Box Lands Another $81 Million in VC Funding

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 J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...