Asana, an enterprise app that lets people set and track projects and other goals, has hit a goal of its own: today, the company is announcing that it has raised $50 million. The Series C round — led by Y-Combinator’s Sam Altman — values the company at $600 million, the company tells me.
Co-founded in 2009 by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and early FB employee Justin Rosenstein out of the belief, in their own words, that “every team in the world is capable of accomplishing bigger goals, and that software could help empower them to drive work forward with more ease, clarity, and accountability,” the company will be using the funds to continue building out Asana’s functionality (more on that below) and also expand its customer base internationally (it’s largely a US-based list of clients today).
Asana today has 13,000 paying businesses as customers, up from 10,000 in September, and over 140,000 businesses using the product overall adding some 10,000 every month. The company has both free and premium tiers, with the latter charged at $8.33 per member per month for groups above 15, and for more features.
Moskovitz and Rosenstein say that for the past four years, annual recurring revenue has been “more than doubling”, and that the company is on track to profitability in the next few years. “This fundraising is the fuel we need to get to the next stage, and to accelerate the fulfillment of our mission,” the founders note.
In addition to Altman (who said he has wanted to invest in the company “for a long time”) this round includes a long list of other very high-profile backers — a testament both to the founders’ own pedigrees but also Asana’s place as one of the more respected and used startups in the productivity/enterprise apps space.
They include 8VC (Joe Lonsdale’s new VC firm post Formation 8); Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund (which led Asana’s Series B); Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan (respectively CEOs of Facebook and The Primary School); Tony Hsieh (Zappos’ CEO and Vegas visionary); Andrew Mason (Detour CEO and Groupon co-founder); Adam D’Angelo of Quora; Aditya Agarwal and Ruchi Sanghvi; Eric Ries (Lean Startup author); Roger McNamee (Elevation Partners’ founder); and Moskovitz and Rosenstein themselves.
The two point out that these investors’ businesses are Asana users, and the individuals use it, too, with some funny side notes. Dropbox VP Aditya Agarwal and Dropbox alum Ruchi Sanghvi “use Asana to manage their domesticity”; and Mason’s fervour, meanwhile, is so strong that he “makes us look lukewarn on this whole Asana thing.”
As more businesses move their work processes online — creating documents and other data in apps like Quip or Google Docs or Microsoft through; communicating with each other (think Slack or Yammer) — productivity apps are having a moment right now. Just last week, BetterWorks — another platform that helps workers set and manage tasks and goals — announced a Series B of $20 million.
Indeed, in addition to BetterWorks and Asana itself, there are others like Basecamp, Wrike and Trello all offering ways to boost productivity and help organize so-called knowledge workers (essentially, those tied to keyboards or screens to get their jobs done). That makes for a competitive landscape but also a sign of how there is a ripe opportunity to do more.
For its part, Asana has been testing a beta of a product called Track Anything, which sounds like a dashboard-style product that will let people automatically signal to colleagues jobs for completing tasks without them having to do the legwork. In a working world where we are forever multitasking and may be more intent on getting things done rather than ticking and updating progress reports to let people know that we have, adding in automation seems to be an essential development. This is a challenge that others are tackling, too. BetterWorks is building integrations with whatever software use most, which in turn communicates our progress on a task in the background.