UPDATED 18:55 EDT / DECEMBER 09 2020


Asana stock jumps on first-ever earnings beat

In its first earnings report since going public in September, project management software firm Asana Inc.’s stock got a nice boost today after the company delivered third-quarter financial results that topped Wall Street expectations.

Asana reported a loss before certain costs such as stock compensation of 34 cents per share on revenue of $58.9 million, up 55% from the same period a year ago. Wall Street had called for a loss of 37 cents per share on revenue of $54.1 million.

Investors showed their enthusiasm as Asana’s stock gained more than 14% in after-hours trading.

Asana sells a work management platform that’s used by teams to organize tasks in a centralized visual dashboard to improve coordination among workers. It was founded in 2009 and its software is available as a freemium service, wherein the most basic features are free to use but more advanced tools must be paid for. It claims its tools are used by more than1 million companies worldwide.

The company took the somewhat uncommon route of a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange on Sept. 30, which removes the investment banker underwriters from the equation. With a direct listing, there’s no matching of buyers and sellers the night before as happens in a traditional initial public offering. Instead, the company’s employees and early shareholders list their existing shares for sale directly on the exchange.

Asana’s stock began trading at $27 a share, but despite an initial spike it traded around that price prior to today’s jump.

In its release, Asana said it now has more than 89,000 paying customers for its software. Meanwhile, the number of customers with contract values greater than $5,000 a year stands at 8,938, up 58% from where it was one year ago, a solid sign of the company’s progress.

Asana said its net retention rate, which is a measure of its repeat business, is 115% overall, 125% for those that spend at least $5,000 per year, and 145% for those spending at least $50,000.

“With the acceleration of digital transformation, organizations are reimagining every aspect of business operations to ensure that people can stay engaged, aligned and effective, no matter where they are,” said Asana co-founder and Chief Executive Dustin Moskovitz (pictured).

Asana’s guidance for the next quarter was well-received too. The company is forecasting fourth-quarter revenue of between $62 million and $63 million, well ahead of Wall Street’s forecast of $58 million.

The company also upped its ful-year guidance, saying it now expects total revenue of $220.6 million to $221.6 million, ahead of its earlier forecast of $210 million to $213 million.

Analyst Holger Mueller of Constellation Research Inc. told SiliconANGLE that Asana was doing well in the new way of working, supporting customers that have been forced to adapt to the pandemic world.  “Enterprises still need to get things done and they’re relying more and more on tools like Asana to do it,” Mueller said.

The analyst noted that very few software vendors have been able to meet expectations and then raise guidance again for the next quarter, and said that doing so is a good sign of confidence from Asana’s management team.

“The main concern I see is Asana’s research and development spending, which remains is flat even when excluding stock-based compensation,” Mueller said. “Asana needs to invest into its capabilities to retain its strong position in the market.”

Photo: Web Summit/Flickr

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