To fix that problem, he’s spent the last ten years building a $1.5-billion-dollar company focused on rethinking work management. As the startup has built tools to help workers better focus their time, Asana’s 500 employees have taken a dramatic step to prove out the company’s strategy: They’ve ditched internal email.
Yes, the outside world can still send Asana staff email messages, but employees don’t send them amongst themselves, Moskovitz explained Monday night at the Forbes CIO Summit in Half Moon Bay, California.
“It’s just very natural for everyone to be organizing their conversations around the actual work,” Moskovitz said. “Most of the time, when you’re having an email thread with your coworkers, it’s really about some project that you’re working on, or some action items or goals. In Asana, that’s all organized in ‘projects’ or ‘tasks’ and each of those can have conversation threads around them. So our conversations happen there.”
While not every enterprise may be ready to banish email entirely, more than 60,000 paying organizations, from Uber to Air France, have subscribed to Asana’s organizational ethos. The company recently crossed the $100 million annual recurring revenue (ARR) threshold, with customer surveys showing that the product makes knowledge workers 45% more effective at their jobs. Ultimately, Moskovitz sees Asana as a tool to give people more control over their days.
“The thing about your email inbox is that it’s a task list, but it’s organized by everyone else,” Moskovitz said. “So you develop these behaviors where you’re scanning through the first few pages trying to figure out what you’re actually supposed to put your attention on.”
The company is on the verge of releasing a new tool for managers, too. The upcoming “Workload” product is aimed at helping leaders understand what tasks employees are taking on, so they can help balance duties across a team.
Despite its $213 million in total funding and a $1.5 billion valuation, Asana is still much smaller than public company competitors like developer-focused Atlassian ($26 billion market cap) and SmartSheet ($4 billion market cap), not to mention deep-pocketed rival Airtable. But Moskovitz brushed aside any competitive fears.
“We think about our total market as all the knowledge workers worldwide—that’s about a billion people—and today only a couple percentage are either using us or any product in our category,” he said. “There’s still this huge opportunity.”