Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the company was raising a new round at a $1.2 billion valuation. (After the article came out, TechCrunch’s Rip Empson asked co-founder and CEO Aaron Levie, “Are these hella wicked crazy rumors true, Aaron? You really let workers store and access documents on the Web?” To which Levie replied, “Bro, you know we can’t comment on speculation about how businesses use our product to enable the sharing and access of information anywhere.”)
Levie isn’t disclosing the valuation, except to say that it represents “some nice growth from last year,” when Box raised an $81 million round at what we heard was a valuation of more than $600 million.
Box claims it’s now working with more than 120,000 businesses, as well as individuals at 92 percent of the Fortune 500.
Levie says the new money will go towards “three key investment areas.” The first is just “continuing the momentum of what we’ve been doing.” The second is international growth — companies outside the United States currently make up about 20 percent of Box’s customer base, and Levie says that number should be more like 40 percent. And the third is building tools that will make Box more appealing to large enterprises. (The company started out and is still available as a consumer product, but it has focused in recent years on selling to businesses.)
More broadly, Levie paints a picture of an enterprise software market that’s in a period of dramatic change, thanks to the confluence of mobile, social, and cloud technologies. With the shift from main frames to minicomputers, then from minicomputers to PCs, the addressable market for enterprise companies keeps growing, he says, and that’s continuing with the shift to the “post-PC enterprise.” (One of the company’s most recent launches was of Box OneCloud, a platform for enterprise mobile apps that integrate with Box.)
“These kinds of changes happen every decade or so,” Levie says.
General Atlantic operating partner Gary Reiner, formerly the CIO at General Electric, is joining Box’s board of directors. Previous investors Bessemer Venture Partners, DFJ Growth, New Enterprise Associates, SAP Ventures, and Scale Venture Partners also participated in the round, as did a new investor, the Social + Capital Partnership.
The company has now raised more than $280 million. It actually still has half the money from the last round in the bank, Levie says, and the new funding puts Box “in a strong position to never raise privately again.” (Though he also cautions that it’s “impossible to say never.”) Asked what this means about the chances of a long-rumored IPO, he says there are elements of the company’s strategy, like investing heavily in international growth and “deep technology”, that Box has “more latitude” to do as a private company.
“I think you can take this as a sign that we’re focused on really building a strong independent company,” he says. “This affords us the opportunity to do that privately for now.”
After starting as a college business project in 2005, Box was officially launched in March of 2006 with the vision of connecting people, devices and networks. Box provides more than 8 million users with secure cloud content management and collaboration. They say their platform “allows personal and commercial content to be accessible, sharable, and storable in any format from anywhere”.
General Atlantic is a leading global growth equity firm providing capital and strategic support for growth companies. They combine a collaborative global approach, sector-specific expertise, and a deep understanding of growth drivers to partner with great management and build exceptional businesses worldwide. As a growth investor for over three decades, GA consistently generates long-term, superior returns by investing in and working with strong management to build outstanding companies. The unique evergreen capital structures affords us the flexibility to function...
The Social+Capital Partnership (“Social Capital”) is a partnership of philanthropists, technologists and capitalists utilizing venture capital as a force to create value and change on a global scale. The Partnership is based in Palo Alto, California.
Aaron Levie co-founded Box with friend and Box CFO Dylan Smith in 2005. The Box mission is to provide businesses and individuals with the simplest solution to share, access and manage their information. Aaron is the visionary behind Box’s product and platform strategy, which is focused on incorporating the best of traditional content management with an easy to use user experience suited to the way people collaborate and work today. Box is one of the fastest growing companies in...