In the past three years, messaging and collaboration tool Flock has acquired 25,000 customers. The ranks of these have been mostly small companies but also some large ones such as Victorinox and VMware.
It’s now taking the battle to its largest global competitor, Slack.
Flock, founded by Indian-born tech entrepreneur Bhavin Turakhia, on Tuesday opened up its platform that will allow companies and individuals to migrate from Slack to Flock, without fear of losing any data.
Flock, founded by Indian-born tech entrepreneur Bhavin Turakhia, on Tuesday opened up its platform that will allow companies and individuals to migrate from Slack to Flock, without fear of losing any data
Both Flock and Slack are based on the theory of bringing multiple office conversations on to one technology platform. Employees can create groups or channels, have private and public conversations, share documents, schedule meetings, and even do video conferences.
California-headquartered Slack became popular in the 2014-15 period — it was widely known as the “email killer” as many American companies took on to the messaging app — and became chattier and more responsive in office using Slack. In 2016, it was valued at $3.8 billion.
Flock promises a lot more than Slack at almost a third of its cost. “Whatever it was worth, Slack was enjoying the mindshare, but there is a much better product out there in the market,” said Ninad Raval, vice president, product and design, at Flock.
The race to grab share is egged by projections for the enterprise collaboration market: $49.51 billion by 2021 — growing at a 13.2% compound annual growth rate from 2016.
The Flock feature upgrade opens up a new front with Slack for a bigger share of the office collaboration business. While both have several competitors, Flock is the only company, globally, to announce zero pilferage migration from Slack.
To be sure, Slack is way ahead and boasts of large clients such as Marks and Spencer, Airbnb, Samsung, Ebay, among others. According to global digital data tracker DMR, Slack has 5.8 million weekly active users. Flock claims to have over 50,000.
Flock believes it has a strong pitch. It has helped reduce emails by 40% and in-person meetings by 60% for its clients, and improved team productivity by 40%
Flock believes it has a strong pitch. It has helped reduce emails by 40% and in-person meetings by 60% for its clients, and improved team productivity by 40%.
But, the problem was that Slack users wanted to migrate to Flock without losing data and past conversations, said Raval. About six to eight months ago, the number of such requests increased. So the team at Flock decided to roll out the migration feature.
“We did a pilot with more than 10 Slack teams across the world that comprises around 300 users, more than 250 channels, and approximately 100,000 messages,” said Raval.
To win, Flock will have to not only fight Slack, but also Facebook at Work, IBM Connections, and even the yet-to-be-launched Whatsapp for Business.
Already more than 15% of Flock’s traffic comes from the US (only 33% is from India), followed by the Philippines (7.87%), Russia (4.27%) and Serbia (3.39%).
“There are a lot of copycats in India. It is nice to see a company to stand beside global competitors… A lot of multinational companies think that they can bind users in their ecosystem… Helping people to migrate can be a winning strategy,” said Neha
Dharia, senior analyst with Ovum, a London-based consultancy firm.
“Philosophically, we are different from Slack. Chat is a real-time product, so notification also has to be real time, unless the user wants to shut down some notifications” — Ninad Raval, VP, product and design, Flock
Raval points out that having its roots in India has helped Flock — he is referring to the large number of smartphone users in this country. One problem that Raval points out is real time notifications in Slack, which aligns them with work hours of the region the user is in.
“Philosophically, we are different from Slack. Chat is a real-time product, so notification also has to be real time, unless the user wants to shut down some notifications,” said Raval. “They have their own product evolution, and we have our own.”
The other promise that Flock comes with is an integration with several third-party apps, such as Uber. So, you can book an Uber ride from within Flock and the bill can go straight to the company’s account. Also, the integration with Google Drive is better than in Slack, according to a review by Tony John of Techulator.
Flock has raised $45 million from founder Turakhia. Competitor Slack has raised nearly $540 million from 26 investors over nine rounds of fund raising. Lead visual: Nikhil Raj Updated at 10.07am on June 7 to add some information for context and to correct the name of a region. It is Serbia, not Siberia.
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