Box raises $81M as CEO looks to ‘out-innovate’ Microsoft

Aaron Levie

Box, the online cloud storage company that was started in Seattle in 2005 by Aaron Levie and Dylan Smith, just announced that it has raised $81 million from Salesforce.com, SAP Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, NEA and others. TechCrunch puts the deal at a $600 million valuation, a painful reminder of a fast-growing company that got away from Seattle.

The deal had been rumored for several weeks, and now that it is done CEO Levie is throwing down the gauntlet on Microsoft.  In a press release, he notes:

“Businesses of all sizes are moving their information and collaboration to the cloud, and with this new capital we’ll support their transition by continuing to aggressively out-innovate legacy players like Microsoft,” he said.

It is a bit unusual for a company to call out its competitor in a press release. But Box has been pretty adamant about its attacks on Microsoft and its SharePoint service.

Total capital raised by Box now stands at $162 million, with previous investors such as Andreessen Horowitz and Draper Fisher Jurvetson Growth also participating in the new round.

“Box is poised to redefine the content management and collaboration industry by challenging the enterprise status quo and building a powerful, open ecosystem of partners,” said Byron Deeter, partner at Bessemer Venture Partners

Previously on GeekWire: Box.net: A case study in why Seattle needs to hold onto young tech talent

  • Guest

    “as CEO looks to ‘out-innovate’ Microsoft”

    Not exactly a stretch goal.

  • Ftpservice

    It’s an ftp service people..talk about a bubble. 

  • Ftpservice

    It’s an ftp service people..talk about a bubble. 

    • Guest

      Yeah, I’m not sure I see their long term competitive advantage or moat. But for now they have been securing deals and growing quickly. Combine that with the current “cloud” craze, and you get the VC funds.

  • Sarah_gilbert

    Out-innovate in stock proce?

  • Sarah_gilbert

    Go to http://www.box.net and you will find 3 big logos (MS Word, MS Excel and Skype at the bottom), and he wants to out innovate them? He dies with that. First he needs to out-innovate Corel, then Zohos, then Dropbox, the Google, and still he will fail. Collaboration is MSFT bread & butter. 10 yrs. back, a toy was launched called SharePoint 2001. At that time, collab market was owned by Plumtree, Broadvision, and Vinnette, and more…Today, do you find any of those? There is no innovation is Box.net. Just putting docs in the cloud over SSL is 10 yrs old technology.

    • Guest

      Subscribing to news articles presented in a news feed is 15-year-old technology, and yet Facebook and Twitter are trillion-dollar businesses in the making. Just because something was done once doesn’t mean it can’t not be redone never again.

  • Guest

    Congratulations to Box on this new valuation! My friend Randall recently comicked about how hard it is to send files in 2011. Box is the solution. http://www.xkcd.com/949/

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  • To the Box naysayers…

    I guess those 70% of the Fortune 500 that have purchased Box.net are just plain stupid to be paying for 10 yr old technology that hasn’t a prayer of surviving.

    • Guest

      Do stats like this actually mean anything? 

      Fortune 500 companies are huge. Does purchasing mean deploying  to thousands of users globally? Does it mean a couple of small independently managed trial installations? Or does it mean any purchase, down to just one person in the Kansas City sales office who bought it to share a few spreadsheets with her boss in Chicago? 

      If it’s the first definition then it really is impressive. If it’s anything close to the third than it’s actually more remarkable that there are 150 monster companies where not one single person among thousands of employees has purchased the product. In the absence of more details–I’ve only seen the claim on a billboard–it’s not unreasonable to suspect they are counting by the third definition.

    • Guest

      McDonald’s is a Fortune 500 company. A fry cook with a Box account to trade Linkin Park MP3s with his weed dealer counts as “a Fortune 500 company that have purchased Box.”

  • Just_saw_this

    “…Forbes reports that Box
    turned down a $600 million acquisition offer earlier this year from Citrix
    Systems…”