Slack Shares Fall as Revenue Growth Slows and Losses Expected to Widen

Slack co-founders Cal Henderson, left, and Stewart Butterfield pose for photos outside the New York Stock Exchange before their company's IPO. Photo Credit: Richard Drew/AP/Shutterstock
September 4, 2019

Slack beat expectations in its second quarter earnings report, posting $145 million in sales after the bell on Wednesday. The company was expected to report $141.25 million in sales.

Slack’s stock, however, fell swiftly in after hours trading due to weaker-than-expected guidance for the third quarter. The earnings report was the company’s first release since going public in June under the ticker WORK on the New York Stock Exchange.

“We remain focused on expansion within existing customers and growing our large enterprise customer base,” Allen Shim, Slack’s chief financial officer, said in a statement. Shim added that the company’s revenue growth was 58 percent year-over-year increase.

The popular workplace messaging platform posted a net loss per share of $0.14, better than the expected loss of $0.18. Slack, however, said it expects a loss of $0.08 to $0.09 per share in the third quarter, slightly more than what analysts were expecting.

It also said revenue growth would slow from 58 percent to less than 48 percent, which seemed to worry investors after hours with shares falling more than 15 percent. Yet the drop comes after the stock gained more than an 8 percent during the trading day Wednesday.

Since its founding in 2014, Slack has grown to be used by over 600,000 organizations in 150 countries. The platform, which has free and paid subscription plans, is now used by an estimated 10 million people who send over 1 billion messages a week. Shim added that Slack also increased its paid customer base by 720 clients, which marked a 75 percent year-over-year jump.

Slack’s market debut earlier this summer followed several other major tech startups, such as Uber ($UBER) and Lyft ($LYFT), that went public this year.

Forgoing the traditional initial public offering process, Slack directly listed its shares on the market. The big difference between that and an IPO is that the company did not issue new shares, but instead, existing shareholders sold their stock to public investors. That means, unlike Uber and Lyft, Slack did not raise additional capital as part of the IPO.

The last major company to complete a direct listing was Spotify ($SPOT), which went public in April 2018.

“This is an entirely new category of software enabling a once-in-a-generation shift in the way people work together,” Stewart Butterfield, the company's CEO and co-founder, added in a statement. “We believe channel-based collaboration is so superior to email-based communication for work, that this shift is inevitable.”