After Health Care, Box Tackles The Education Vertical

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Box has been focusing on verticals of late, looking to expand the growing base of companies that use its cloud storage platform. Earlier this year, Box announced that it has received HIPAA compliance, with marked a huge entry into healthcare. Today, Box is announcing a big push into education, both at the university level as well as in K-12 institutions.

Already, more than 100 universities and hundreds of K-12 schools use Box to as a storage platform including Georgetown, University of Maryland, University of Mississippi, Stanford, Temple University and Tufts. In the past year, Box’s sales in the education industry grew more than 119 percent.

But Box’s CEO and founder Aaron Levie sees opportunity beyond just having schools use Box for cloud storage. He sees potential in partnering with the content management systems that these universities use. And many educational apps are already using recently acquired Crocodoc’s HTML5 document embedding service.

For example, Box has been working with learning management system Canvas by Instructure to leverages Box’s API. Through this integration, Box’s entire suite of collaboration and management features are directly within Canvas. Canvas also leveraging Crocodoc’s preview and annotation technology to allow teachers to review and grade assignments within the application.

Other apps using Crocodoc’s technology include Blackboard Learn, Deltak, Edmodo, Haiku Learning, MediaCore and ShowMyHomework.

Box is also announcing partnerships with SURF, NORDUnet and Internet2, to extend Box’s reach into higher education institutions in the Netherlands, the Nordic and U.S. The partnership with Internet2 provides U.S. universities with an easy way to deploy Box campus-wide. Since the launch of the Internet2 NET+ Box program in April 2012, more than 1.5 million Box accounts have been purchased across 49 universities.

It’s not surprising that Box is looking to expand into the education and healthcare sectors as it readies for an IPO in the coming year. Education, specifically, is seeing massive growth in adoption and in innovation. Box not only wants to be the storage platform of choice for schools, but also wants to be the storage platform developers choose to embed in their own educational apps. It’s an interesting strategy, and could work to Box’s advantage.