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At Last, Josh James Is Ready to Start Talking About Domo

An oddly public four-year stealth phase is coming to an end.


It has been nearly four years since Josh James, the former CEO of the marketing software firm Omniture, started building his new software company, Domo. And now, at last, he’s ready to talk about it.

In that time, James has straddled some curious extremes between the public and the private. Chatty and gregarious, the 41-year-old Utah native seemed to do everything he could to draw attention to the company. There was the $10,000 contest to guess its name. Then there was the funeral — a weird marketing stunt to retire the old name.

And then there was the money: Boatloads of it, in fact. Domo’s last investment — a $125 million round led by private equity firm TPG Growth — valued the startup at $825 million.

But there was one thing James wouldn’t do: Talk in detail about what it was that he and his 600 employees were building. That will soon end. Today, Domo said it will emerge from what it un-ironically referred to as its “stealth mode” phase on April 7 at a user conference in Salt Lake City.

In an interview with Re/code, he stood by the strategy of keeping quiet about the product all this time. “There was no benefit in showing the competition what we were building,” he said. “And believe me, they’re circling. Every potential competitor and every potential acquirer have been trying to find out what we’ve been working on.”

So here’s what it is in broad brush strokes: A big software platform that pulls in all of a company’s operational data, creating a live view of pretty much every aspect of its operations — inventory, manufacturing, the amount of needed supplies, who’s being paid and who’s paying, who the employees are and what they’re being paid.

This is the kind of information every company has to track, but gathering the data to keep a manager up to date has always been complicated and tedious. And usually, by the time a report can be created, the data in it is likely days or weeks old.

James walked me through an easy example. There’s a bread company using Domo that manages the ordering of all the ingredients it needs and the baking and packaging process. When the weight of bread loaves coming off the production line is too light because some piece of equipment is out of adjustment, the bread has to be thrown away. Domo can capture live data straight from the production equipment, meaning the problem can be detected and fixed within minutes.

Domo draws data from 300 different sources — standard business applications from SAP, Microsoft, Oracle or NetSuite, for example — and puts it all in a dashboard that displays the operational status of an entire company in one place. There’s also a built-in collaboration tool, and users can build their own custom reports.

“It’s turned out to be a bigger product than we initially anticipated,” James said. “There’s a lot of products out there that do one or two aspects of this, but there’s nothing that does as much as we do all in one place.”

And it’s winning people over. James says Domo has 1,000 paying customers, double the number he shared last February. Among them are eBay, Telefonica, National Geographic and the nonprofit organization Goodwill.

James also says it’s likely he’ll raise one more investment round later this year before going for an initial public offering that he expects either late this year or early in 2016. One key step toward the IPO: Domo named Bruce Felt, the former CFO of SuccessFactors, as its CFO in August.

It would be James’s second go at taking a company public. When he did that with Omniture in 2006, it was valued at about $336 million. Three years later he sold it to Adobe for $1.8 billion. Numerous investors have a lot of money riding on the bet that James can strike gold again.

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