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Slack’s first big round of startup investments shows that it wants to do more than kill email

The startup has invested in at least 14 other startups.

Slack founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield
Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty

For a long time, the buzz around Slack has been that that the office collaboration software will one day finally kill email.

But based on the list of startups announced today that Slack is investing in, the company wants to do more than just replace email. A lot more. It wants to create a fleet of service integrations so that Slack users have as little reason to leave Slack as possible.

Today, the company is revealing the names of 11 startups in which it’s investing, all of which make apps for Slack. The money comes from an $80 million fund it launched with other VC firms last winter. In total, the company has invested in 14 startups that make stuff for Slack.

What’s notable about them is how many of them offer services that extend beyond things you can do over email. One service, Birdly, more closely links sales reps on Slack with their Salesforce software. Myra Labs generates tools for software developers that use Slack.

Though Slack has gotten to a $3.8 billion valuation on the promise of being an "email killer," the company is betting that its next big thing will be the third-party integrations that give users more stuff to do with Slack.

It’s an ambitious push, but Slack hasn’t replaced email yet: You can’t talk to people at other companies using the service. If they enable that function, the Slack ecosystem could become much more valuable.

Here are some of the startups announced today that the Slack fund is backing, not all of which have officially launched:

  • Growbot: Has a tool that can "immediately share team ‘kudos’ or ‘props’ to grow appreciation and recognition" in Slack.
  • Bot maker Sudo: Created a Slack chatbot specifically to work with software for salespeople.
  • Candor, Inc: Allows Slack users to "improve their relationships at work by giving caring but challenging personal feedback."
  • Wade and Wendy: A curiously named pair of "intelligent assistants," one of whom helps job recruiters while the other assists job seekers.

Watch: A conversation with Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield

This article originally appeared on

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