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Atlassian, a Software Outlier, Grows Up

Atlassian isn’t your typical cloud software maker. The company started in Australia, a country that hasn’t produced many globally recognized hits in the tech business. And it found success for its products, which enable teams inside companies to work collaboratively on complex projects, by mostly avoiding the pushy sales and discounting tactics used by many software makers.  

Investors know Atlassian though. The company’s shares have more than quintupled since its December 2015 initial public offering, giving the company a market capitalization of $27 billion-plus and outperforming others in the hot software-as-a-service sector. Its profile has grown in part through the efforts of Jay Simons, Atlassian’s U.S.-based president and unofficial ambassador to Silicon Valley for the past 11 years. In a recent interview, Mr. Simons credited much of Atlassian’s growth to word-of-mouth recommendations by employees inside companies who download its software on their own—a model that has also benefited Slack, the business messaging company that Atlassian competed against until recently.  

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