Daniel Stewart Butterfield (born Dharma Jeremy Butterfield) was born on March 21, 1973. He is a Canadian billionaire businessman, best known for co-founding the photo-sharing website known as Flickr and the team-messaging app Slack.
Stewart Butterfield was born in 1973 in Lund, British Columbia to Norma and David Butterfield. For the first five years of his life, he grew up in a log cabin without running water or electricity. His family lived in a remote commune after his father fled the US to avoid being drafted for the Vietnam War.
His family later moved to Victoria when Butterfield when he was only five years old. As a child, Butterfield taught himself how to code and changed his name to Stewart at the age of 12.
Butterfield was educated at St. Michaels University School in Victoria, British Columbia, and made money during university by designing websites. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from the University of Victoria in 1996, going on to earn a Master of Philosophy from Clare College, Cambridge in 1998.
In 2000, Stewart Butterfield worked with Jason Classon to build a startup called Gradfinder.com. Following Gradfinder.com’s acquisition, he worked as a freelance web designer. Butterfield also created a contest that he called the 5k competition, centered on people with the ability to design websites under 5 kilobytes.
In the summer of 2002, he co-founded the company Ludicorp with Caterina Fake and Jason Classon in Vancouver. Ludicorp initially developed a massively multiplayer online role-playing game called Game Neverending. However, after the game failed to launch, the company started a photo-sharing website called Flickr. In March 2005, Ludicorp was acquired by Yahoo!, where Butterfield continued as the General Manager of Flickr until he left Yahoo! On July 12, 2008.
In 2009, Butterfield went on to co-found a new company called Tiny Speck. Tiny Speck launched its first project, the massively multiplayer game Glitch. Glitch was later closed due to its failure to attract a sufficient audience. The game world closed down on December 9, 2012, but the website remained operational. In January 2013, the company announced it would make the most of the game’s art available under a creative commons license.
In August 2013, Butterfield announced the release of Slack, an instant-message-based team communication tool built by Tiny Speck while they were working on Glitch. After its public release in February 2014, the tool grew at a risk rate of 5 to 10 percent, with more than 120,000 daily users registered in the first week of August. In early 2014, the data for Slack’s first six-month usage period showed that almost 16,000 users were registered without any advertising.
That same year, Butterfield was able to secure an office for Slack employees in San Francisco and expected to commence recruitment during the second half of the year. In December 2015, Slack raised $340 million in venture capital and had more than 3 million daily users. 570,000 were paid customers.
Slack was named Inc. Magazine’s 2015 Company of the Year.
In June 2019, the company announced its initial public offering with an opening price of $38.50 and a market capitalization of $21.4 billion.
In December 2020, Salesforce confirmed plans to buy Slack for $27.7 billion.
Butterfield was originally married to Caterina Fake, his Flickr co-founder between 2001-2007. They have one daughter together, who was born in 2007. In May 2019, he was engaged to Jennifer Rubio, co-founder of Away Luggage.