Whilst the major Technology News covered by the press during the day was the $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook (I may comment on that in another piece #notimpressed), for businesses around the world the new member of Aaron Levie's team is a major move, and takes it a step nearer the speculated $2 billion IPO.
How box.com has made its markProviding an enterprise-ready platform for storing content in the cloud was a combination of design, good technology and timing.
Recognising that organisations, whether public or private, would not make the physical and psychological leap to the cloud without corporate control was the foundation (and I believe the major strength) of the design. The seamless Box Sync app, in addition to the cloud based platform, makes the most of the technologies that organisations have available whilst allowing for the vagaries of internet connections. The acquisition of the HTML5 viewing and collaboration tool crocdoc means that a lack high bandwidth internet connections does not impede use of box.com. Going mainstream as the world started looking seriously at holistic corporate IT costs for the first time as the world headed into recession was just a 'perfect storm' for both the product and company.
I confess up-front that I have used Box.com since I started my business in 2012, not because it was 'free', but because it gave a corporate growth path. Whilst the 'freemium' model of "no cost until you get to a particular size or want particular features", has been central to box.com's marketing approach, it is also notable that flagship customers such as Disney paid up front for the service(s) from the start.
Realising the ambitionGraham joins box.com from SAP (a crocdoc customer), where he was the head of SuccessFactors. In Aaran's blog post regarding the appointment, the CEO states "Now it’s time to bring Box into every other enterprise in the world — helping them use their information in new ways, collaborate across boundaries, and work far more productively on new devices and platforms. And Graham is just the person to help us do this."
Those who have seen Arron speak, and follow his tweets, know he means and believes exactly what he says. That ambition requires investment well beyond the 'guesstimated' $150 million revenues for 2013. So despite the contrary tweet last year, this appears the strongest message yet that box.com is preparing to float.