By acquiring the fast-growing project management firm Trello for $425 million, collaboration software provider Atlassian said today that it expects to fill a gap in its own offerings for workplace teams. The deal also brings together two companies with a shared goal: to put their tools into the hands of 100 million users, according to Atlassian.
Atlassian co-founder and co-CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes said Trello's visually based system for managing everything from family projects to Red Cross emergency responses fills a gap between two of Atlassian's tools: JIRA for structured workflows and Confluence for "free-form" collaboration. Trello's key strength is its system for "capturing and adding structure to fluid, fast-forming work," he added.
Launched five years ago, the customer base for Trello's cloud-based collaboration tools nearly doubled over the past year to 19 million users. Atlassian, meanwhile, has also grown rapidly via a series of 18 acquisitions since its founding, with six new additions, including Trello, which is the largest, in a little over two years.
Trello Users Include Google, UN
"Trello will become an important part of the Atlassian portfolio, offering a fun new way for teams to organize the often messy range of information that feeds into great teamwork," Cannon-Brookes wrote in a company blog post today. "Its card system is intuitive, easy to use, and instantly familiar, which has made it extremely popular with teams across marketing, legal, HR, sales and beyond."
Among Trello's wide-ranging customer base are users that include Google, Kickstarter, National Geographic, PayPal, Pixar, the Red Cross, the U.K. government and the United Nations. Developed by Fog Creek Software in 2010, Trello spun out as an independent company in 2014 backed by $10.3 million in venture capital funding.
"As part of Atlassian, Trello will be able to leverage investments in R&D that will enhance the product in meaningful ways," Trello CEO Michael Pryor said today in a post on his company's blog. "Our team will be able to focus on improving the core experience of Trello for all users."
Continuing as Standalone Service
Expected to close by late March, the Atlassian acquisition of Trello is being paid for with around $360 million in cash, with the rest covered through the exchange of shares and share units. Atlassian said Trello will likely continue operating as a "standalone service" after the deal is completed.
Cannon-Brookes said Atlassian will begin working with Trello's product team to help the company speed up its development efforts. Pryor added that Trello's service will also continue integrating its offering with other collaboration tools, including Atlassian's Confluence, JIRA and HipChat.
Acquired by Atlassian in 2012, HipChat is a Web-based service for team chats and instant messaging. The new Trello integrations for Atlassian's services will be available to users through Atlassian's enterprise software marketplace in the near future, according to Cannon-Brookes. Atlassian said it expects to provide additional details about the Trello acquisition when it releases its next quarterly report on Jan. 19.