Careers at Asana
Asana develops online task and project management software solutions that aim to foster more efficient workflow and collaboration among team members and within organisations.
Asana was co-founded and developed by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz (“Moskovitz”) and former Facebook engineer Justin Rosenstein (“Rosenstein”). According to accounts of the Company’s establishment, during his time as Facebook’s Vice President of Engineering, Moskovitz became frustrated with the amount of time he was required to spend managing new employees. After sharing his frustrations with Rosenstein, Moskovitz designed a program that helped Facebook employees build apps. He later added productivity tools to the program, which served as a precursor to the Asana software of today.
Moskovitz and Rosenstein left Facebook in 2008 in order to devote more time to the development of collaborative workflow solutions, and began creating productivity tools for various companies and non-profits. The Asana platform was officially released out of beta in 2011, following which it began to attract funding from a number of angel investors. In an initial investment round the Company secured $1.2 million in funding from investors, including from venture capitalist Peter Thiel – who now sits on the Company’s board, tech entrepreneur Sean Parker and former Facebook Director of Mobile Jed Stremel. To date, Asana has received a total of $38.2 million in equity funding from 18 individual investors, the most recent round in 2012 accounting for approximately $28 million.
Benefits at Asana
Business model of Asana
Asana’s products are targeted primarily at businesses of all sizes – including start-up companies, local businesses and non-profits – where teams are required to work collaboratively on projects and are often inundated with emails and meeting requests. The Asana platform is designed to streamline this process and enable to team members to work together more efficiently. In 2015 the Company announced that more than 140,000 companies were using Asana software and that a further 10,000 companies were being registered each month.
Initially, Asana was utilised by smaller companies or teams within larger organisations; however its expansion has seen it acquire high-profile clients largely within the technology industry – including Airbnb, Uber, Dropbox and Pinterest. The Company also includes banking group Santander and US space agency NASA among its customers.
Secondary customers of the platform are those that use the service to track personal projects, as well as independent contractors and consultants, as well as university students. These users, however, are less likely to opt for a paid-for premium package.
The most significant value proposition offered by Asana is that its product streamlines and simplifies the workflow between team members, allowing workers to more efficiently use their time and increase team productivity.
This is supplemented by its accessibility, both through web browser and mobile apps, allowing team members to track tasks at all times. That the platform offers a basic no-cost plan is also attractive to users that work independently or on one-off projects.
Asana is available in-browser and is compatible with the latest versions of the four leading internet browsers: Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari for Mac, and Internet Explorer. The platform can also be accessed via Google Play and Apple iOS apps. Using a company email account automatically connects a user to other users within the same organisation.
The Asana platform is largely self-service, with users afforded the necessary guidance and tools once they have been registered. The Company, however, does provide online troubleshooting guides, tutorials and FAQs, as well as contact forms for more complex queries.
Where organisations require a tailored service Asana is able to discuss options directly with customers to find the product that best fits their needs.
Asana develops and maintains a software-as-a-service product that enables its users to track and manage collaborative projects and tasks in one place, removing the need for email.
The platform includes an inbox, a calendar, project and task-specific conversations, due dates and times, and file management tools. In 2013 Asana launched its Organisations service, which allows companies to employ the Asana platform across the entire organisation.
Asana’s key partners are its other technology companies. In 2012 it released its application programming interface to third-party developers. It has since established partnerships with a number of firms that have integrated their own productivity functionality into the Asana platform.
These products include prominent names such as Evernote, Dropbox, Slack, Github and Google Drive. In 2013 Asana entered a partnership with Harvest, which provides time-tracking solutions, in order to allow its users to track how much time is being spent on individual projects and tasks.
The reliability and utility of Asana’s technology is paramount to its success as a productivity tool. This means that its server space, software and developers are its key resources. The Company’s personnel more broadly are a key resource, as are its financial backers.
Asana’s main costs come in the form of technology maintenance and development, sales and marketing. Technology costs include renting server space and maintaining the reliability of the platform.
In addition the Company incurs typical operating costs relating to personnel and office space, including its headquarters in San Francisco, California and satellite offices in New York, New York and Dublin, Ireland.
While a basic version of the Asana platform can be accessed free of charge, to access its full suite of features users must sign up for a premium package. Prices for this offering are around $8.33 per user per month. For larger or more complex teams, Asana deals directly with customers to identify the best solution. Prices estimates for this service are not disclosed on the Company’s website; however, bespoke services like this are likely to be more costly.
While Asana does not publish its financial statements, it has claimed in the press that its annual recurring revenue runs into the tens of millions of dollars. In 2015 it announced that it had expanded its revenue by 230% over the past year.
info: Dustin Moskovitz, born and raised in Florida, is a tech billionaire with an estimated net-worth of more than $9 billion. In addition to his role as Asana CEO, he sits on the board of artificial intelligence company Vicarious FPC in which his philanthropic foundation Good Ventures is also an investor. The bulk of Moskovitz’s wealth is attributed to his stake in Facebook, which he co-founded alongside Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Severin, Andrew McCollum and Chris Hughes in 2004. He left his role as Facebook’s Vice President of Engineering in 2008, and with his focus now on Asana has allowed Zuckerberg to vote with his Facebook shares. Moskovitz is a member of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet’s Giving Pledge, under which he has committed to distribute the majority of his wealth to philanthropic causes.
info: Justin Rosenstein, a software programmer, grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to his role as Chief Product Officer at Asana he is also the founder of non-profit organisation One Project, through which he promotes the concept of using technology for social good. Rosenstein dropped out of a Computer Science course at Stanford in 2004 to join Google as a product manager. He left Google in 2007 to join to Facebook as an engineering lead, where he met his business partner Moskovitz. Like Moskovitz, Rosenstein has committed to the Giving Pledge and agreed to divulge more than half of his wealth to charitable causes.
info: Chris Farinacci was appointed Asana’s Head of Business in 2015. He also sits on the board of event management website SmartCrowdz and serves as a strategic advisor to crowdfunding website KidBacker. Farinacci joined Asana after a four year spell as Senior Director for Marketing for Google for Work and Google for Education at Google. He has previously held a number of senior executive roles at high-profile companies, including environmental solutions provider Hara, IT company Oracle and software developer Agile Software.
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