Saudi-backed fund invests in Slack

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The Slack messaging application is seen on a phone screen. (Reuters)
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Logo of the Slack messaging application.
Updated 18 September 2017

Saudi-backed fund invests in Slack

LONDON: Software startup Slack Technologies raised $250 million from SoftBank Group and other investors in a funding round that boosted the company’s valuation to $5.1 billion.
The latest fundraising, led by SoftBank through its giant Vision Fund and joined by Accel and other investors, lifted Slack’s total funds raised to $841 million, the enterprise messaging operator said on Monday.
The SoftBank Vision Fund is the world’s largest private equity fund, backed by Japan’s SoftBank Group and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment, Apple, Qualcomm, Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology and Japan’s Sharp are also investors.
In July, sources told Reuters that Slack was raising $250 million in a new funding round led by SoftBank.
The company in the past has raised money from venture firms including GGV Capital, Spark Capital and Thrive Capital, among others.
Slack this week also announced support of four new languages and a shared channels feature, allowing employees from different companies to work together using its platform.
“We believe this is the most important thing we’ve done since launching Slack itself,” April Underwood, Slack vice president of product, told Reuters.
The messaging market is also attracting investment from technology titans that include Google, Cisco and Facebook.
Slack currently has 6 million daily active users and more than 2 million paid users, up from 5 million users and 1.5 million paid users in January.
The new shared channels feature allows users to create group chats with internal and external users.
The SoftBank Vision Fund will also become a cornerstone investor in the Hong Kong initial public offering of ZhongAn Online Property and Casualty Insurance — China’s first Internet-only insurer.
“This is a good marriage for the company in the sense that this is a very strategic, visionary investor and they’ve done a lot of study into the company. SoftBank is definitely a very strong stamp of approval,” ZhongAn’s chief financial officer Francis Tang said at a news conference.


China suspends planned tariffs scheduled for Dec. 15 on some US goods

Updated 12 min 35 sec ago

China suspends planned tariffs scheduled for Dec. 15 on some US goods

  • Chinese tariffs were supposed to target goods ranging from corn and wheat to vehicles and auto parts
  • Beijing agreed to import at least $200 billion in additional US goods and services over the next 2 years
SHANGHAI: China has suspended additional tariffs on some US goods that were meant to be implemented on Dec. 15, the State Council’s customs tariff commission said on Sunday, after the world’s two largest economies agreed a “phase one” trade deal on Friday.
The deal, rumors and leaks over which have gyrated world markets for months, reduces some US tariffs in exchange for what US officials said would be a big jump in Chinese purchases of American farm products and other goods.
China’s retaliatory tariffs, which were due to take effect on Dec. 15, were meant to target goods ranging from corn and wheat to US made vehicles and auto parts.
Other Chinese tariffs that had already been implemented on US goods would be left in place, the commission said in a statement issued on the websites of government departments including China’s finance ministry. “China hopes, on the basis of equality and mutual respect, to work with the United States, to properly resolve each other’s core concerns and promote the stable development of US-China economic and trade relations,” it added.
Beijing has agreed to import at least $200 billion in additional US goods and services over the next two years on top of the amount it purchased in 2017, the top US trade negotiator said Friday.
A statement issued by the United States Trade Representative also on Friday said the United States would leave in place 25% tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods.