Startups

Asana Reportedly Considering Direct Listing For 2020 Debut

Project management startup Asana is expected to go public next year through a direct listing, according to a report from the Financial Times.

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The company, which was co-founded by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and former Facebook engineering lead Justin Rosenstein, has raised more than $213 million in total funding and was last valued at $1.5 billion, according to Crunchbase.

In a direct listing, there isn’t a capital raise through selling a block of shares to institutional investors before trading starts. Some companies choose to go this route if they don’t need to raise capital and want to save on the large bank fees that come with traditional IPOs. The common sentiment with direct listings is that they’re a good choice for companies with strong brand recognition, as there’s less effort required to convince investors to buy shares.

Direct listings are not a new method of going public by any means, but they have gained more attention recently after two high-profile startups, Spotify and Slack, chose to do direct listings. There have been reports that another well-known startup, Airbnb, will choose a direct listing when it goes public next year as well.

There have been plenty of think-pieces and explanation articles around direct listings (including from Crunchbase News, you can read more here), and this past fall there was a summit on direct listings attended by a group of investors and startup executives.

Asana has hired JP Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley to advise on its public debut, and the company may still choose a traditional IPO, FT reported, citing people briefed on the matter.

Asana last raised money in November 2018, when it pulled in $50 million in its Series E round, which was led by Generation Investment Management. The company counts Founders Fund and Y Combinator among its investors.

Illustration Credit: Li-Anne Dias

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