We’re hearing that the business collaboration company co-founded by Dustin Moskovitz and Justin Rosenstein (both formerly of Facebook) has raised funding from the same investors who backed the popular social networking site. When asked about this, Rosenstein acknowledged that the company has raised money (in the form of convertible notes) from angels, but declined to identify them.
Moskovitz (who co-founded Facebook) and Rosenstein left the Palo Alto, Calif., company back in October, saying they wanted to build tools that would be as transformative and central to people’s collaboration and work lives as Facebook was to social lives. Since then, the pair hasn’t said much publicly about what they’re working on. The company appears to be called Asana, though the Asana website is just a step above nonexistent.
As for the investment, I’m still trying to contact our source to figure out who specifically was involved — we’ve only been told it was the exact same investors as Facebook. Since Rosentein says Asana hasn’t raised any institutional backing yet, individual Facebook investors like Peter Thiel and Reid Hoffman seem like possibilities.
Here’s more from the email Rosenstein sent out last fall outlining his vision for the new company:
But something else exciting happened in the year and a half since I joined Facebook. I started spending a lot of time after work talking to Dustin. Efficiency-through-software was dear to his heart as well, and we would stay up til 3am raving about how shortcut keys and high-level abstractions would Change The World. We shared a passion for technology, for entrepreneurship, and for using them to solve the same set of problems.
As our visions for how productivity software could work came into alignment, we thought about building it inside of Facebook. It was an attractive option in many ways, and neither of us was eager to exit a company that was in such an exciting phase of its development. But at some point it became clear that doing so wouldn’t be good for Facebook or for us. Facebook needs to continue its mission of making the world more open through social software, without distraction, and the new project requires a company built around it from the ground up, with the goals of efficiency and group collaboration embedded deeply into its DNA from day 1. So we’ve decided to leave Facebook (in about a month) and start a new company, to build an extensible enterprise productivity suite, along with a high-level open-source software development toolkit, built for the Web from the ground up.
We see this new venture as very complimentary [sic] to Facebook. We hope our products will become to your work life what Facebook.com is to your social life. Our software will use Facebook Connect as the default option for identity and authentication. Our user interface will adopt many of Facebook’s conventions, creating a seamless and familiar experience for current Facebook users. And if our new development tools turn out to be useful, we hope the Facebook engineering team will come to adopt them.
[Silly-but-obligatory disclosure: Rosenstein and I lived in adjoining dorms during our freshman year in college.]