The Facebook cofounder that warned about ‘polluted’ VC deals has raised million for his own …
San Francisco startup Asana just raised $50 million from a who’s who list of investors.
These include Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan; Y Combinator president Sam Altman; Groupon founder Andrew Mason and Peter Thiel’s VC firm Founder’s Fund, among others.
That’s not surprising considering its cofounders, Dustin Moskovitz (one of Facebook’s cofounders) and Justin Rosenstein (an early Facebook employee), are clearly members of the Silicon Valley elite themselves.
Asana is a project management tool for work teams that competes with the likes of Trello, Wrike and Wunderlist.
While Asana won’t reveal revenues, it says it has 13,000 paying customers, up from 10,000 last September. A few of its high-profile customers include Uber, CBS Interactive and Khan Academy.
Asana is also known for its incredible employee perks in the land of over-the-top employee perks.
For starters, its 190 employees enjoy homemade gourmet food all day long (free breakfast, lunch, dinner) from a professionally trained chef and his “culinary staff.” As one employee on Glassdoor put it, “we have a nutritionist consult, a pastry chef, and nearly everything (from the pickles and smoked fish on the salad bar to the granola and bbq potato chips) are made in-house.”
Plus, employees enjoy on-site yoga classes, a life coach, 12-week parental leave for new moms and dads, and $10,000 to spend on creating an ergonomically correct workstation.
Despite the lavish digs, Asana has not been known as a startup that burns through cash. Quite the opposite: Its last raise was back in 2012 of $28 million, bringing its total raised with this announcement to $88 million.
Interestingly, both Moskovitz and Rosenstein also became first-time investors in their own company, Asana’s spokesperson tells us. “We’re excited to put our money where our mouths are,” they wrote in a blog about the round.
But there’s more to it than that.
When Business Insider’s Biz Carson met with Moskovitz last month, she asked him why he didn’t raise prior to 2016, when money was flowing fast and cheap. Was he just a good CEO, better at managing money than most?
“I don’t know if I would go that far, I mean, keep in mind a lot of these fundraising announcements are polluted,” he said.
He added that a lot of startups were dependent on “these structured deal terms” that “were actually very unfavorable to employees.”
To decode that a little: CEOs were selling huge chunks of equity to VCS along with preferred stock that prioritized their investors should the company sell, but not their employees. (The tale of Good Technology is a case in point. Spotify’s latest $1 billion debt raise has already been characterized by TechCrunch’s Josh Constine as a ‘devilish’ deal.)
On top of that, Moskovitz added, “We do manage our finances. We also have revenue because we’re an enterprise company.”
Other investors in this round include VTF Capital (a fund backed Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh), VC Roger McNamee, Quora cofounder Adam D’Angelo, Eric Ries of Lean Startup fame, and early Facebook employees Ruchi Sanghvi and Aditya Agrawal.