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Asana may gear up for a direct listing IPO - see the data driving the workforce management space

3 weeks ago by Jon Marino in IPO

A recent report in The Information says workforce management startup Asana ($ASANA) is heading for public markets, not in the form of an IPO - but in a direct listing as Slack ($NASDAQ:WORK) did in 2019. The two companies are comparable given their target markets and workforce management positions.

A quick comparison shows that Slack is gearing up hiring more than Asana, which might be worrisome to potential investors scouting it out. So far in 2020, Slack job postings have grown 26%, to Asana's 6% increase. 

The next chart above serves as an example of what happens to startups when a major legacy player decides to enter a space - Microsoft ($NASDAQ:MSFT) introduced its Teams product in 2016, aimed at providing messaging and communications services to growing companies. And in the time since, thanks to its jumbo ad budget, rep and scale, Microsoft has accumulated a staggering advantage in terms of getting before consumers in the Apple Store, where our data originates. The chart above shows that, while Slack and Asana have been scaling up at a similar pace, Microsoft Teams is getting a lot more attention.

And, perhaps equally frustrating for Asana, it's beginning to lose just a little ground to Slack, too - which our last chart tracks. This is a snapshot of the last 10 months for Slack and Asana - and, somewhat amazingly, is the exact same data reflected and dwarfed by Microsoft's enormous engagement. 

Slack has added more than 2,000 reviews in the Apple ($NASDAQ:AAPL) Store, to a little under 1,800 for Asana, signaling that it's doing just a little bit more to engage consumers and earn reviews. That's where the good news for Slack ends. 

On the other hand, at an Apple Store rating of 4.5-out-of-5 (not shown), Asana's product is still better liked than Slack's - turning the tables, a little bit. 

But everyone should be terrified of Microsoft, it looks like. 

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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Jon Marino

Jon Marino is Thinknum's finance editor, covering the impacts of alternative data on public companies and investors. Prior to joining Thinknum, Jon worked in the ...

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