Box, a popular Web-based storage service that has 4 million consumer and 180,000 business customers but has yet to make a profit after nine years in business, breathed a sigh of relief July 7 when it obtained a $150 million venture capital boost from private equity firm TPG.
The Los Altos, Calif.-based Web services company, which offers collaboration tools and other enterprise apps in addition to its signature online storage, has been talking about going public for more than a year. In fact, it had aimed for April of this year to do it but abandoned the idea.
However, this latest round of funding should keep Box operating as a private company for several months longer than previously had been anticipated. The Wall Street Journal has reported that the company is planning to post its initial public offering sometime this fall.
The company, though sales have been good, hasn’t seen black ink yet. In its required Securities and Exchange Commission S-1 filing earlier this year, Box showed a net loss of $168 million from the fiscal year that ended Jan. 31.
The company has been spending money pretty liberally the last few years, acquiring some companies and moving into a large new office building in one of the most fashionable towns in Silicon Valley. Its latest buy — on June 16 — was 2-year-old Streem, a San Francisco-based startup that has developed a new way to effectively “stream” cloud content–any type of application–to users’ desktops.
Streem’s IT allows a user to mount a cloud drive onto a PC–making documents, presentations, videos and files available without the limitations of a local hard disk and effectively turning the cloud into an “unlimited” drive.
In May 2013, Box bought HTML5 developer tool provider Crocodoc. Crocodoc’s cloud-based service converts Microsoft Office and PDF documents into HTML5 code for viewing in browsers.
Box obtained a $100 million venture transfusion in November 2013, another $81 million in 2011, and has banked a total of $546.1 million in VC funding over its nine-year history. It is now valuated at $2 billion.
Box is competing with companies such as Dropbox, EMC Mozy, CommVault and a spate of others in the enterprise cloud storage market. Dropbox is also planning an IPO, probably for later this year.