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Slack Is Just The Tip Of The Iceberg For Enterprise Tech

June 22, 2015 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by Ross Fubini / TechCrunch

Slack's valuation soared to $2.8 billion in less than two years, and has doubled in the past six months alone -- all without any big marketing campaigns. The startup's adoption curve and rave reviews are something many founders and investors dream about, but few actually achieve.

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Enterprise startups in general have been on a tear over the past few years as the "consumerization" trend continues to churn and the ascendance of Big Data continues to transform the way business gets done. Slack is by no means the first enterprise collaboration tool to gain serious traction, but the startup has made strategic choices -- from product design to enterprise contract structure -- that have put it on track to generate massive adoption and add value to companies across verticals.

So while Slack has become the model after which all other enterprise startups pattern themselves, it's imperative this new class of startups think critically about a few key factors that will shape their product offering, and ultimately position them to be the next unicorns of the enterprise.

Collaboration

While not all young enterprise startups have the hype of Slack, there are many taking on equally big opportunities and standing poised to become winners in their category. For example, HighFive is tackling video conferencing, which is critical to running remote teams in today's business world. However, most current solutions are limited in their adoption because they are expensive and hard to use.

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HighFive's hardware sets up every conference room for remote meetings with an "instant on" feature, at a fraction of the price of traditional solutions ($800 per room versus ten times that). Its Apple-esque design makes its camera attractive and its software addictive -- quite a change from fighting with your overpriced Polycom.

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Quip is what you wish you were getting from GoogleDocs -- a modern productivity suite that makes it easy to create content in documents and spreadsheets. It's best on mobile, and users can create, edit and communicate about content from any device, then collaborate via chat, checklists and more. Redefining collaboration for mobile is definitely a billion-dollar opportunity, and Quip already has 10,000 businesses (versus Slack's 30,000) and millions of individuals using its service.

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