According to a recent report by Global Industry Analysts, the global market for cloud-based productivity software is expected to grow to $42 billion by 2024 driven by workforce decentralization and the emergence of borderless organizations. Billion Dollar Unicorn Asana is a leading player in the industry.
San Francisco-based Asana was founded in 2008 by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and Google and Facebook alumnus Justin Rosenstein. The two worked together at Facebook where they were working on improving the productivity of employees. After founding Facebook, Moskowitz was appointed Facebook’s Vice President of Engineering where he found himself spending more time trying to manage the growing number of new employees. He discussed these issues with his colleague Rosenstein and decided to come up with ways for teams to collaborate. They built an in-house offering Task that helped Facebook employees break out their project into smaller tasks that were easier to track. In 2008, the two left Facebook to address the project full-time on their own.
They began building work productivity and collaboration tools for organizations and released Asana. Asana is a work management platform that lets teams manage their workflow by breaking projects into tasks. It has been designed to help employees work together by becoming the single place where everyone can see what their colleagues are working on and get progress reports on projects.
Asana was launched as a free service. Today, it still operates a freemium model allowing small teams and individuals to use its basic features of task listing, calendar and project assignment, and schedules for free. In 2012, it launched a paid version of the service which added other premium features. Its subscription ranges from $9.99 per user per month to $19.99 per user per month. Paid for features include abilities like building timelines, portfolios, milestone tracking, and task dependencies. It also offers an enterprise level subscription for bigger organizations.
Asana is currently privately held and does not disclose its financials. Reports suggest that revenues had reached $60-$90 million in 2017. Its ARR in 2018 was $100 million with eight consecutive quarters of accelerating growth. According to market reports, Asana was expected to turn profitable last year and has over 60,000 paid customers and millions of free users.
Asana’s product offering has managed to attract several investors. It has raised $213 million in funding so far from investors including Generation Investment Management, Founders Fund, 8VC, Lead Edge Capital, World Innovation Lab, Benchmark Capital Advisory UK, and Founders Fund. Its last funding round was held in November last year when it raised $50 million at a valuation of $1.5 billion. Its valuation has been growing rapidly considering that an earlier round held in January last year had valued Asana at $900 million.
Asana plans to use the newly acquired funds for international and product expansion. It has opened an office in Sydney in December last year and will be opening its Tokyo office by the end of the year. Within the product innovation, Asana is working on adding machine learning and predictive and other AI capabilities into its product to make it more intelligent for the organizations.
Asana follows an API focused strategy that allows software and scripts to read information from inside Asana, input information from outside Asana, and automatically react when things change. It simplifies repetitive or tedious tasks, chains a process together by responding to changes, creates reports on the state of tasks and projects, syncs with other enterprise software, and customizes Asana for the team’s processes and workflows.
More investigation and analysis of Unicorn companies can be found in my latest Entrepreneur Journeys book, Billion Dollar Unicorns.