Tech

Asana, business software company led by Facebook co-founder, files for direct listing

Key Points
  • Asana will have two classes of shares, like Facebook, whose co-founder Dustin Moskovitz is Asana's CEO.
  • The company is eschewing the process of an initial public offering, following in the steps of Spotify.
Asana Co-Founder and CEO Dustin Moskovitz speaks with Wladimir Klitschko (not pictured), CEO of Klitschko Ventures, at Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, on Nov. 8, 2017.
Horacio Villalobos | Corbis News | Getty Images

Asana, a San Francisco company that provides software for tracking group projects, filed paperwork for a direct listing on Monday, six months after announcing it had confidentially filed draft paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Asana plans to join the New York Stock Exchange. The company has not yet finalized its ticker symbol.

It's not just Asana that's looking to get its shares trading now. Telemedicine software company Amwell, data warehouse software company Snowflake and game engine company Unity also filed to debut on public markets on Monday.

Asana was founded in 2008 by Dustin Moskovitz, a co-founder of Facebook, and Justin Rosenstein, a former Google product manager and Facebook engineering manager. Investors include Benchmark Capital, Founders Fund and Generation Investment Management. 

Like Facebook, Asana has two classes of stock, Class A and Class B. The shares being resold in the direct listing are Class A shares, and each is entitled to one vote. Each Class B gets 10 votes. Just as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is the biggest holder of Facebook's powerful Class B shares, Moskovitz (who remains a key Facebook shareholder) has more of Asana's Class B shares than anyone else.

"Mr. Moskovitz could exert substantial influence over matters requiring approval by our stockholders," Asana said in Monday's filing. Moskowitz received total compensation of $1 for the fiscal year that ended on Jan. 31.

The company could have raised money through a more traditional initial public offering but chose a direct listing, which was popularized by Spotify in 2018 and circumvents investment banks in share sales.

Asana is not profitable, though. It produced a $118.6 million net loss on $142.6 million in revenue for the year that ended on Jan. 31. While revenue grew almost 86% in that period, the company's loss more than doubled from $50.9 million in the prior year. For the three months that ended on April 30, the net loss was $35.8 million, again more than double what it was in the same period one year earlier, while revenue was $47.7 million, up about 71%.

Competitors include Atlassian, Google, Microsoft, privately held Monday.com and Smartsheet. Customers include Facebook, GE, Google, Kaiser Permanente and Harvard University. Asana had a $1.5 billion valuation in association with a funding round in 2018.

WATCH: Facebook co-founder created a 'mindful' environment at Asana

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Facebook co-founder created a 'mindful' environment at Asana