Box has set its sights on Europe both to pick up new business and as a place to hunt for the next important technology that might give it an edge over other players in the cloud-based enterprise space. Today, the company announced a new partnership with Seedcamp, the European startup accelerator, to work with developer groups, promote Box to the 80 startups that are a part of the Accelerator, and — when the opportunity presents itself — get involved in small seed funding rounds.
Box CEO Aaron Levie announced the news in London today. Levie said that Box’s size in Europe had doubled since last June, as the company picked up a number of key deals, including a 50,000-seat deployment with Schneider Electric, one of the company’s biggest-ever deals.
The Seedcamp partnership is similar to the relationship Box already has with General Assembly and TechStars, which sees Box providing business accounts to startups and developers and marketing to them how to integrate Box into their business. Being close to startups is an important avenue for Box, which already provides cloud services to some 17,000 developers worldwide, with some 300 Box OneCloud applications live across iOS and Android platforms.
The Seedcamp partnership gives Box the chance to scope out early-stage companies that it might want to integrate more with in the future, too. A spokesperson says that the seed rounds, when they happen, will usually be in the “tens of thousands of dollars,” although of course having an investor like Box is almost more important strategically than it is financially.
“So far the startups we’ve done seed funding with are U.S. but we’re looking at developers here in the UK,” the spokesperson said. It’s holding a platform event on Wednesday in General Assembly’s London offices.
Box’s efforts to look to the UK and the rest of Europe echo what other enterprise startups have been doing of late. Just two weeks ago, Twilio announced a partnership with 500 Startups to develop a microfund specifically for startups using Twilio technology in Europe. Like Box’s activities, Twilio Fund Europe is an extension of Twilio and 500 Startups’ joint efforts in the U.S.
Box is not giving out any hard numbers for what “double growth” actually means — although later I’m meeting with Levie and will try to winkle out some numbers from him. The company first set out its stall in Europe in June 2012, and reports that it currently provides services for 15 million people and 150,000 businesses worldwide. The metric to look at is whether Box is on target in terms of the growth plans it set out last June, when it said it was aiming for 30 percent of its business to be coming out of Europe in the next 18 months. It’s now hiring in Germany and France to support that goal, and also building out infrastructure to improve the quality of service in the region, adding a new Box Accelerator data hub in Dublin.
“We’re in the midst of a transformation in enterprise software as post-PC devices and cloud applications change where, when and how people work across the globe,” said Levie at the event. “In this new world, collaboration is at an absolute premium, and connecting people with their content no matter what devices they use is the key to powering productivity. Our global growth speaks to Box’s ability to deliver a collaboration platform built for the post-PC world.”
Deals like Schneider Electric should go some way to meeting that goal. Box says that the 50,000-seat deployment is one of its largest contracts ever. Other key deals included Hopkins Architechts, Mondi, video distribution company Rightster, and XL Video.