Slack CEO, ahead of NYSE debut, predicts the end of company email as we know it in 7 years

  • However, Slack chief Stewart Butterfield says, “The broader world of email will stick around.”
  • Butterfield speaks with CNBC ahead of the company’s stock debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.
  • Like music streaming service Spotify, Slack decided on direct listing, rather than a traditional IPO.

The workplace-messaging firm Slack is confident that it will speed toward ending the world of email as we know it inside companies in the next seven years, predicts co-founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield.

However, he said, “The broader world of email will stick around.”

Slack’s paying customers total over 85,000 people, and it has more than 10 million daily active users, the company said in a January blog post.

Conventional email will phase out between those users between five to seven years from now, Butterfield estimated.

“Everyone will choose this,” he said of his platform, where companies can set up both public and private channels for employees to collaborate and direct messaging each other.

Butterfield spoke with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin on “Squawk Box,” ahead of the company’s stock debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.

Slack’s listing is different from the slew of other tech IPOs this year, including Uber, Lyft, Pinterest and Chewy.

Like music streaming service Spotify, Slack decided to pursue a so-called direct listing, rather than a traditional initial public offering.

Direct listings allow a company to go public without involving underwriters — those intermediaries who buy shares from the company or insiders and then sell them to the public. Instead, the shares simply begin trading on an exchange.

The NYSE has set a “reference price” of $26 per share for Slack, based roughly on the price of private trades over the last few months.

— CNBC’s Bob Pisani contributed to this report.



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