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Slack files to go public, revealing $400 million in revenue and $139 million in losses

Key Points
  • Business messaging company Slack released its S-1 on Friday.
  • Slack will pursue a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SK.
  • Slack follows several tech companies that have already debuted on the public market in 2019, including Lyft, PagerDuty, Pinterest and Zoom. Uber has also released its S-1 and is expected to go public in early May.
Stewart Butterfield, co-founder and chief executive officer of Slack Technologies Inc., speaks during an event in San Francisco, California.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Slack filed papers for its initial public offering on Friday, revealing $400 million in revenue and $139 million in losses.

Slack, part of a highly anticipated class of tech companies to file for an IPO, will pursue a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SK.

Here's how Slack said it performed for the year ending Jan. 31:

  • Revenue: $400.55 million
  • Net loss: $138.9 million
  • Cash equivalents as of Jan. 31: $841 million

Here's how Slack reported its user base as of Jan. 31:

  • Daily Active Users (DAUs): Over 10 million
  • Paid customers: 88,000, up 49% year over year compared with fiscal 2018
  • Paid customers paying over $100,000 based on annual recurring revenue (ARR): 575, up 93% year over year compared with fiscal 2018

Slack spent more than half its revenue on sales and marketing during its fiscal year 2019, reporting more than $233 million in operating expenses on that segment. The company has been increasing its sales and market spend over the past few years, spending $140 million in its fiscal year 2018 and $104 million in its fiscal year 2017. Slack expects to continue spending on sales and marketing, listing these areas as part of its growth strategy.

"We believe our market remains underpenetrated and we will continue to expand our marketing and sales efforts to reach more users and organizations and to increase the number of paid customers," Slack said.

The company will offer two classes of shares that will consolidate voting power among its top shareholders with Class B stock. Class A common stock will be entitled to one vote per share, while Class B will be entitled to 10 votes per share.

Accel is the company's largest shareholder at 24%, followed by Andreessen Horowitz with a 13.3% stake and Social Capital with a 10.2% stake. Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield owns an 8.6% stake and SoftBank holds 7.3%.

Under its risk factors, Slack said it may need to establish costly systems to keep in compliance with new data laws, including the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation. Slack said it may deem it necessary to set up systems that can maintain personal data from areas protected by this regulation, which could divert resources from other parts of the business.

Slack follows several tech companies that have already debuted on the public market in 2019, including Lyft, PagerDuty, Pinterest and Zoom. Uber has also released its S-1 on Friday and is expected to go public in a few weeks.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect accurate sales and marketing expenses for Slack.

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Watch: In-depth interview with Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield

VIDEO45:1945:19
In-depth interview with Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield

Disclosure: Comcast Ventures, the venture arm of Comcast, is an investor in Slack. Comcast owns CNBC parent company NBCUniversal.