Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Collaboration Start-Up Atlassian Acquires HipChat

Amid the current craze for enterprise collaboration software, somehow Atlassian had escaped my attention. Ten years old, based in Sydney and San Francisco, backed by a $60 million investment from Accel Partners and sporting annual revenue north of $100 million, Atlassian makes collaboration tools for software developers.

Today, Atlassian will announce that it has acquired HipChat, a maker of a specialized private instant messaging and chat platform aimed at companies. Financial terms are not being disclosed. But it’s pretty apparent the two were made for each other. HipChat has some 1,200 customers, including Groupon, HubSpot and Wired. The plan is pretty simple: Atlassian will incorporate HipChat into its own software. There’s probably a good bit of overlap between them.

HipChat’s three founders — Pete Curley, Garret Heaton and Chris Rivers — are all joining Atlassian. Their history, as described on their Web site, is pretty basic: “We created HipCal. Plaxo liked it so we went to work for them. We created Plaxo Pulse. Comcast liked it, so we went to work for them. HipChat is our current baby.” Now add: “Atlassian liked it, so we went to work for them.”

I talked briefly with Atlassian president Jay Simon yesterday. “None of our tools has a real-time component,” he told me. “They’re all asynchronous. HipChat is going to give us that.”

People often flock to the basic tools, like AOL Instant Messenger or Google Talk, when they need something instant. HipChat does the instant messaging part, but it also has features like chat rooms that remain persistent, which means they don’t blink out of existence when people using them leave. Files can be shared easily, and APIs from other platforms are supported. It’s also secure.

Consider Atlassian a variant on the social enterprise and collaboration trend that’s been rocking the enterprise in recent years, with the appearance of companies like Jive Software, Yammer,’s Chatter and VMWare’s Socialcast, to name a few. Atlassian’s tools (its main one is called Jira) allow teams of software developers to work together, keep track of what each member of a team is doing, squash bugs and do whatever else it is they need to do. And among its 20,000-odd customers are the kind of companies you’d want to be doing business with: Facebook, Twitter, Zynga, Adobe, LinkedIn and Cisco Systems. Pay attention now, because someone is going to buy this company.

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