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November 2018

Asana, a work management platform, lands $ 50 million growth cycle at $ 1.5 billion valuation – TechCrunch

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Asana, a service that teams and individuals use to plan and track the progress of work projects, doubles its own project: shaping “the future of work,” in the words of co-founder and CEO Dustin Moskovitz. The startup, whose products are used by millions of free and paid users, today announces that it has raised an additional $ 50 million – an E Series that catapults Asana to unicorn status with a valuation of 1.5. billion dollars – to invest in international expansion and products. .

Asana is on the hunt for funding: it raised $ 75 million just 11 months ago at a post-currency valuation of $ 900 million, bringing the total this year to $ 125 million and $ 213 million. dollars since its inception in 2008.

Led by Generation Investment Management – the London-based company co-founded by former US Vice President Al Gore who also led this Series D in January – this latest round also includes existing investors 8VC, Benchmark Capital and Founders Fund as well as new investors Lead Edge Capital and the Global Innovation Lab.

Asana has recently focused on international growth – half of its new sales already come from outside the United States – and expanding its product as it nears profitability. These are also the areas where his last investment will go.

Specifically, it plans to open an AWS-based data center in Frankfurt in the first half of next year, and it will expand further into Asia-Pacific, with offices in Sydney and Tokyo. It is also recruiting in both markets. Asana has customers in 195 countries and six languages, and it appears to be focusing on those two regions, because that’s where it’s been the most successful.

On the product side, the company has gradually added machine learning, prediction and other AI functionality and will continue to do so as part of a “long-term vision to marry intelligence. IT and human resources to manage entire companies “.

“Our role is to help leaders understand where their attention can be most useful and what to focus on,” Moskovitz, pictured right with co-founder Justin Rosenstein, told me in an interview earlier this month. here by describing the company’s AI push.

Funding crowns an active year for Asana.

In addition to raising $ 75 million in January, he announced 50,000 paying organizations and “millions” of free users in September. It also introduced new products and features, such as a paid tier, Asana for Business, for large organizations with multiple projects; Timelines for exploring sequential tasks and milestones; and its first steps in AI, services that begin to anticipate what users should see first and prioritize, based on past behavior, the team the user is in, etc.

Asana has been close to profitability this year, although it doesn’t appear to have reached that point yet. Moskovitz told me that in fact, he kept most of his previous funding (that’s before embarking on this next wave of ambitious expansions, though).

“We have so much money in the bank that we have a lot of options [and are in a] strong position, so choose what makes the most strategic sense, ”he said. “We have been lucky with the investors. The most important thing is the adequacy of the vision: do they think about the long term future the same as we do? Do they have the same values ​​and priorities? Generation nailed this on so many levels as a business.

How Asana fits into the mix with Slack, Box, and others

Asana’s growth and mission both reflect trends in the larger world of enterprise IT and the collaboration within it.

Slack, Microsoft Teams, Facebook’s Workplace, and other messaging and chat apps have transformed the way coworkers communicate with each other, both within individual offices and across larger geographies: they’ve replaced e -mails, telephone and other communication channels to some extent.

Meanwhile, the rise of cloud-based services like Microsoft’s Dropbox, Box, Google Cloud, AWS, and Azure has transformed the way people in organizations manage and ultimately collaborate on files: the rise of mobile working. and mobile has increased the need for more flexible file management. and access.

The third area that has received less coverage is work management: as people continue to multitask across multiple projects – spurred in part by the increase in the other two categories of collaboration – they need a platform. which helps them stay organized and on top of everything. This is where Asana is located.

“We think of collaboration as three markets,” Moskovitz said, “file collaboration, messaging and work management. Each of them has a massive surface and depth. We think it’s important that all businesses have the tools they use for each of these big buckets.

It’s not the only one in this big bucket.

Asana alternatives include Airtable, Wrike, Trello, and Basecamp. As we have already pointed out, this competitive pressure is another reason Asana is on the right track to continue to grow and make its service more loyal.

Indeed, just earlier this month, Airtable raised $ 100 million for a valuation of $ 1.1 billion. Airtable takes a different approach – its platform can be used for more than project management – but it is most definitely used to build models precisely to track projects.

You might even argue that Airtable’s existing offering might present some kind of product roadmap for what might be considered next for Asana.

For now, however, Asana is building up large customers for its existing services.

The product first got its start when Moskovitz and Rosenstein, respectively co-founders and first employees of Facebook, created something to help their colleagues on the social network manage their workloads. Now it has a range of users which includes a number of other tech companies as well as others.

The National Gallery in London, for example, uses Asana to plan and launch exhibitions and commercial projects; the digital campaigns of the Tesco supermarket chain; Sony Music, which also uses it for marketing management but also to monitor a project to digitize its back music catalog; Uber, which has managed some 600 city extensions through Asana to date.

“At Generation Investment Management, we are rooted in the philosophy that through strategic investments in leading, mission-driven companies, we can move towards a more sustainable future,” said Colin le Duc, co-founder and partner of Generation Investment Management, in a statement.

“We see Collaborative Work Management as a separate and growing segment, and Asana has the right product and the right team to lead the market. Thanks to Dustin and his team, Asana is changing the way companies around the world collaborate, embodying what it means to deliver results with a mission-driven ethic. “

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Work management tool developed at Facebook is now a $ 900 million business – Quartz at Work

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There is the work, and then there is the work required to do your job. And a lot of workers spend more time on the latter.

Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder of Facebook, came to this realization a few years after the social network he helped Mark Zuckerberg build in a Harvard dormitory grew to the point where the majority of his day was spent on e -mails, status updates, and meetings.

“We lived in the dark ages of collaboration,” he says.

And he was not alone. A 2012 investigation McKinsey found that, on average, workers wasted 61% of their time coordinating their work in meetings, emails and discussions rather than actually Make their work.

Moskovitz thought there had to be a better way. And, in classic Silicon Valley fashion, the best way came in the form of software. Together with Justin Rosenstein, an engineering manager at Facebook, Moskovitz created a task management tool for the engineering department. The tool, called Tasks, quickly spread to the rest of the business.

“Every time you walked through the office, you would see people interacting with this system on three out of four monitors,” Moskovitz said. Recount Lifehacker. “It reminded me a lot of the early days of the Facebook product, when walking through a campus computer lab meant seeing it on every screen. “

When Moskovitz and Rosenstein first created Tasks, they had little intention beyond creating a tool to help Facebook teams manage their work and reduce meetings. But it turns out their invention would lay the groundwork for a bona fide venture that, a decade later, would be valued at $ 900 million.

Asana’s age

In 2008, Moskovitz and Rosenstein left Facebook to launch Asana. The idea was that instead of creating a useful tool for a few thousand Facebook employees, they would hire a team to develop the tool for widespread use.

Asana, as both their product and their company are known, has gone beyond the functionality of the original task tool to become something of a virtual conference room for teams. It’s a one-stop place to coordinate tasks, due dates, comments, and priorities. Today (November 1), the company announced two new features: Portfolios, which give employees insight into how their day-to-day tasks align with company goals, and Workload, which helps employees. managers to connect work to the skills and schedules of different team members.

Asana

Screenshot of the new Portfolios dashboard.

It has been a great year for Asana. In January, the company announcement $ 75 million in Series D financing, led by Generation Investment Management of Al Gore. Asana previously raised funds from a who’s who of Silicon Valley technorati, including Zuckerberg, Sean Parker, Marc Andreessen and Peter Thiel.

Asana pass 50,000 paying customers in September, from 20,000 at the start of 2017. This growth is due in part to the growth of the labor management industry itself. As more and more work is online, the need to manage and document the progress of projects becomes more and more important. Asana’s competitors like Atlassian’s Basecamp and Trello have also had good years.

But the digital trend is not the only driving force behind the rise of this category. More and more companies are hiring freelance and contract workers. While a disorganized collaboration can work quite well when all team members have institutional knowledge of what is going on, the system, as it is, begins to crumble as soon as someone outside of it is team or organization joins. Labor management companies are well positioned to capitalize on the growth of distributed teams, and not just in the software industry.

Moskovitz’s vision for the future of work

In an iconic plaid shirt, Moskovitz, one of the most humble billionaires you can meet, leans back in his chair to reflect on his vision for the future. “For remote working to work well, first of all, we need video conferencing that actually works reliably,” he says, “but we also need something that connotes more emotion.

Emotion can be a strange area of ​​interest for the CEO of an enterprise software company. But for Moskovitz, it’s important that the software doesn’t obscure the people who use it.

“I believe relationships will be more important than ever in the future,” he says. “These new tools aim to help teams clearly understand what is important.

With a net value over $ 10 billion, Moskovitz clearly cares about more than just building another successful software company. It’s working on all the work that goes into our work that counts now.

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