Peter Thiel, the outspoken Silicon Valley investor, often complains about the lack of technological endeavors seeking to change the world by solving its biggest problems.

So his latest investment goes toward tackling what he apparently thinks is one of the world’s most pressing problems: wasted time.

Mr. Thiel’s investment fund, Founders Fund, has invested in Asana, the workplace collaboration service started by a Facebook founder. Founders Fund and Asana’s existing investors are putting $28 million into the company. The investors valued the company at $280 million, according to someone briefed on the funding.

“It fits within his thesis of doing things that are incredibly ambitious and have the capacity to change the world,” said Justin Rosenstein, an Asana co-founder. “If we can increase the efficiency of all projects on earth that people are working on by 5 percent, that’s a huge improvement.”

How does it plan to do that? The idea is to help people quickly and easily manage projects with groups, through such means as creating to-do lists and assigning tasks. Asana’s founders, Mr. Rosenstein and Dustin Moskovitz, say its competitors are e-mail chains, in-person meetings and whiteboards.

But it also has plenty of competition in the Web world. Companies that also make workplace collaboration tools are Jive Software; Yammer, which Microsoft just bought for $1.2 billion; and VMWare.

Asana, which opened to the public last November, will not say how many people use its products, though it’s certainly not a household name. But its founders said the company was growing and gave a couple of vague numbers to prove it. Tens of thousands of teams have created 18 million tasks, they said. Users include other tech companies, like Foursquare and Twitter, but also organizations like the San Francisco 49ers and Stanford University, according to the company.

In the past several months, Asana introduced a paid version for companies with more than 30 employees, and a new tool called Inbox that is intended to take project coordination out of e-mail in-boxes to save time and eliminate e-mail overload. The new money will mostly be spent hiring people to work at Asana, Mr. Rosenstein said.