Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Domo CEO Josh James Is Keeping Quiet About His Company. Deal With It.

joshjames380After raising $125 million in venture capital funding in two rounds, at a valuation of more than $300 million, you’d think that CEO Josh James would want to start talking about how the company is humming along, or at least start sharing specifics.

But that’s not how James rolls. He’d rather keep his cards close to his chest and surprise his competitors later. While he’s quick to brag that Domo, the cloud-based business intelligence service he launched two years ago, is growing fast, he’s not ready — at least not yet — to start sharing specifics. Like who his customers are.

Josh is the founder and former CEO of Omniture who sold that company to Adobe for $1.8 billion in 2009. It wasn’t long before he was raising money — lots of it, in fact — for the new venture that ultimately became Domo.

I caught up with James in Park City, Utah, today where he was speaking at the Venture Capital In the Rockies Fall conference. We chatted for about 10 minutes before his speech. Here are some highlights from our conversation:

AllThingsD: So how are things at Domo?

James: They’re going pretty good. We’re selling as fast as we want to sell. The sales teams are hitting their quotas and you can’t ask for any more than that.

So the perception that’s going around is that Domo is a company that has raised a lot of money, but hasn’t quite shown a lot for it. You’ve been kind of quiet after raising all that money. But what I’m hearing from competitors is that they’re not worried about you.

That’s perfect.

Why is that?

We’ve got 300 enterprise customers and we’re growing like crazy. We’re installing it as fast as we can sell it. We’ve got several Fortune 100 customers, and I showed a customer slide to my board the other day that’s pretty freaking impressive. Back in my days at Omniture, we didn’t have a slide with that quality of names on it until the last year before we went public.

So who’s on it?

I’m not ready to tell you yet. (He grins.) They’re like travel, financial, media, top five customers in each of those verticals.

When will we starting hearing about who they are?

In the next six months or so.

What are you waiting for?

We can’t take any more customers than we have right now. Attention from customers hasn’t been a problem. We want to make sure that when we have an onslaught of new customers that we can address them. We’re already growing at a pace of 25 to 50 percent quarter over quarter, so we’re already doubling every year. And that is what we did at Omniture every year, we doubled seven years in a row. Fortunately there is a lot of attention that can come our way. When it does we have to make sure we don’t fail. Creating leads and attention, this time, that’s not going to be a problem.

So you’re deliberately keeping kind of quiet?

Absolutely. And deliberately letting people think incorrect things about us.

Like what?

That we’re just about big data and analytics and visualization.

But you kind of are in those boxes. If you’re not in those boxes, then describe for me what kind of box you fit in.

I will come and have that conversation with you. Those are parts of it. We’re surprising our customers. I had one person at one of our customers say to me that for 40 years he had been trained not to ask the kind of questions about the state of his business that he was suddenly getting answered using our product. We had another a few days ago, at a big financial institution, who three minutes into the demo stopped us and said he’d been looking for something like this for the last 20 years. We had a top-five airline last week call it the Holy Grail of big data and business intelligence. That’s not how I would categorize us, but if that’s what you want to think of the substance of what we’re doing, I’m glad to let you think that.

After all that money you’ve raised, do you think you’re going to have to raise any more?

I think we’ll probably do one more round before we go public. We don’t need to. The model shows us breaking even before we need to raise any more money.

When do you think you’d go public? Maybe 2015?

I have no clue yet.

Latest Video

View all videos »

Search »

The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald