Domo, the once secretive $2 billion software company led by Josh James, is moving to go public

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Domo CEO Josh James

The Utah darling held its IPO kickoff meeting last week.

The business software company Domo, last valued at over $ 2 billion, is moving to go public, Recode has learned.

Domo last week held its “organizational meeting,” which generally serves as the formal kickoff in advance of an IPO filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to sources. The company is pursuing a confidential filing with the SEC; it isn’t clear if the company has already filed or instead will do so within the next few weeks.

The filing would be the latest IPO in a flurry of listings, especially in the enterprise sector. And it would offer a payday to the cross section of venture funds that have financed the eight-year-old company’s growth, like GGV Capital, TPG and Benchmark.

It would also be a substantial exit for the so-called Silicon Slopes region of Utah: Domo, led by prominent entrepreneur Josh James, is based in a suburb of Salt Lake City. James is well known as the co-founder of Omniture, an analytics company that was sold to Adobe for almost $ 2 billion.

Domo declined to comment.

Domo has long teased an IPO — James told Recode as early as April 2015 that his company would be ready to go public in the next six months. And a company could always back off after the so-called org meeting or even after the filing, but this is a definite step in the IPO planning process.

The org meeting typically begins a one- to two-month process that includes the drafting of the paperwork that is filed with the SEC. The company’s leadership, its board, lawyers, bankers and financial advisers gather to chart how and when exactly the company will file and sell itself to Wall Street. A company though isn’t bound to file, and could eventually delay the listing, back off altogether or get acquired at the last minute.

The company hired banks to advise their IPO as far back as April 2016, but its momentum toward a public offering had stalled. Domo raised another round of financing in early 2017, pushing back the IPO as part of an attempt, as James said at the time, to remain private as long as humanly possible.

After somehow operating in stealth for almost five years, Domo emerged in 2015 with a $ 2 billion valuation. The company offers to businesses a portal that visualizes company and customer data — a live view of all sorts of things a CEO might need to know about his or her company in one software platform. Competitors include the still-private Looker and the now-public Tableau Software.

Domo’s IPO would be the latest high-profile listing at a time when private companies apparently feel the public markets will be friendly to startups. Spotify and Dropbox shares have begun trading over just the last few weeks, and a pair of other cloud-based companies, Zscaler and Zuora, have filed to follow suit this spring.

Advising Domo’s offering are Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse. The banks declined to comment.

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MoviePass’ parent company acquires Moviefone

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Helios and Matheson Analytics, which already owns movie ticket subscription service MoviePass, has acquired Moviefone.

Despite the old-school name, Moviefone is now a digital media business with trailers, movie information and ticketing via Fandango — it says it reaches 6 million unique visitors each month.

Moviefone was previously owned by Oath, the Verizon subsidiary formed from the merger of AOL and Yahoo. (Oath also owns TechCrunch). AOL acquired Moviefone for $ 388 million back in 1999.

The deal includes a $ 1 million cash payment, as well as stock that could bring the total value up to $ 23 million, according to Variety. That means Oath now has a stake in MoviePass . It will also continue sell Moviefone’s digital ad inventory.

MoviePass, meanwhile, allows customers to pay $ 9.95 a month (or less) to get one free movie ticket per day, albeit with inconveniences like the need to physically buy your ticket at the theater. Acquiring Moviefone is supposed to help the company expand into content and advertising.

“This natural alignment between MoviePass and Moviefone will help us grow our subscriber base significantly and expand our marketing and advertising platform for our studio and brand partners,” said MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe in the acquisition release. “Moviefone has been a go-to resource for entertainment enthusiasts for years, and we’re excited to bolster its presence and bring this iconic platform into the entertainment ecosystem of the future.”

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Google employees demand the company pull out of Pentagon AI project

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Last month, it was revealed that Google was offering its resources to the US Department of Defense for Project Maven, a research initiative to develop computer vision algorithms that can analyze drone footage. In response, more than 3,100 Google employees have signed a letter urging Google CEO Sundar Pichai to reevaluate the company’s involvement, as “Google should not be in the business of war,” as reported by The New York Times.

Work on Project Maven began last April, and while details on what Google is actually providing to the DOD are not clear, it is understood that it’s a Pentagon research initiative for improved analysis of drone footage. In a press statement, a Google spokesperson confirmed that the company was giving the DOD a…

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Google now purchases more renewable energy than it consumes as a company

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Google announced in a blog post that it now purchases more renewable energy than it consumes as a company. Google began these efforts in 2017, with the goal of purchasing as much renewable energy as it uses across its 13 data centers and all of its office complexes.

To be clear, Google is not powering all of its energy consumption with renewable energy. It’s matching what it consumes with equal amounts of purchased renewable energy. For every kilowatt-hour of electricity consumed, it buys a kilowatt-hour from a wind or solar farm built specifically for Google. The company says that its total purchase of energy from sources like wind and solar now exceeds the amount of electricity used by its operations.

Google says it currently has…

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At $27 billion, Spotify is the seventh-most-valuable internet company to go public in the U.S.

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It’s up there with Google, if you don’t adjust for inflation.

Spotify’s public offering is not only notable because of its uncommon choice to list its shares directly on the stock market. The stock, which began trading today, also ranks among the most valuable internet companies to list in the U.S.

Its closing market value today was about $ 27 billion, according to Dealogic, putting it ahead of Twitter and Groupon, but behind Alibaba, Facebook, Snap and Google following their first trading days. That’s despite a stock price decline of about 11 percent today.

Spotify is also the most valuable tech IPO since Snap went public last year, closing its first day at nearly $ 29 billion. Spotify had the 25th-biggest first-day closing market cap out of companies in all sectors, according to Dealogic’s data, which goes back to 1995 and is not adjusted for inflation.


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Spotify stock reference price set at $132 a share, placing company valuation at $23.5 billion

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Spotify, the world’s largest music streaming service, went public this morning, trading under ticker name SPOT, with the New York Stock Market setting its reference price at $ 132 a share. That puts the company value at $ 23.5 billion, and is on target with what CNBC reported last month when shares were traded on private markets were for as high as $ 132.50 a share. Spotify’s last valuation was at $ 8.4 billion when it raised a financing round of $ 400 million back in 2015.

Sweden-based Spotify is available in 61 countries with an overall user base that includes ad-supported free listeners of 159 million, and 70 million paying users as of January 2018. The company was founded in 2006 by Martin Lorentzon and Daniel Ek, who remains its current…

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Huawei CEO says the company is still committed to the US market despite “groundless suspicions”

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Huawei has recently come under fire in the US, where government agencies left and right are advising people and companies not to purchase its products. The CIA, FBI, and NSA are concerned that Huawei devices are used to spy on Americans. As you’d expect, Huawei’s consumer products CEO doesn’t think too highly of such assessments. Richard Yu told CNET that “the security risk concerns are based on groundless suspicions and are quite frankly unfair”. “We welcome an open and transparent discussion if it is based on facts”, he continued. Huawei P20 Despite the fact that the government…

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Bumble sues Tinder’s owners for stealing company secrets

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Bumble isn't done swiping left on Tinder's parent company Match Group. After publishing an open letter excoriating Match, the women-focused dating app has filed a lawsuit against Tinder's owner, accusing it of stealing trade secrets, among other thin…
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Data From British Porn Viewers Might Be In The Hands of One Company

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Back in the old days, keeping pornography away from children was a lot easier. You had your magazines. You had your  closet with a high shelf. Boom — your porn collection was child-proofed.

The internet has complicated things. Now, every teen with a smartphone has more pornographic content at their fingertips than in all the issues of Playboy and Hustler combined.

In an effort to keep explicit material away from prying young eyes, British lawmakers mandated in 2017 that all pornographic websites must verify the age of their visitors. However, in doing so, they may have inadvertently created a new data-mining monster à la Facebook. Only this one collects information that’s far more sensitive.

“They’re going to be able to track every time you log in to anything.”

The U.K.’s Digital Economy Act 2017 requires all porn sites to verify the age of their visitors. If the sites don’t comply, the country could fine them upwards of $ 329,000, or block them altogether.

MindGeek, the company that runs sites like Pornhub, YouPorn, and Redtube, created a tool to comply with the law. Earlier this month, MindGeek officially launched AgeID, its age verification platform.

AgeID users will need to use something official to verify their age (a drivers license or passport). On the upside, that’s not too easy to fake. Once a user verifies his or her age on one AgeID-protected site, they can then visit any AgeID-protected site without verifying their age a second time.

“Our product fully supports the U.K. adult industry and enables those of legal age to securely and privately access adult websites through a one-time verification process, while protecting children from stumbling across age inappropriate content,” James Clark, a spokesperson for AgeID, said in a press release.

But here’s the catch: MindGeek is the world’s biggest publisher of pornography. Its sites boast 100 million daily visitors, and it is among the 10 sites that use the most bandwidth in the world (or, at least they were in 2014, according to Slate).

In the U.K., any user who wants to access any of MindGeek’s sites will have to use AgeID. Right there, MindGeek is getting that sensitive information. In the process it creates one central database for would-be hackers to access, since MindGeek owns pretty much every major porn site.

Then there’s the kind of data MindGeek collects. MindGeek may say it’s not keeping track of how users spend time on its sites — which sites they visit, which videos they watch when they get there, or even other activity on users’ computers.But there’s not really anything in the language of the British law to outright prevent that (they already do this, of course, to get a sense of which videos are popular, but they previously haven’t been able to connect that data to a user’s specific identity).

It’s conceivable, then, that Mindgeek could sell that info to someone. And a leak of it could ruin lives on a much grander scale than the Ashley Madison hack from 2015.

“You can imagine how much data that is going to give MindGeek, if they’re going to have stats on what people click on, what porn sites people click on, what they pay for,” feminist porn producer Pandora Blake told an Open Rights Group meeting in London last month. “Once you’ve got a MindGeek login, you’re going to be giving them your entire web browsing history, because they’re going to be able to track every time you log in to anything.”

Originally, the U.K. planned to begin enforcing the policy in April 2018, but decided to delay that until later this year, possibly because concerns about who is collecting data on porn users.

Opponents of the U.K. policy as it currently stands argue it does too little to ensure all this data will remain private. They also criticize the government for not being more involved in implementing age-verification systems.

“Basically, they are washing their hands and hoping the market will sort it out,” Jim Killock, the executive director of the campaign body Open Rights Group, told The Guardian. “They even said they hope the market will provide, but that’s not how digital markets work. Digital markets work as a monopoly, like Facebook, like Twitter.”

For now, the U.K. will take some time to revisit its plans to keep porn away from children. Hopefully, the system they come up with also protects the private data of adult online porn users, because, really, who wants to go back to magazines?

The post Data From British Porn Viewers Might Be In The Hands of One Company appeared first on Futurism.

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Facebook’s Phone-Scraping “Scandal” Just Shows How Little We Trust the Company

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Facebook hasn’t yet woken up from the ongoing PR nightmare brought on by Cambridge Analytica, and it may already be facing yet another: an Ars Technica investigation found that Facebook collected and stored data on Android phone users’ calls and texts, including phone numbers and length of calls.

The thing is, it doesn’t yet appear that Facebook broke any laws or used data without permission; rather, the data seems to have come by way of another unclear permission opt-in for Facebook apps. It’s shady, for sure, but the method may not be illegal or even nefarious (Facebook says it’s all aimed at improving users’ experience).

But the fact that we’re once again talking about it shows how far our trust in Facebook has fallen.

Cambridge Analytica was able to scrape data from millions of users because Facebook’s privacy rules at the time allowed its app to gather information not just from users, but also from their friends (of course, most Facebook users didn’t know that at the time).

Facebook was able to store call and text data from Android phones (but not other models) through a similar loophole, Ars Technica‘s investigation suggests. If Android users downloaded Facebook apps, like Messenger, in 2015, they granted those apps permission to access their contacts, and included call and message logs by default. Though Android later changed this permission structure, Facebook and other apps could continue to access calls and texts by specifying that they were written to the earlier software. That loophole stayed open until October 2017, when Google updated the way Androids stored their data.

Android users could purge that data, but they first had to know it was being collected. What’s more, Ars Technica found that even when they did so, contacts remained in the Facebook app’s contact management tool.

In a blog posted on March 25, Facebook retorted with a “fact check” of these claims, stating that call and text logging is only an opt-in feature that Android users have to specifically agree to when they install Messenger or Facebook Lite.

Yet Ars Technica states that this contradicts users’ experiences. Reporter Sean Gallagher notes that he never installed Messenger on his Android device, only the Facebook app, and that he never opted into call or SMS collecting. Yet there are still call logs from the time that Facebook was installed. That seems to be because opt-in was the default mode when those apps were installed.

Thanks to the Cambridge Analytica debacle, Facebook’s stock has already fallen dramatically. Users already feel negatively about Facebook, and other social media companies are becoming less popular with it. This suggests that social media users not longer trust Facebook, and that trust won’t be easy to regain — especially since yet another data collection scandal is dogging the company.

These back-to-back scandals also hint at something much more unsettling: that there could be more Cambridge Analyticas, more violations of users’ trust.

We haven’t yet learned about just how much data Facebook has collected — or is still collecting — about its users using sketchy privacy agreements. Indeed, the Federal Trade Commission announced on March 26 that it is opening an investigation into Facebook’s privacy practices, which could signal there are more reveals about the social media company ahead.

If you’re thinking of taking a break from social media for a while, you’re not the only one.

The post Facebook’s Phone-Scraping “Scandal” Just Shows How Little We Trust the Company appeared first on Futurism.

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