Instant Karma Newsletter 8.27.20
  • Amid all the hoopla about the coming tech IPO blitz, project management tech company Asana plans a direct listing IPO and its co-founders pledge to donate all the proceeds to ‘philanthropic purposes.’ 

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Buried beneath the blizzard of tech IPO filings this week — including Palantir, Unity, Snowflake, and, the biggest of them all, Ant Group — was a short statement at the end of a note to potential investors from Asana co-founders Dustin Moscovitz and Justin Rosenstein: “Both of us pledge to use 100% of the value of our Asana equity for philanthropic purposes.”

Yes, that’s right. The co-founders of the project management tech company, last valued at $1.5 billion in 2018, don’t plan to make money from the IPO. In fact, because Asana will go public through direct listing, it will not initially raise any new capital by creating new shares. It will simply sell existing shares.

“Like all companies, we intend to create great returns for our shareholders,” wrote Moscovitz, who co-founded Facebook and is worth $16 billion, according to Bloomberg, and Rosenstein, credited with creating the “like” button. “That outcome, however, is a byproduct and catalyst of our ultimate purpose: the fulfillment of our mission.”

That mission? “Help humanity thrive by enabling the world’s teams to work together effortlessly,” which they see applying to everything “from curing diseases and developing clean energy to building local schools and creating global movements.” 

Asana’s decision is itself part of a global movement, as more companies balance going public with serving the public good. Last month, online insurance company Lemonade issued its IPO as a public benefit corporation, meaning it balances the interests of shareholders with other stakeholders, including its employees and the community it serves.

That hasn’t hurt the stock, which more than doubled its $29 IPO price in its first day of trading and is currently selling around $60 a share.

In Other News: NBA Boycott, Mosquitoes, Asteroids

NBA postpones playoff games after Milwaukee Bucks boycott their game in protest of Kenosha police shooting of Jacob Blake. Africa is finally declared free of polio. Florida will test genetically modified mosquitoes as a pesticide-free solution to controlling the pests. More McDonald’s woes, as the investigation into ex-CEO Steve Easterbrook expands into the fast food giant’s human resources department. Roombas are getting smarter. Don’t worry, that asteroid that may hit Earth around Election Day is too small to do much damage.

Levity Break

We may not see “Tenet” in a real theater any time soon, but we can watch Tom Cruise watch it.