Atlassian and Trello

Atlassian Acquires Trello – Both Companies Happy With Union

Atlassian, a software company known for its Confluence and JIRA packages, has recently acquired Trello, a dynamic startup company with a user base of about 19 million, for about $425 million. The company was launched five years ago at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco and has developed a respected project management tool used by a wide variety of clients including employees at National Geographic, Pixar, Adobe Systems, the UK government, the UN, and the Red Cross. Their product portfolio includes Asana, Wrike, and Microsoft Planner and provides workers a way to co-create and edit documents and to keep track of projects without having to reference e-mail threads.

The acquisition was divided into an upfront payment of approximately $360 million with the remaining $65 million being accounted for in restricted Atlassian shares.  Atlassian has been growing quickly since it became a public company two years ago. In the last fiscal year it reported revenue of $457 million which was a 43% increase on the preceding year.

The President of Atlassian, Jay Simmons, mentioned in an interview that the companies complimented each other and that Trello’s products could be molded and adapted to suit any individual or group of individuals and any company whatever its size.  

Atlassian’s Confluence allows users to combine a wide variety of file types into shared, synchronized pages. Their JIRA tool is a workflow tracking tool which can be adapted for technical support and applications, and non-technical business use.  Simmons envisions a fit for Trello in between the Confluence and JIRA packages. He also plans to launch a new version of the Trello product besides its HipChat group chat product and will create additional linkages between Trello and Atlassian’s own products.

Trello will simultaneously continue to operate as a separate product offering. Once of the main points that helped seal the acquisition was that one of the co-CEO’s of Atlassian, Mike Cannon-Brookes, had expressed to Trello CEO Mike Pryor his vision of helping Trello to speed up their product development and not slow them down as well as his willingness to let Trello keep going as a standalone product.

The acquisition will result in Trello’s 100 or so employees being brought on board to join the 1,800 already with Atlassian. Atlassian has a history of 17 acquisitions behind it with an impressive track record of integrating them into its own product portfolio. The signs look good for this union as the companies appear to have a commonality of interests and vision for the future, both in terms of their products and their working culture.