Facebook co-founder sees bright Irish future for new venture

Web Summit: Dustin Moskovitz’s Asana expects more jobs in Ireland

Attendees at the Web Summit in Lisbon.

Attendees at the Web Summit in Lisbon.

 

Asana, the productivity management application established by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, sees a bright future for its Irish operations as it looks to boost international revenues.

The fast-growing productivity management software firm whose other co-founder Justin Rosenstein is famous for creating Facebook’s ‘Like’ button, was established in 2008.

It has raised about $90 million to date with big name investors including Andressen Horowitz, Benchmark Capital and well-known individuals such as PayPal founder Peter Thiel and Mr Moskovitz’s former roommate Mark Zuckerberg.

Asana currently derives about 45 per cent of its revenues from outside the US and is looking to expand on this with the rollout of foreign language versions of the platform.

Last week, it announced French and German editions with Spanish and Portuguese ones to follow shortly.

Presence

The company established an office in Dublin in 2015 which currently employs 17 people. Most of the staff at the Irish operation are employed in customer service and sales-related roles, but the team also has core business capabilities including marketing and engineering

Mr Moskovitz told The Irish Times at the Web Summit in Lisbon that he expects to see further hires in Ireland as Asana increases its presence in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). The platform is currently available in 192 countries worldwide and it has 25,000 paying customers.

“More than 40 per cent of our revenues are now coming from outside the US and sign-ups in Europe are growing four times faster than the rest of the world, he said.

“We really see our market as all knowledge workers of the world and there are about one billion of them so that is who we are targeting,” Mr Moskovitz added.

Asana is essentially an easy-to-use enterprise app that lets people set and track projects and other tasks. The co-founders established the company while working at Facebook to help employees manage their work better.

“We’re really spent a lot of time in terms of design in making what is an enterprise product but one that feels in many ways more like a consumer one,” said Mr Moskovitz.

“We have a great bunch of customers and the list is growing all the time,” he added.

Clients

The company employs about 300 people across San Francisco, New York and Dublin. It customers include Airbnb, Deloitte, Lyft, NASA, GE, Spotify and the New York Times. In Ireland its counts State broadcaster RTE and Bord Bia as among its clients with the team also supporting the likes of Tesco, Sky, Santander and Trivago from Dublin.

Mr Moskovitz was a roommate of Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard and co-founded Facebook with him in 2004.. Now aged 33 years old, Forbes named him as the youngest self-made billionaire in history in 2011 due to his 2.34 per cent share in the social media giant, which floated the following year.

Speaking of the early days of Facebook, Mr Moskovitz said the founders were surprised by its initial uptake at Harvard but after seeing how quickly it grew in popularity there they knew they were on to something.

“It was hard to imagine that there would be two billion users and that it would have the kind of impact it has had though,” he said.