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Facebook co-founders get productive with Asana

Founders want Asana to do for productivity what Facebook did for un-productivity

Financial trends and news by Nathan Pensky
November 2, 2011
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/210c

Online productivity service Asana launched on Wednesday after teasing Web watchers for two years. Asana is a workplace project and information manager, allowing fellow workers to collectively view and update projects in real time on a centralized online platform.

Founded by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and early Facebook employee Justin Rosenstein, a $9 million of funding was announced back in 2009, following a $1.2 million angel fund in the previous spring. The site has been in private Beta since then, with "friends and family" of the site's storied co-founders getting a demo last February. Now finally, the site is open to the public.

So far, Asana has raised $10.2 million in all, from investors Benchmark Capital and Andreessen Horowitz. The site runs on a free model for businesses using teams of 1-30 users, and a paid model for bigger teams will be forthcoming.

So what's Asana all about? While Asana founders hail from the most famous time-suck of the Internet age, their new brain-child is anything but. Asana is not a social network -- it has no chat or status update features -- but rather an enterprise-level productivity platform focused around tasks and groups rather than individual users.

"We built Asana, because we believe that when we reduce the amount of time being in meetings or writing status emails, tracking down updates or doing other kinds of 'work about work,' we not only get things done faster, we also change the nature and scale of the kinds of projects we can take on," the company explains via an intro video.

"[Asana] is a Web application that helps you and your teammates see what you're working on without getting in your way."

Early reports have been positive. So far, the site has been described as appropriately "un-sexy," in that it is geared toward workplace productivity, but powerful in its real-time transparency, flexibility, and simplicity. Also, importantly, the site works fast, with effective shortcuts and no lag time in operation.

And as one would expect from Facebook wunderkinds, Asana is powered by the idealism of its founders. Moskovitz talks about Asana in terms of "a single version of the truth" for businesses, in an interview with BusinessWeek. For Rosenstein, the goal is “that state you get into when you’re working, when you’re doing something creative, where you lose track of time, you forget who you are. You’re just in the zone working on that one thing.”