daily active users (DAU) worldwide, and according to the company, more than half of the DAUs are global. This particular method of getting listed is quite uncommon, at least for large tech firms.
Slack chief executive officer Stewart Butterfield said Thursday that the company chose not to have a traditional IPO for a pragmatic reason: It didn't need the cash.
Slack says 600,000 organizations in more than 150 countries use the service - the bulk on a free service, which imposes limits such as how far back an employee can view archives.
In Slack's dual-class share structure, super-voting Class B shares must be converted to Class A common shares before they can be sold.
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Mr Butterfield said he thinks that the practice of direct listing has the potential to catch on more widely after this week. Lastly, IPO prices are determined by an assessment of the company's financials and outlook. But the two biggest, Uber and Lyft, are trading below their IPO prices.
Private trading suggests the company could list at a price range of $26-$32, which would imply a market cap of $14 billion-$17 billion, according to funding database PitchBook. Stock prices, termed as a company's reference price, are determined by the exchange and the stock market itself. "We have to work hard to explain Slack to all the people who have never used it before", he said.
For its listing, Slack expects to pay $22.1m in fees to its financial advisers.
Slack likely went to the direct offering route in order for its existing shareholders to have the option to sell their shares immediately.
In a direct listing, a company doesn't go through investment banks to issue new shares and line up a group of initial investors to buy them. In September, the company raised US$427 million, selling shares for US$11.91 each.
This is unnecessary for the company as most investors are likely already very familiar with the company.