The icon for the chat service app Slack, by Slack Technologies Inc., sits on the screen of an Apple Inc. iPhone 6 smartphone in this arranged photograph in London, U.K., on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. Slack closed a $250 million funding round led by SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund, the company said Sunday. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
Workplace messaging app Slack is following Spotify in sidestepping the traditional IPO process © Bloomberg

Collaboration app Slack has set June 20 as the date for its listing to take effect on the New York Stock Exchange, even as some other recently listed enterprise software stocks took a beating in Monday’s market sell-off.

Slack is following in the footsteps of Spotify last year in pursuing a direct listing rather than an initial public offering, a low-key introduction to Wall Street that does not involve selling any new shares or trying to set a price for its stock.

The IPOs of software companies that sell to business customers have performed strongly this year, raising high expectations for Slack. But even these companies were dented in the broader sell-off.

Shares in video conferencing company Zoom fell more than 10 per cent, while PagerDuty slipped nearly 6 per cent on Monday. But both companies were still trading at roughly double their IPO prices of a month ago, highlighting the strong appetite among investors for the reliable revenue streams of fast-growing business software apps, particularly compared to the unproven business models of Uber and Lyft.

News of Slack’s listing day came in its first official meeting with Wall Street analysts on Monday. Executives stuck close to the company script, laid out in the company’s official filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company, which is trying to turn its workplace chat app into a digital backbone where customers can integrate much of the software they use, also published a trading update that pointed to a slowdown in revenue growth in the latest quarter. It estimated revenue in three months to the end of April reached $133.8-134.8m. That was up 66 per cent, compared to growth of 78-82 per cent recorded in the previous three quarters. Slack put its loss from operations at $38.4-$39.4m, compared to $26.3m a year before.

Stewart Butterfield, chief executive officer, repeated a claim from the company’s official filing, that any company that could solve the problems of coordinating modern workforces would be “the most important software company in the world”. He added: “It’s a statement of ambition, and we are an ambitious company.”

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