Atlassian acquires Trello for $425M, broadening their reach

Trello is a platform, with an ecosystem, not just another tool.

Atlassian is a work technology company, focused on great products to help teams work more effectively, and today they’ve announced the acquisition of Trello, another company dedicated to the same goals. The deal is for $425 million, $360 million in cash, and the rest in stock, and has been widely reported.

Trello is perhaps the best-known example of Kanban work management, a technique originally developed in manufacturing, which has spread broadly into technology-oriented project planning and management. Trello was spun out of Fog Creek Software in 2014, and in May 2016 the company reported more than 1.1 million daily users and 14 million users.

Kanban is a technique for managing work based on ‘boards’ that contain ‘lists’ or ‘cards’, where cards (more or less) represent tasks, and lists are a way to order cards into phases or categories, like ‘to do’, ‘doing’, and ‘done’.

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Trello is a highly intuitive tool, one that starts with the easiness of simple task lists — like Wunderlist, or checklists in Evernote — but has a rich range of capabilities, like plug-ins from third-party tools for customer support, CRM, and other functions. Trello is also integrated into work chat tools, like Slack, and notably, Atlassian’s Hipchat. It’s become a platform, with a rich ecosystem of integrated tools and services.

In recent discussions with Atlassian’s president, Jay Simons, prior to the New Year, he indicated that the company was interested in building on their strengths: an obsession with product, and a deep commitment to team innovation. But they hope to reach beyond the community of technical users most invested in the company’s existing tools — Confluence, Jira, HipChat, and so on — with other tools that might be more accessible to less technical people, over in HR, marketing, and finance.

The acquisition of Trello meets both these goals, since Trello has broad adoption in the developer and tech communities, as well as general acceptance by all walks of life.

I will update this post when I get more in-depth information.

Originally published at

Written by

Founder, Work Futures. Editor, GigaOm. My obsession is the ecology of work, and the anthropology of the future.

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