Enterprise cloud storage startup Box nabs LinkedIn veteran

Online file storage service Box hires LinkedIn's Stefan Apitz as it expands operations in Europe.

Box, the online file storage service based in Los Altos, Calif., has hired Stefan Apitz as its new vice president of operations.

Apitz was the senior director of operations at LinkedIn.

The company will also open a new office in London and hire 100 employees across Europe in a bid to aggressively expand its operations. (Good thing Apitz is now on call.)

Arik Hesseldahl has more color at AllThingsD:

“We’re kind of an international company by accident,” he told me by phone last week. About 40 percent of Box’s user base is in Europe, and the continent accounts for a “double digit percentage,” of its annual revenue he says.

If you're unfamiliar with the company, it was founded by Aaron Levie to sell online data storage to companies. The service (and website) was designed to be easy for customers to navigate, bringing consumer interface and ease over the fence to the business community, whether enterprise or SMB.

For most cloud computing-based startups, a souring economic environment becomes one of opportunity as companies look to slim down expenses and become more efficient. (Given the duration of the economic downturn, you could argue, however, that there's not much water left to squeeze from this stone.) Box clients are a diverse bunch, from consumer goods giant P&G to media/entertainment titan ClearChannel to Pandora, the streaming radio service.

The company has certainly been trying. In May, it unveiled an enterprise-focused upgrade that promised improved mobile security, search tools and support for multiple e-mail domains. The idea: give businesses features missing in consumer services like Dropbox, for a price that they could never get from IBM, Oracle or EMC.

Will it work in Europe? IT spending is certainly expected to fall around the world, but if Box makes the right moves, it can catch a bunch of new business on the way down.