Asana raises $28M to ease workplace collaboration

Nine months after launching, Asana, the startup created by former Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, is picking up $28 million to chase its dream of re-imagining the way workers collaborate on projects. The new Series B funding is led by Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund with participation from existing investors Benchmark Capital, Andreessen-Horowitz, and Mitch Kapor.
Moskovitz, who started Asana in 2009 with Justin Rosenstein, said the funding round was engineered to get more participation from Thiel, who was previously an individual seed investor. Thiel will now join Asana’s board and will help shape the company’s goal in improving the way work teams cooperate and execute together.
Asana captures all the email, documents and notes on projects and keeps them synced for workers, who are notified when changes are made. It’s almost designed to help workers read their co-workers’ mind so they can act quickly and cut down on inefficiency.
Asana took another step toward that goal last month with the introduction of an email tool called Inbox that aggregates only the relevant files and messages about given projects and task lists. Asana has also opened up a paid product in April for companies that have more than 30 employees working on the service.
Asana, which previously raised $10.2 million, is far from the only competitor in this space. Social enterprise services such as Yammer (s msft) and Chatter (s crm) provide collaboration tools and other startups like Producteev along with more established players like Basecamp, also serve this market. But the sector is clearly heating up with the recent $1.2 acquisition of Yammer by Microsoft. Asana is reportedly valued at $280 million after its latest funding though Moskowitz recently said he believes the company could be worth $100 billion if everything goes well.
So far, Asana is off to a solid start. The service is now helping tens of thousands of teams coordinate projects. It is also tracking 18 million tasks, up from 9 million four months ago. The latest funding will go toward hiring more engineers and designers. Moskovitz believes Asana has the ability to not just save some time, but solve bigger world problems and improve the human condition.
“We believe that if Asana can increase an organization’s capacity to achieve its potential by only 1 percent, let alone double or 10x it, that’s a really leveraged opportunity to help the world. It’s still early, but we’re encouraged by the progress we’re seeing,” wrote Moskovitz in a blog post.