Friday, May 8, 2015

Atlassian Acquires Team Chat Service “Hall” To Bring More Non-Technical Users To HipChat

Atlassian, the company behind developer services like JIRA and Confluence, as well as the group chat tool HipChat, today announced that it has acquired Hall, a group chat service for businesses. The company will shut down Hall on June 30th, but current Hall users can now migrate their users, messages and files to HipChat.
Even though Atlassian has historically been focused on developers, the company has recently seen increased interest in its tools from businesses that aren’t traditionally development shops. Indeed, as the company disclosed today, HipChat usage by non-technical teams increased by more than 50 percent in the last six months.
With Hall, the company is acquiring new users in financial services, real estate, professional services and similar industries where Hall found its niche since its launch in 2011. It’s worth noting that it’s unclear how many users Hall currently has. Back in 2013, after Hall raised a $5.5 million Series A round, the company reported that it had signed up over 20,000 businesses, but it has been pretty quiet around Hall ever since. Current customers include Amazon.com. JCPenny, VH1, Intuit and Zynga.
As Atlassian’s vice president and general manager of its Collaboration business Bernardo de Albergaria tells me, the acquisition was motivated by both a desire to acquire new non-technical users (and that surely is motivated by the current hype are HipChat competitor Slack), as well as bringing Hall’s technical talent and their focus on non-technical teams into the HipChat fold.
“On the technical side, the Hall team built a product with great design and functionality and we’re excited to have the minds behind that experience now focused on HipChat,” de Albergaria said. “Equally important was their strength in building a service that considered the nuanced needs of general business teams, which is an important audience for us. We’re seeing a lot of growth with non-technical teams and bringing Hall into the fold will put us in a better position to serve that market.”
Both HipChat and Hall currently offer free starter plans for an unlimited number of users in a given team. For advanced features Hall currently charges $4 per user/month while HipChat’s plans start at $2 per user/month. Unlike Hall, though, HipChat offers more advanced features like video chat and screen sharing.
Hall’s investors include Felicis Ventures, PivotNorth Capital, Signia, 500 Startups and AngelPad, where Hall was incubated. The company raised a total of $6.1 million. The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

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