Box Lands Another $81 Million in VC Funding

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2011-10-11 Print this article Print

Box is indeed a fast-growing enterprise cloud service that now counts 7 million individual and 100,000 business customers -- almost double its total from a year ago.

Box keeps packing away those enterprise deals-whether it's a new partnership, an impressive new enterprise customer or more venture funding.

On Oct. 11 it was the latter as the Palo Alto, Calif., file storage and content management cloud service announced its fourth major venture capital round, which added a fresh $81 million into its bank accounts. This time the money came from Bessemer Venture Partners and NEA, who led the funding round.

SAP Ventures and Salesforce also are participating as strategic investors. Previous investors Andreesen Horowitz and Draper Fisher Jurvetson also participated in the Series D expansion round.

Box has made recent news by signing major partnership deals with VMware, Google, Hewlett-Packard, NetSuite, Samsung and Salesforce.

Offers Google, NetSuite Apps

In its enterprise package, Box offers not only cloud storage but collaboration software in a social-network-like form. Users can create an online workspace where they can share Google and NetSuite online tools and project files, manage files with version history, add comments, assign tasks and create new content.

The company just announced a deal on Sept. 28 with HP to preinstall its service on a number of new laptops and desktop PCs.

In its consumer business, Box gives all those who sign up in a personal account a free 5GB of online space, a standard inducement in this sector. Business users (three or more users per account, free trials available) pay $15 per month for up to 500GB; enterprise users can get unlimited capacity, but they need to talk to Box about pricing.

The company also claims a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee and offers Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption, redundant storage and configurable permissions.

Gearing Up for Bigger Sales Skirmishes?

Box, which has only been in business for six years and is led by 26-year-old founder and CEO Aaron Levie, looks suspiciously like it wants to compete on a level with Tier 1 IT companies such as Microsoft, IBM, HP and Oracle. Having an extra $81 million in the bank will go a long way toward backing up that goal.

"We're redefining how enterprises share and manage content on Box, while also building a powerful, open ecosystem of partners and developers to help our customers get more value and flexibility from their information than ever before possible," Levie said.

Levie is especially gunning for Microsoft and its SharePoint collaboration package. The young company is evolving its offerings into a complete enterprise content management/storage/collaboration suite of cloud applications that compete directly with offerings from Microsoft and those other seasoned competitors.

Levie, also quite aware that he needs an outside developer ecosystem to help build new apps for this suite-mainly for mobile devices-said the company will launch the Box Innovation Network next month.

Box is indeed a fast-growing enterprise cloud service that now counts 7 million individual and 100,000 business customers using its service to share and manage their content in the cloud. Levie said about 250,000 new users are joining each month.

Box's traction in the large enterprise in just the last 12 months has been impressive; the service is being used in 77 percent of the Fortune 500 companies. Recent large deployment deals have been struck with Procter & Gamble, McAfee, Amylin Pharmaceuticals, and the AAA insurance and roadside service.

Box has grown from 125 to nearly 300 employees in this calendar year.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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