Vancouver-born Slack is off to a great start as a public company today as shares of the chat-based collaboration app are trading 50 percent above the initial price set by the company.
Slack shares started trading at $38.50 on the New York Stock Exchange, well above Slack’s “reference price” of $26. The reference price is part of the direct listing process and is based on recent private trades of the company stock.
The soaring stock traded above $40 for most of the day, pushing Slack’s market value to over $20 billion.
Direct listings remove underwriters — intermediaries who facilitate the process through buying shares from the company and then selling them to the public. Instead, executives, employees and investors sell shares directly to the public via stock exchanges.
Music streaming heavyweight Spotify was the last big company to pursue a direct listing when it went public last year.
Unlike an IPO, Slack isn’t raising additional cash through selling new shares. With more than $800 million in cash on-hand, Slack has a long runway and isn’t in need of cash.
CB Insights has put together a chart showing the biggest winners of Slack’s strong public debut and not surprisingly co-founder Stewart Butterfield made out just fine.