Omniture founder Josh James launches Domo business intelligence with $43 million
Joey Ferguson, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY— Josh James, who co-founded web tracking firm Omniture Inc., has raised $43 million to help companies visually understand operational and sales figures in real time.
James, who pioneered the use of data to track website visitors when he was a student at Brigham Young University, now wants to give executives and managers better access to data that can be hard to find across a company.
The new company, Domo, raised $33 million from Menlo Park, Calif.-based Benchmark Capital, which backed eBay Inc. and Twitter. The company previously announced $10 million in angel funding from investors, including Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff and John Thompson, chairman of Symantec Corp.
"We're trying to transform the way business takes place today," James said in an interview with Deseret News.
Domo isn't being created from scratch. James purchased Lindon-based Corda Technologies in October 2010. Before it was acquired, Corda had about $10 million in annual revenue. Since then, he has doubled its work force and stripped its name before today's unveiling.
Unorganized and dispersed data proved to be James' biggest bother when he ran Omniture, forcing the executive to cull data from more than 25 different reports to answer his questions. Less than a year after selling to Adobe Systems Inc. in 2009 for $1.8 billion, James left to start something new.
That's when he came up with a solution by using a dashboard-style data aggregator to help CEOs and managers track operations quickly and painlessly. Unlike Omniture, the new service isn't confined to online marketing.
"It's for any business manager anywhere who needs to have access to information," James said. "If you want to go back and find that information or see real-time updates, its just impossible" to do so now.
Finding funding for the company wasn't difficult, James said.
"We could raise another $100 million tomorrow if we wanted to," he said. "It's just a question of dilution and trying to get the right value for the shareholders. We certainly have enough money for our needs at this point. It allows us to move really fast and really aggressively in a really big space with a lot of competitive threats."
People are willing to invest in someone who learns from their mistakes and understands the challenges executives face, he said.
"There's a lot of capital out there," James said. "$43 million is going to last us a long time. If we go seek more money in 2013, it will only be because we see more opportunities."
With Benchmark's investment, Matt Cohler, who is a general partner at the firm, will join Domo's board. Cohler helped lead LinkedIn's development and was one of the first five hires at Facebook.
The Domo service is a monthly subscription, known as software as a service, which James prefers, rather than a one-time charge for a licensed product.
"The thing I like about that is your customers better be happy, or they're going to switch," James said. "I like that because it aligns your interest with the customer's interest."
When James bought Corda, he held on to majority ownership and gave the rest back to employees and management. That control is important to him — a lesson he learned from his time at Omniture. Domo will have two classes of stock, with James owning more than 50 percent, he said.
"Basically what I want to ensure is that every decision that's made at the company is always a three-to-five-year decision, and that we're never in a situation where we're making quarter-to-quarter decisions or one-year decisions," James said.
About 90 percent of employees will be based in Utah. The company also has an office in Silicon Valley. James plans to build the company in Utah much like he did with his last company.
"This time around, I could have started somewhere else, but I think this is the best place to build a technology company," James said about Utah.
The new venture has run into some legal speed bumps involving Adobe. The two sides are suing each other over a noncompetition agreement, which Adobe claims James is violating with his dealings in Domo. James filed suit against Adobe first.
James said he would never do anything competitive against them and said that Adobe's legal decisions are based on fear of losing employees to Domo. Adobe did not immediately respond to a voicemail message seeking comment about the litigation.
Domo unveiled its new name during an event at The Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City on July 13. The launch party featured Stephen Dubner, author of "Freakonomics." Finding potential clients, partners and employees is the primary motivation for the buzz.
"The most important thing I can do over the next couple of years is hire the right people and get the right partners," James said. "Generating that buzz about what it is we're doing will attract the right people and partners as we build out our ecosystem."
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