Although it’s primarily a workplace collaboration tool, Slack is becoming a popular platform for wider communities, too.
For example, #Nomads has received attention for connecting digitally minded people visiting unfamiliar cities. #Startup, meanwhile, is a growing platform for startup founders who want to exchange information and experiences.
Instigated by the Netherlands-based Startup Foundation, #Startup is a collection of 27 Slack channels covering everything from Lean Startup methodology to legal topics and reading recommendations. With around 1,500 members, the channels are lively with plenty of questions, answers and debates flying around.
In order to help filter out spam and irrelevant members, people who wanted to join #Startup were initially judged for membership based on their motivations for joining. Alternatively, they could pay a one-off $20 fee for access. Following #Startup’s recent exposure on sites like Reddit and Product Hunt, the admins were forced to make the $20 fee compulsory.
“We want to limit the number of daily new members so we don’t have to add hundreds per day,” says Startup Foundation chairman (and former TNW-er) Leon Pals. “We don’t want #Startup to be exclusive, but we do want engaged members that are motivated to create a valuable community.”
While the fee was mainly intended as a filtering mechanism to stop too many ‘wantrepreneurs’ getting in, Pals says that it’s potentially stopped the Startup Foundation having to take external investment.
“We had a seed investment offered before all of this (still standing), for developing a social network for founders. We would have to set up a for-profit and give up 6 percent (equity). Now that all of this happened, we are not so sure if we should take the money, as #startup is practically close to generating that seed amount.”
With groups like #Startup and #Nomads proving hits, we have to wonder if Slack will directly address this use case with dedicated features, or just view it as an interesting ‘hack’ on top of the product’s intended purpose.