$1.5bn start-up Asana reportedly to go public next year with direct listing

9 Dec 2019

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Asana may follow in the footsteps of Spotify and Slack in opting for a direct listing to take the company public next year.

Asana, a productivity software company headed up by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, is due to go public next year.

With a current valuation of $1.5bn, the event is sure to attract massive attention in the business world, yet it will also be notable because of how the stocks will be brought to market. Reportedly, Asana is looking at a direct listing, as Financial Times’ Miles Kruppa reported on Friday (6 December).

Direct listings becoming popular

A direct listing is distinct from an IPO in that it is not underwritten by investment banks in the lead-up, nor does it involve an investor roadshow.

Instead, direct listings are price by the market itself and are assigned an ‘initial reference price’. It’s a more streamlined process and, therefore, generally involves fewer bank fees.

The approach is becoming very popular in Silicon Valley, and notable previous case studies in this approach include Slack’s direct listing in June 2019 and Spotify’s listing in 2018. In both cases, increased transparency was identified as one of the primary motivations for opting for this method of going public.

Accommodation platform Airbnb has also reportedly been considering a direct listing. It announced in September 2019 plans to go public next year.

Asana in Ireland

After raising $50m in a Series E funding round led by Al Gore’s sustainable investment firm Generation, Asana was valued at $1.5bn in early 2019.

Asana set up shop in Dublin in 2015, initially setting out to hire 30 people over the following two years. Its current headcount in Dublin stands at around 100, out of a total global headcount of 600.

Half of Asana’s customers are based in the EU, making Ireland’s position within it as a serious competitive advantage.

Recently, Asana CPO Alex Hood noted that the company intends to grow its numbers in all its international hubs in the coming year, Dublin included.

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic