By LAURA LOREK
Reporter with Silicon Hills News
Too many managers find themselves bogged down with email and meetings about meetings and very little work is actually getting done, he said.
Asana, a web and mobile software application that allows teams to work together without email, is the solution to improve efficiency and productivity in the workplace, Van Zant said.
Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder of Facebook, and Justin Rosenstein, former Facebook engineer, co-founded Asana to create a better way for teams to collaborate. The three year old startup, based in San Francisco, has raised $38.2 million in four rounds, according to Crunchbase. And in the last few years, Asana has gotten a lot of traction in the marketplace, Van Zant said.
“We have hundreds of thousands of teams across the world using Asana,” Van Zant said. “We’re one of the fastest growing enterprise software companies ever.”
Van Zant, former chief product strategist at SolarWinds, recently returned to Austin to meet with Asana customers and others about its upcoming marketing launch locally.
“We look at the markets where we have a ton of growth and diversity and Austin rises to the top,” Van Zant said.And he’s familiar with the Austin market. Before SolarWinds, Van Zant worked as head of strategy and corporate development at Motive, maker of broadband service management software. And he co-founded BroadJump in 1998 and served as its chief operating officer. He’s also from Texas and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin.
“Asana is the kind of product where word of mouth is how it grows,” Van Zant said. “We want to highlight some of our customers and have them help tell the Asana story. We look at markets where we could do that in a concentrated way. Austin is clearly the market.”
Asana also looked at launching in Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, London, Berlin and other cities, but chose Austin as its first city for a big marketing campaign outside of California.
Austin companies using Asana include WP Engine, SpareFoot, RideScout, Spredfast, ihiji and Umbel.
But it’s not just tech companies using Asana, Van Zant said. The City of Austin is also a customer, he said. And restaurateurs like Chi’Lantro Food Trucks and Elm Restaurant Group, which owns Arro, 24 Diner and Easy Tiger, use it and so does Tiff’s Treats, a cookie delivery service.
“Each of these companies speaks to how diverse the story is,” Van Zant said.
On May 13th, Asana is launching its Austin campaign and plans to do some digital advertising with its customers front and center. Asana also plans to take out ads on billboards on West Fifth and other signage downtown.
And Van Zant will give a talk on accountability at Capital Factory open to the public. Later that day, Asan is hosting a happy hour with tacos and tequila. On May 20th, Asana will provide a free lunch at Chi’Lantro. To find out where the truck will be, Asana asks people to follow its Twitter account. Asana will also host a workshop and provide training to companies interested in using the software. It’s free initially for teams of up to 15 people.
To show how Asana can improve productivity, Van Zant likes to tell the story of Emerald Therapeutics, two biotech researchers from Boston, moved out to the Bay area. They do virus research using robots. They have about 30 people before using Asana and they were spending most of their time managing, Van Zant said. Then they started using Asana and they got back about 75 percent of their time, Van Zant said.
“The same thing is true of your average middle manager inside a company anywhere,” Van Zant said. “You want that person to get back to doing work. Asana becomes the middle manager and handles all of the tedious work about work for you.”
Asana also integrates with all kinds of email systems, Dropbox, Box, Google Docs and other tools.
Editor’s note: Asana is a digital advertiser with Silicon Hills News