The lives of Asana founders Dustin Moskovitz and Justin Rosenstein, from the early days of Facebook to building a billion-dollar startup
- Asana announced on Monday that it filed its S-1, the first step toward becoming a publicly traded company.
- The team productivity software company was started by Dustin Moskovitz and Justin Rosenstein, who both left Facebook in 2008.
- The cofounders worked with Silicon Valley elite at Facebook before starting Asana, which became a unicorn in 2018.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Asana was cofounded by Dustin Moskovitz and Justin Rosenstein, who both worked at Facebook before leaving in 2008 to start Asana. Moskovitz, who is now CEO of Asana, is also a cofounder of Facebook. Rosenstein is credited with creating the "like" button.
In 2019, Asana announced that it had reached $100 million in annual revenue, and it was focused on growing in international markets. A year earlier, in December 2018, it was valued at $1.5 billion after raising a $50 million Series E funding round.
TechCrunch reported that Asana will go public with a direct listing, which Business Insider reported as a possibility last year. A direct listing allows a firm to put shares on the public market without fundraising, which usually means lower bank fees. Slack and Spotify both used direct listings when they went public.
Keep reading to learn about how Moskovitz and Rosenstein went from Facebook employees to the cofounders of a billion-dollar startup.
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Dustin Moscovitz was born and raised in Florida.
He was future Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's roommate at Harvard. According to a story Zuckerberg told in 2005, Moskovitz, a computer science major, learned a programming language over only a few days to help build up Facebook and expand it to other schools.
Moskovitz dropped out of Harvard and moved to Palo Alto with Zuckerberg to work for Facebook, where he became the company's first chief technology officer.
After three years, in 2008, Moskovitz left Facebook to start Asana.
In 2011, Moskovitz became the youngest self-made billionaire, because he's eight days younger than Zuckerberg. He's worth $13.3 billion today, according to Bloomberg.
Moskovitz and his wife Cari Tuna signed Bill Gates' Giving Pledge, agreeing to donate half of their wealth over their lives or in their wills. They cofounded the Good Ventures Foundation in 2011, which donates hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
Justin Rosenstein graduated from Stanford University with a math degree in 2004 before working at Google as a product manager for three years. He worked on a project that would later become Google Drive, and wrote the initial GChat prototype.
As an engineer at Facebook, where he worked for about a year between 2007 and 2008, Rosenstein created the "like" button. He's said it was "wildly" successful and led to large upticks in engagement.
He's since spoken out against social media and the like button that he created, which he called "bright dings of pseudo-pleasure." In 2017, he told The Guardian that he sees a case for regulating "psychologically manipulative advertising," or "we will go rapidly into dystopia."
Rosenstein has also signed onto the Giving Pledge, and started the nonprofit OneProject to "help humanity thrive."
In 2008, Moskovitz and Rosenstein launched digital management platform Asana.
Not everyone was impressed with Asana at first. In 2011, Business Insider called it "ridiculous" and Bloomberg said it was "ClubMed for coders."
By 2016, after three rounds of funding, Asana was valued at $600 million with high-profile investors including Zuckerberg, Sam Altman, and Peter Thiel's Founder's Fund.
In 2018, Asana officially became a unicorn with a $1.5 billion valuation after its Series E funding round. By that point, it had raised over $200 million in funding.
On Monday, Asana announced that it had filed its S-1 and plans to enter the public markets via a direct listing.
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