Slack moves the world closer to an email-free future

You’ve got no mail.
You’ve got no mail.
Image: AP Photo/Jason DeCrow
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Slack wants to knock down some walls.

The messaging startup, which only launched last year and already sports a $1.2 billion valuation, wants a bigger piece of the enterprise communication market, projected to reach $23 billion by 2019. To do so, it’s adding new features to its platform and exploring ways for users to communicate with people outside their companies.

“In Slack, communication is generally restricted to people on the same team, though there are restricted and guest accounts, and more cross-team functionality is planned,” cofounder and CEO Stewart Butterfield tells Quartz. (For the record, we use Slack here at Quartz.)

Slack quickly became a darling of the tech world as modern day workers griped about overloaded email inboxes. The service allows users to chat with coworkers in channels or directly in real time, eradicating the need for endless email chains and burgeoning cc fields. With the acquisition of Screenhero announced yesterday—which will allow it to add voice calls, video chat, and screensharing to its platform—Slack is also taking aim at tools like Skype and Google Hangouts.

While Slack helps cut down on email clutter from inside your company, it does nothing to stop incessant emails from outside. When it does knock down those virtual walls, the company will move us closer to an email-free future.

There’s one big asterisk though: That future is attainable only if all the people you talk to are on Slack. So far, the company counts 365,000 active users across 45,000 companies.

One can dream.