Box Files For $250M IPO On Full-Year Revenue Of $124M, Net Loss Of $168M

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The Box S-1 is out at last. The cloud storage company is looking to raise up $250 million in the flotation. That sum is less than its competitor Dropbox recently raised from the private markets.

Box has long been rumored to have quickly growing revenues and large losses, which has proven to be the case. For the full-year period that ended January 2014, Box’s revenues grew to $124 million, up from $58.8 million the year prior.

However, the company’s net loss also expanded in the period, with Box posting losses of $168 million for the full-year period that ended January 2014, more than its total top line for the period. In the period prior, Box lost a more modest $112 million.

What is driving Box’s yawning losses? Sales and marketing. The company’s line item for those expenses expanded from $99.2 million for the year ending January 2013, to $171 million for the year ending January 31, 2014. That was the lion’s share of Box’s $100 million increasing in operating costs during the period.

Or, put more simply, Box spent more dollars on selling its products in the year than it brought in revenue during the period. This could indicate customer churn, or merely a tough market for cloud products.

Why IPO now? Box only has $108 million in cash and equivalents. That means it has under a year of burn at current losses. It needs the money. The company could go back, again to the private markets to pick up another tranch of, say, $100 million, but by going public, presuming market interest, Box can get enough cash for, say, two years in one go.

Box lost more than $14 per share in both 2013 and 2014.

The market has been receptive of technology IPOs of late. Box is betting that a juicy NASDAQ and investors still high on Twitter’s offering will be receptive to its shares, even as its losses appear to be budging. Its strong revenue acceleration could be its ticket to a stable offering, however.

Box had 972 employees as of January 31, 2014.