- Atlassian has acquired Halp, which creates help desk ticketing tools inside Slack.
- Atlassian’s head of product integrations, Steve Goldsmith, said that Halp’s tool is complementary to its existing software and gives it a deeper integration to messasging platforms because it’s built entirely on top of Slack.
- Atlassian also plans to build an integration between Halp and Microsoft Teams to support its customers who are using Teams.
- Atlassian sold its previous messaging apps to Slack in 2018, resulting in a partnership between the two companies that just got even stronger.
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As more and more companies turn to messaging platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams for office-wide communication, Atlassian wants in on the opportunity. That’s why the IT software company announced Tuesday that it’s acquiring Halp, a automated ticketing and answers tool built inside Slack.
Atlassian sees chat messaging replacing email for many types of communication within companies, a trend that the COVID-19 related increase in remote work has accelerated., says Steve Goldsmith, head of product integrations at Atlassian.
“As we look at those two trends — remote work and then move to team-based messaging over the last couple of years — it makes great sense for us to look at a partner like Halp,” Goldsmith told Business Insider.
Neither Atlassian nor Halp disclosed the terms of the deal, but it was likely relatively small: Halp just launched its product in April 2019 and raised a $2 million seed funding round that valued the company at $9.5 million, according to Pitchbook. The startup’s 14 employees will all join Atlassian.
Joining Atlassian helps the Halp team expand the market opportunity for the product in a way it couldn’t have done on its own, said Fletcher Richman, CEO and cofounder of Halp. Additionally, he felt Atlassian’s suite of tools, including ticketing software Jira and collaboration tool Confluence, are complementary to what Halp offers.
“We just saw honestly a ton of alignment in the vision that we both had for where the product was going,” Richman told Business Insider. “Atlassian just has incredible resource for us, whether that its marketing resources, brand resources, or just getting [Halp] in front of its hundreds of thousands of customers. And it also has this incredible suite of other tools that we can pair really nicely with.”
Fitting into Atlassian’s product strategy
Halp’s product creates a ticketing system that allows workers to automatically receive answers to IT or HR questions within Slack.
The tool also integrates with Jira, Atlassian’s most popular product, Jira, which helps engineers track and solve technical bugs, and has a 2-way integration with Confluence, a tool to help companies share and store important information which powers Halp’s automatic question answering, Richman said.
Although Halp only works with Slack right now, Atlassian hopes to build an integration between Halp and other messaging tools like Microsoft Teams, Slack’s biggest rival, because Atlassian has many customers that use that service for internal communication.
Notably, Atlassian itself has previously had its own messaging products that never got the same type of traction as Slack or Microsoft Teams. In 2018, Atlassian sold the intellectual property for messaging apps Stride and Hipchat to Slack and exited the workplace messaging market. As part of the deal, Atlassian made a small, but symbolically important investment in Slack.
Now, instead of competing directly, Atlassian is trying a different approach to capitalize on the popularity of messaging apps: adding tools that complement its existing software.
Deepening Atlassian’s partnership with Slack
In some ways, Atlassian’s move of betting on tools that work on top of Slack gives the chat platform added credibility. One of the Slack’s main selling points has been the fact that it can integrate with almost all the other apps people use to get work done, and in doing so acts like a central hub across an organization.
It also allows businesses of any size — large organizations or startups — to build tools on its platform. Atlassian already integrates Jira, Confluence, and its other tools with Slack, so this deepens the partnership even more.
“Slack needs to really prove that they are a platform,” Richman said. “You want to see really big, successful, tens-of-billions-of-dollar businesses like Atlassian really committing to your platform. That’s how Slack is going to beat Microsoft Teams in the end.”
Brad Armstrong, Slack’s VP of business and corporate development said in a blog post that the company sees “enormous opportunities in building this business together with Atlassian.”
From Goldsmith’s perspective, this deal helps Atlassian address the same types of problems that its other software already does, just in a new way. With so many of Atlassian’s customers using Slack or other messaging tools, they’re often looking for ways to make the tools serve even more purposes.
“We at Atlassian are really excited to see how companies are discovering and adding functionality on top of the investments in products like Slack,” he said. The goal is to make sure Atlassian’s existing products can support that via integrations, and that adding Halp lets users find and start using Atlassian products directly within Slack.