Box shows strong sales growth in third quarter earnings

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Cloud storage company Box reported third-quarter earnings after the bell on Wednesday, beating Wall Street expectations with a record $102.8 million in revenue, a 31 percent increase year-over-year and above predictions of $100.64 million. Adjusted earnings per share showed a loss of 14 cents, better than the negative 19 cents that analysts were forecasting and a 17-cent improvement from last year.  The stock traded up over 1 percent in initial after-hours trading.

The company also posted significant growth in deferred revenue, with $192.6 million, an increase of 36 percent from the same period last year. This is money that was received in advance of services. Billings were also up 26 percent, coming in at $112.4 million.

Box’s operating loss also narrowed to $37.8 million, down from $55 million year-over-year. Free cash flow came in at negative $10.9 million, compared to a loss of $37.8 million in last year’s period.

There’s a “massive tailwind of enterprises of all sizes around the world adopting the cloud,” CEO Aaron Levie tells TechCrunch. “We are building out a multi-product strategy that’s all based on this idea that companies are going to need a way to…collaborate around their most important information.”

With a focus on enterprise, Box works with many Fortune 500 companies to help them secure their documents in the cloud. They’ve secured 69,000 corporate clients, including Gap, Procter & Gamble and Whirlpool.

A competitive landscape for file storage, the company has built out strategic partnerships with Microsoft, and recently secured a new arrangement with Google to make it easier to collaborate across platforms. They also worked with IBM to co-develop BoxRelay, a product that aims to improve business productivity.

“Our partnerships take on two different kinds of flavors; added distribution and growth for our core products and partnerships that increase the value for our technology,” said Levie.

Box, which went public early last year, at first faced criticism that it was spending too much on sales and marketing per acquired customer, but it has lowered this ratio.

Box closed Wednesday at $15.22 per share, slightly above the $14 IPO price in January 2015.