What matters most to open-source chat plat Mattermost? To shove this fresh $20m into security, privacy

Slack: Cute Series A. Check out our proposed public listing...


Slack-for-engineers Mattermost has said it plans to plough its $20m Series-A funding into privacy and security.

Mattermost is open source and, its CEO Ian Tien told The Register, is "by developers for developers" – words that usually strike fear into the heart of UI designers.

However, the messaging platform has proved popular with engineering teams, enamored by access to the code as well as the many, many add-ons published. A quick look at GitHub shows more than a thousand in various stages of development.

The platform has found fans ranging from Uber to the US Department of Defense (DoD), with access to the code as well as the option of self-hosting reassuring to those worried about their messages sitting on the servers of the competition.

team of office workers peers at multiple monitors

Productivity knocks: I've got 99 Slacks, but my work's not done

READ MORE

Tien told El Reg that the attraction of Mattermost was portability, privacy and "to know exactly what it's doing" with data. Such is the joy of open source and why many engineers like the thing.

Office 365 users and their ilk? Not so much. Mattermost, according to Tien, is "really focused on developer use cases".

But let's face it – developers working in an Office 365 shop will find it difficult to persuade higher-ups to drop Teams in favour of an alternative unless that privacy argument becomes irresistible.

That developer focus is reflected in how Mattermost intends to spend the funds, led by Redpoint Ventures. In a thinly veiled swipe at Slack, Tien pointed out to us that with $20m to play with, his outfit had quadrupled what the hipster chat platform managed for its Series A back in 2010.

Slack, of course, would simply give a polite cough and point to its proposed public listing along with the more than $1bn it has hoovered up from investors since those first few rounds.

How do you spend $20m?

First up, as far as Tien is concerned, is to double-down on why enterprises opt for the platform, with the company intent on "extending our lead in high-trust, so there's a lot of custom security, privacy and compliance requirements" and continuing "where we're really strong, in that high-trust world".

Secondly, the gang wants to "empower our community". Mattermost is dependent on those GitHub integrations, with connectors for Jira, GitLab and GitHub proving popular. If a user wants to enjoy the video or audio conferencing that users of its competitors take for granted, then a third-party add-on is needed. So keeping that community up and running is key.

Finally, the team wants to get on the road: "Getting to more open-source events where we can educate people on best practices to leverage our APIs." And, of course, there is the whole marketing thing as Tien looks to snap up users left in the wilderness after the demise competing platforms like "Hipchat server, that Atlassian shut down – there are a lot of those customers out there that have their collaborations hosted and they don't know about us".

As has become the norm in the open-source world, the company's largesse only goes so far. Yes, the core platform is MIT licensed, but Mattermost would really like users to spank some cash for the likes of Enterprise functions such as Active Directory or LDAP single sign-on.

Even with $20m in its pocket, the company assured us that the strategy of letting devs nose around in its code would not be changing any time soon. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading
  • Utility biz Delta-Montrose Electric Association loses billing capability and two decades of records after cyber attack

    All together now - R, A, N, S, O...

    A US utility company based in Colorado was hit by a ransomware attack in November that wiped out two decades' worth of records and knocked out billing systems that won't be restored until next week at the earliest.

    The attack was detailed by the Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) in a post on its website explaining that current customers won't be penalised for being unable to pay their bills because of the incident.

    "We are a victim of a malicious cyber security attack. In the middle of an investigation, that is as far as I’m willing to go," DMEA chief exec Alyssa Clemsen Roberts told a public board meeting, as reported by a local paper.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021