Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Exclusive: What's Former Omniture CEO Josh James Been Doing Since Leaving Adobe? Raising LOTS Of Money (Updated)

It’s not unusual for founding CEOs to hang around only for a little while after their companies have been acquired. Even so, Josh James, the founder of the Web analytics powerhouse Omniture, seemed eager to hit the road faster than most. After Adobe Systems acquired Omniture for $1.8 billion in September of 2009, James resigned the following July.

What’s he been doing since then? Gearing up for another venture, I’m told. Some time last year, James, flush with the $80 million and change he made from Adobe as one of Omniture’s biggest shareholders, hit the eject button on his gig as an Adobe exec and acquired/bought out Corda Technologies, a business data dashboard start-up based in Lindon, Utah. Corda forms the basis of James’ new venture, but its vision is substantially bigger, I’m told.

Until recently, James has been bankrolling the venture out of his own pocket. But in recent weeks he’s been raising money for a seed round. And as seed rounds go, it’s unusually large. I don’t know a precise amount, but it’s somewhere north of $5 million and less than $8 million.

I’ve confirmed that Andreessen Horowitz, the venture capital fund run by Netscape creator Marc Andreessen and his partner Ben Horowitz, the former CEO of Opsware–the software company they sold to Hewlett-Packard–have ponied up about $1 million, betting that James can strike gold once again.

Corda specializes in pouring all types of company performance data into a dashboard for executives. It will have a new name, still undecided. In fact, the Corda Web site doesn’t even mention the fact that James has acquired it. Still, James has started assembling a team in Utah.

His acquisition of Corda and his an offer to hire a former Adobe employee caused a legal spat between James and Adobe, as reported by The Salt Lake Tribune. Adobe claimed that James violated non-compete agreements he signed when he left the company in buying Corda and hiring trying to hire away a former Adobe employee. The Utah case is over, ordered stayed by a judge, while a case that James and Corda brought in a Santa Clara County court in California against Adobe alleging unfair competition is still pending.

Update: Since I first published this story we’re learning more about who’s investing in this still-unnamed Josh James-helmed venture. A source familiar with the matter says that aside from the $5 million-plus seed-round, which should be announced officially within the next few weeks, James is already pretty far along in the process of raising a Series A round that will be announced later in the year. A source familiar with the situation says that Benchmark Capital–which has backed companies like Mint, the personal finance site acquired by Intuit last year, and others as varied as eBay, Instagram and Jamba Juice–has committed up to $30 million to the new company.

A Second Update:I’ve just confirmed that Ron Conway’s SV Angel is investing in the seed round.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus