FDI of the Month

FDI of the Month April 2018: Slack – Celebrating diversity in the workplace

By Business & Finance
01 May 2018
Mary Buckley (IDA Ireland), Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, Stewart Butterfield, Ali Rayl, James Sherrett (Slack)
Mary Buckley (IDA Ireland) and Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD with Stewart Butterfield, Ali Rayl and James Sherrett (Slack)

Slack has shown an impressive track record since its establishment in Ireland in 2015 with a hundred hires right off the bat, creating a statement of intent in relation to its commitment to Irish operations.

Astronomical early figures

The messaging start-up was founded in 2013 by Canadian entrepreneur Stewart Butterfield (also co-founder of Flickr). Slack operates in 100 countries globally and has over 50,000 companies pay to use the service.

In 2017 the company announced the addition of 80 new positions in Dublin, bringing the total number of employees at Slack’s EU headquarters to 180 at the end of last year.

Though Slack only launched its services in February of 2014, in just six months of being founded it boasted over 750,000 daily users. As of September last year, Slack surpassed six million daily users. As of February this year, there are nine million active users weekly.


The company has played a big part in encouraging women into the tech sphere. According to Slack figures, 44.7% of the entire workforce is made up of women, with over a third in technical roles (34.3%).

diversity, workplace

Statistics for gender diversity at Slack

Advice for fledgling start-ups

It is one of the best examples of early company growth being the fastest-growing business-to-business application in tech history.

In a conversation with Business & Finance last year, Ali Rayl, Director of Customer Experience at Slack, gave advice to start-up executives who wish to get off the ground running: “I think anybody being a manager should learn how to be a manager, right away! I think executive coaches are definitely a luxury item so not every start-up could really stretch to that but there are so many different avenues for support and the piece of advice that I give around that is you are not alone; find your tribe and get some help.”

Keeping the hard work going

Initiatives are in place to continue incentives like this, such as The Slack Fund, an $80 million dollar fund supporting developers and small companies building small apps for Slack. Also, The Slack App Directory allows access to thousands of apps that can extend the capabilities of your Slack team.

All the things about how we run our team is constantly shifting just a little bit as we grow in different parts of the world and as we make inroads into different types of markets. — Ali Rayl

In its Hatch Street, Dublin 2 home, the organisation is well placed in the capital, in particular with Brexit looming large. Its presence adds to the collection of top tech companies establishing EU headquarters in Dublin.

Slack continues, and will continue, to champion its values in making work easier and more accessible for everyone involved, either directly within the company or the millions using the service worldwide.