- Slack, which runs a messaging service for businesses, announced Wednesday it has begun offering voice calls on Chrome and desktop.
- The new features came out of Slack's acquisition of the screen-sharing app Screenhero last year. At the time, Slack said it wanted to include voice calls, video calls and screen sharing as part of its capabilities.
- The announcement came the same day reports surfaced that the company is looking to raise $150 million-$300 million in financing, according to Bloomberg. An investment that size would make the company's value at $3.5 billion to $4 billion.
Slack began rolling out the voice service in beta on Wednesday. The company said it intends to see how well the new service scales before conducting a full-scale launch. For now, paying users can voice chat with up to 15 people. Free users can start only one-to-one voice chats.
Part of Slack's appeal is that it is not like the AOL instant messenger that people were comfortable with in the early 2000s. The company takes instant messaging and makes it much more interactive. Users can include images, GIFs and other files while on the service, helping expand collaboration in the workplace. Now, with the expanded features, companies may continue to sign up for the service, changing how they view traditional meetings.
Though venture investments in startups have slumped, down 30% in the last quarter, Slack may prove the exception as investors have continued to express interest in the company, a Slack spokeswoman told Bloomberg. With its fundraising last year, Slack was valued at $2.8 billion.