Slack, the team communication and e-mail killer platform, which is now worth over $2.8 billion is aiming to be more than just a communication app.
The company has made major announcements, including its own application directory, its VC fund and Botkit. With The Slack Platform, the company aims at making user’s experience with apps even better.
The company has introduced Slack App Directory, where there are already more than 160 apps. The apps in the directory can extent the capabilities of your team on the platform. The apps in the directory are sorted according to the category, popularity and favorites. The company claims that the installation of the apps is also easy. Within just few click, you will be able to use the app with your team.
For your convenience, you can even search for apps from within Slack itself, by typing /apps <keyword> to search for any app related to that <keyword> and you will be presented with the 3 most popular results back in your channel.
The company has also announced a $80 million fund to support and encourage developers to build apps that interact with Slack. The fund is created by the company, along with the investors in the company, which includes Accel, Andreessen-Horowitz, Index Ventures, KPCB, Spark, and Social+Capital.
It will primarily make investments worth around $1,00,000 to $2,50,000 in seed stage startups that make Slack their core foundation.It will fund both “Slack-first” apps as well as B2B and enterprise tools that make Slack integrations a core part of their offering.
It has already invested in three companies: Small Wins, a stealth startup founded by Ryan Block; Awesome, makers of a bot that creates summaries of Slack chats; and Howdy, a company that makes “virtual assistant” bots for Slack.
Along with all this, Slack has also launched a new framework for Slack development called Botkit by Howdy. It claims to be simplifying the creation of application and especially bots with a flexible codebase that handles things like authenticating apps to a team and the sending, receiving, and processing of messages with it’s API.
This will be helpful for the developers who can now skip the basic functionality and instead get a head start on writing code for what their bots actually do and how their apps interact.
One of the major competitor of the company is HipChat. It has recently announced HipChat Connect, which is a platform for building deep integrations into the chat application itself.
It will be interesting to see how many startups comes into the light to develop tools for collaboration for a platform that is basically a chat platform in general.