New Box platform pricing designed to give developers more cost certainty

Box has been in the process of enhancing its developer platform, and today it announced a new pricing plan designed to provide developers with more cost certainty than the old pricing approach.

“We’ve been in the market for 18 months and there has been a tremendous amount of traction, but pricing was still complicated,” Jeetu Patel, CSO and SVP of Box Platform told TechCrunch. There was a sense that a pure consumption model wasn’t working for the developer base and they wanted more predictability.

The Box platform lets developers tap into various pieces of the Box product set such as storage services, encryption, security, file management and so forth without going through the effort of building these pieces themselves. Box makes money when a third-party tool makes an API call to their platform. Up until today, pricing was based purely on a number factors around consumption of Box platform resources.

Developers were looking for a pricing model that gave them a more consistent monthly cost, regardless of the usage in any particularly month. This could help smooth out seasonal spikes by spreading cost evenly across months and avoiding a huge monthly bill.

Box has created a new set of three standard pricing packages that include a number of monthly active users (MAUs) and API calls along with a set of defined storage and bandwidth resources. The packages include a free tier for developers experimenting with the platform, a starter program for $500 per month and a Pro level $4,250 per month. Customers can also design a custom pricing bundle, Patel said.

“What’s unique is the way we’ve done bundling and accounting for seasonality. In the older model you lost predictability in the exercise, especially when you have large customers going out and using large volumes. So we are smoothing that out,” Patel said.

They have built in a 10-15 percent overage into the cost, and they feel like if a company vastly exceeds its monthly averages, they can make it up in the quarterly or annual pricing review and build increases into the next contract based on past usage. The idea is to never go back to the developer and say ‘you owe money.’ Instead, it will be built into future contracts, Patel explained.

As Patel sees it, there is little downside to this approach as companies can start at any level they feel comfortable with. He says they usually have a good sense of what their usage is going to look like and if it exceeds that, the financial burden is no longer on them, he says.

The new pricing is part of a general overhaul to the developer platform Patel has been leading at Box. He says they started by making it simpler for developers to use the platform with a new set of tools and capabilities announced earlier this year. In addition, they made the developer platform tools available in the AWS Marketplace. Today’s pricing announcement is the latest piece.

In fact, for starters, the company will be offering these pricing bundles to developers exclusively in the AWS Marketplace. Later this year, they plan to offer it via the Box website.