Enterprise social comes roaring back

Enterprise social comes roaring back. Led by products like Slack, Workplace by Facebook and Microsoft Teams, a software category that had been languishing for the last several years, suddenly came alive. A decade ago, as social software emerged, it was coined Enterprise 2.0 to describe products based on Web 2.0 consumer tools like blogs and wikis, which were making their way into business and attempting to transform the way employees communicate and collaborate. An industry developed with early companies like Yammer, Jive and Socialcast (to name but a few examples). Microsoft bought Yammer for $1.2 billion in 2012 — and so it went, as the space lost momentum. In fact, the April, 2016 funding round was for $200 million on a $3.8 billion valuation. Today, they are up to 4 million active daily users (of which 1.25 million are paying). In October, Workplace by Facebook, the company’s enterprise social application, opened for business. While the first wave of tools had similar functionality to today’s, perhaps they came too soon for widespread enterprise adoption. Mobile, social and the cloud have been connected from the start, and perhaps all of these companies see a market that’s more open to communications and collaboration tools than they were the first time around.

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You’ll be forgiven if you missed it, but lost in the avalanche of this year’s tech news, enterprise social software made an impressive comeback. Led by products like Slack, Workplace by Facebook and Microsoft Teams, a software category that had been languishing for the last several years, suddenly came alive.

A decade ago, as social software emerged, it was coined Enterprise 2.0 to describe products based on Web 2.0 consumer tools like blogs and wikis, which were making their way into business and attempting to transform the way employees communicate and collaborate. An industry developed with early companies like Yammer, Jive and Socialcast (to name but a few examples).

Jive was the only pure Enterprise 2.0 player to go public, IPOing in 2011, but there was also the inevitable consolidation as companies were sold. VMware bought Socialcast in 2011. Microsoft bought Yammer for $1.2 billion in 2012 — and so it went, as the space lost momentum.

Social media companies deal flow from 2012.
Enterprise social deal flow chart from 2012. Credit:

Cut me some Slack

Then came the launch of Slack in 2013, and while we didn’t know it at the time, it would prove significant. A year after launch, the startup began attracting enormous chunks of funding — garnering more than $522 million in investment across four rounds between April 2014 and April 2016….

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