Josh James has been promising to start talking about Domo, the secretive business software startup he has been running for about four years, and now he is following through on that pledge. But more on that in a minute.
Practically every conversation about Josh James begins with his uncanny ability to raise money. And today there’s more of that to tabulate, $200 million more to be exact.
Domo disclosed today that it has landed that much in a Series D led by the investment firm BlackRock in a round that also included Capital Group and Glynn Capital, while prior investor GGV Capital also participated in a “significant way.” The round values Domo at $2 billion, more than double its prior valuation of $825 million, which Re/code reported last February after the company landed a $125 million C round. Domo’s capital raised now totals $450 million.
In an interview, James made it pretty clear he considers Domo to be on a steady march to an initial public offering which could occur this year or next. While many companies look for ways to stay private and find advantages in keeping the state of their books to themselves, James, who took his first company Omniture public in 2006, wants to go public again. James tapped Bruce Felt, the former CFO of SuccessFactors, to run Domo’s finances last year.
“I think there’s a lot of benefits that go with being public, but the one thing you must have before you become a public company is predictability,” he said. “If you’re still in a place where as a company you’re experiencing a lot of rapid change, its not the right time to be public. Once you’ve got a regular operational cadence and you can predict how things are going to go, investors like it much better.”
And he has plenty of public-friendly investors already: Fidelity Investments and T. Rowe Price are already included in Domo’s institutional investor base, and taking money from these brand-name investment fund is often a way that companies like Facebook, Workday, Box and others start to get to know the people they’re going to be working with once they’re public. Other investors include Benchmark, Founders Fund, Greylock Partners, IVP, Salesforce.com, TPG Growth, WPP and Zetta Venture Partners.
So back to the product that has been oh-so-secret until today: Domo is taking the covers off what it is calling its Business Management Platform at an event in Salt Lake City today. The basic premise we know: Domo grabs live business data from some 300 different sources — Salesforce, NetSuite, Twitter and Facebook included — and presents the data in a live interactive dashboard that can be customized and mixed and matched in all kinds of ways.
The idea is twofold: Make the data more human friendly than a spreadsheet. Usually business data is days or weeks old and kind of difficult to interpret because the best way to arrange it is in a spreadsheet. Now that’s not to knock spreadsheets so much as to acknowledge their limitations.
Second, make it accessible so that you can ask complex questions about the data you’re seeing and in the process learn more about the business so you can make better decisions. And here’s where it gets interesting.
If it doesn’t sound compelling, then you have to understand that big companies spend millions of dollars on software to manage every aspect of their operations. Oracle and SAP specialize in software for managing finances, manufacturing and supply chains, and they both compete with Salesforce in managing the process of generating leads and closing deals. These are all processes that can be tracked in software, so there’s data to pull and present within the Domo dashboard — which, by the way, lives entirely in the cloud.
So here’s a screen shot which before today was so secret you could only see it by becoming a customer and signing a pretty onerous non-disclosure agreement.
It’s not just an application but a platform, which means that if there’s some specialized business app that Domo hasn’t connected to yet, you can now start building your own connections to it and bring that data in. Those individual sections of data in the shot above are called “cards,” and you can rearrange them and add new ones to your view all the time. But if you need a special card that combines a few different bits of data and which hasn’t already been built, Domo today announced a feature it calls Card Builder that lets you create your own.
It’s the one thing, James says, that Domo’s customers have been asking for. “It used to be that once people got running on Domo, it wasn’t long before they asked us to build some custom visual mashup for them that wasn’t available,” he said. “And that’s how it’s been. Now they can build their own.”
James will be speaking at our forthcoming Code/Enterprise Series event in San Francisco on April 21. One big question I will be asking is: “What do you plan to do with all that money?” We don’t expect he’s planning to spend it all on a toga party.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.