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Could Discord’s Rumored IPO Make It a True Slack Competitor?


Slack and Discord are two of the leading chat communication tools on the market. While their functionality is similar, Slack is viewed as a business app and Discord as a gaming app.

This is no accident, as each company has targeted those specific niches with their respective branding, marketing, and features. For example, discord has better audio and video for gaming and general community building. Slack has better text chat and security features for business.

With an initial public offering (IPO) heavily rumored for 2022, Discord is already slowly beginning to challenge Slack for its business market share.

Discord’s Finances: From Good to Great

Even without a large piece of the business market, Discord has performed exceptionally well over the past decade.

discord funding rounds chart
Source: Crunchbase

According to Crunchbase’s funding history, the company has been through fourteen financing rounds, beginning with $1.1M in seed financing in 2012. Its latest round in September 2021 raised a cool $500M against an overall company valuation of $14.5B.

Given that Discord has turned down numerous acquisition offers, including walking away from a rumored $10 billion pitch from Microsoft in 2021, the company is on everyone’s list of IPOs to watch for in 2022.

Discord Is Already Closing the Gap on Business Features

There are a few reasons why Slack has traditionally been the clear choice for business teams. You can check out our in-depth Slack v. Discord comparison, but Slack’s advantage in app integrations has been at the top of that list.


Where Slack officially integrates with thousands of apps, Discord has only offered integration through third-party bots. In a big November 2021 post, Discord announced its plans for app discovery. The release indicated that around 12,000 apps would be discoverable in Spring 2022 as a starting point.

Slack’s second clear advantage over Discord has been its ability to handle text-based communications cleanly. Discord, though, is making up ground.

In August 2021, Discord finally introduced threaded messages, significantly improving message-based communication. In addition to cleaning up servers filled with thousands of random messages, this feature allowed users to archive and retain their messages. Previously, users could not save Discord chat messages conveniently through the app.

With big improvements in text communication and app integration, Discord is already closing the gap on Slack when it comes to business-friendly features.

Looking Ahead to a Discord IPO and Beyond

If Discord goes public in 2022, it’s hard to imagine shareholder pressure won’t steer the company towards a bigger slice of the business market share. Shareholders want revenue, and the business market is a large, primarily-untapped revenue pool.

What that might look like, however, is hard to predict. If Discord founders Stan and Jason Citron continue to wield influence, it seems unlikely the company will get there by repositioning itself in traditionally corporate ways.

The language around the 2021 rebranding (“inclusive” and “welcoming”) and the way it has engaged companies like New Era and Chipotle should offer clues about how the company is likely to court business clients in the future.

Chipotle used Discord to host a virtual hiring event in May 2021, which saw thousands of jobseekers join the Chipotle Discord servers, resulting in a reported 24,000 applications in one week. New Era uses its Discord servers as a place for fans to talk about their gear and sports in general, giving the brand direct access to their customers.

Authentic Customer Experiences on Top of Business Functionality

Features like message threads and app integrations provide functional tools for in-house business communications, but the Chipotle and New Era experiences point to an additional edge Discord offers. The platform is fresh, giving brands an authentic means of connecting with younger, tech-savvy demographics.

This isn’t just about already tech-savvy companies like NewEgg, who have over 200,000 members on its Discord server. It’s about companies like Jack-In-The-Box using Discord to bring over 7,000 users to a virtual concert during San Diego’s Comic-Con in 2021.

Will a Rumored Discord IPO in 2022 Lead to More Business-Friendly Features?

It seems likely.

Discord has been slowly adding features that close the gap between its offering and Slack’s. However, if the company does go public, it will likely feel increased internal pressure to grow revenue.

And if Discord is searching for more revenue, where better to look than the business market and Slack’s enormous market share?

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