The CEO of $2 billion startup Domo: 'We've been lying to people' so we could surprise them with our master plan
First off, Domo announced today that it's raised another $131 million in funding from BlackRock, keeping its valuation steady at $2 billion. Business Insider has also discovered that Domo still has $200 million in the bank, a number that James confirmed.
Second, and more importantly to James, Domo has a new upgraded app, called "The Business Cloud," announced at today's Domopalooza event in Salt Lake City.
It takes all of the data that Domo has gotten so good at importing from other business apps and lays it all out in a slick interface. James says it lets a customer manage literally every aspect of their business, in real-time.
This souped-up system has been in the works since Domo was founded in 2010, James says, and has taken over $500 million in R&D investment.
In fact, he says he's lied to Domo's customers, investors, and even some of its own directors about what the company has been up to, amid concerns of getting copied before what he calls the "true" Domo could come out.
"We've been lying to people, we haven't told anybody what we're doing," James says.
It's a typical grandiose move for Domo, which literally swore its first thousand customers to secrecy so it could come out of nowhere when the product officially launched.
But to James' mind, the wait has been worth it, and Domo is now poised to kickstart a revolution in business software, leapfrogging the competition to make something totally new.
"We didn't make the next great flip phone, we just dropped the iPhone," James says.
'You've paid the original price'
The Domo platform takes data from almost any other imaginable business app, from Salesforce to Instagram, and pushes it into one place with real-time updates. If a sales rep wants to see how many likes a post got on Facebook from a certain territory in Nebraska, Domo boasts that it's the place.
Similarly, if a marketing person isn't generating enough leads, the algorithm can flag it and indicate that it's time to pick up the pace if they're going to make quota. There's even a chat functionality for people in the business to talk to each other about the data.
Now that Domo's customers past and present have adjusted to the idea of uploading and mashing all of their data from every source under the sun, James says they're ready for the next step.
"You've paid the original price to get in the game," James says.
With the new Domo, all of that data gets a shiny new interface that lets you see what anyone else in in the company is working on. James says that he uses the new Domo app himself to create the slides that he presents to his company's board of directors, who can actually track Domo's progress even as deals close.
"There's no other board in the world that has every bit of data about just one company," James says.
James says that with all of that data being updated and presented in real-time, it drastically cuts down on his number of meetings - why have a two-hour long meeting to present data that everybody already knows? And it can do the same for any employee anywhere in the business, he says.
And it's better than Slack, James says, because it's "not the watercooler, but the metrics" - every conversation is around a piece of business data, not just a freewheeling meeting where people can say whatever comes to mind, which isn't "how businesspeople think."
Plus, a user can create a custom dashboard of mashed-up data - say, the price of hotel rooms in Los Angeles versus season and conference event, to use James' example - and sell it to other users via an app store. At launch, James boasts there are 1,000 such custom apps on the store.
'Of course we want to change the world'
Before Domo came out of nowhere with a $2 billion valuation, James was the founder of Omniture - a company that he credits with literally inventing the marketing cloud software industry. Adobe bought it for $1.8 billion in 2009.
James says that it hurts his feelings a little bit that his investors, customers, and even his board thought that he could ever be satisfied with Domo's current data analytics business, a market where companies like Microsoft and Tableau are already so established.
"Of course we were thinking big," James says. "Of course we want to change the world!"
As it is, Domo has already made a splash. James is boasting that Domo has $100 million of "contracted revenue" this year and growing fast. And when James showed me the new Domo app, I accidentally saw on a chart that the company has just over $200 million in the bank, which he sheepishly admitted was the real number.
As for competition, he says that he has customers coming from competitors like Tableau "in droves," and dismisses them as "not worth copying." Investors may agree with that, given that Tableau's stock tanked recently.
But given the company's reliance on outside services for data, James says that he doesn't really like to think of Domo displacing any other company, so much as it is a brand-new way of thinking about data that all comes together.
He says that he wants Domo to be a $50 billion business by the time he's done, but he's in no particular rush, and confident that his company can make its mark.
"We think we have decades to do it, and a big enough space," James says.
James says that the company doesn't plan to raise more private cash, and is prepared internally for an IPO - but under current market conditions, he wants to wait for profitability, which he says isn't too long off.
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