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Slack firms up plans for Melbourne, Australia expansion

Melbourne Slack, the workplace collaboration e-mail killer, has secured office space in Melbourne, Australia and expects to open with a soft launch on January 15, followed by a full launch on March 1, CEO Stewart Butterfield told The Australian.

“We looked at a lot of places for our first office in Australasia. It came down to Singapore and Melbourne,” said Butterfield. “There’s a ton of factors that go into it for us … but the biggest driver is the possible employee base.”

While the talent base may have turned the tide in Melbourne’s favour, Butterfield also cites the city’s “cool night life” as a deciding factor.

“Melbourne has a little bit less competition than some other centres for talent but a very well-educated, English-speaking population that would make great employees for us,” he says.

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Another possible factor in Slack’s decision to set up shop in Australia may have been Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s desire that his cabinet communicate by using Slack.

“It was obviously very exciting for us,” said Butterfield. “I definitely applaud him, not so much for the use of Slack specifically, but for trying to move communication of government at that level forward.”

Earlier this year, Turnbull revealed that he was a regular user of Wickr and WhatsApp.

Since launching in 2014, Butterfield has seen slack become one of Silicon Valley’s unicorns, valued at a reputed $2.8 billion after having raised $340 million US.

Butterfield was a co-founder of Flickr and went on to develop Glitch, an online game created by his studio Tiny Speck, which shuttered at the end of 2012.

With its primary offices in San Francisco and Vancouver, Slack has opened an office in Ireland and now employs 250 people. The app has 480,000 paid users and 1.7 million daily active users.

Slack expects the new Melbourne office space to have capacity for 70 employees. They’re already advertising for a Customer Experience Agent.

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