Following months of speculation, Box files for IPO

Up until now, Box’s estimated worth has been pegged between $1.2 billion and $3 billion. The enterprise software darling is looking to raise $250 million.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor
Co-founders Smith and Levie at Box HQ. November 11 2013. Credit: Josh Miller, CNET.

Undoubtedly of the most highly-anticipated enterprise tech IPOs of the year, Box is officially moving toward becoming a publicly-traded company.

The enterprise cloud storage provider affirmed via Twitter on Monday afternoon that it had filed the initial paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Here's a glance at the state of Box, by the numbers, based on the S-1 filing:

  • 25 million+ registered users as of January 31
  • 34,000+ companies paying to use the platform
  • 972 employees as of January 31, 2014 -- up from 369 at the same point in 2012
  • Revenue climbed 111 percent year-over-year to $124.2 million by the end of January 2014
  • But there have been some notable net losses along the way: $50.3 million, $112.6 million and $168.6 million year-over-year for the 12-month time frames ending December 31, 2011, January 31, 2013 and 2014, respectively.

Anticipation for this particular IPO has been growing steadily over the last year since co-founder and CEO Aaron Levie revealed plans to Bloomberg in January 2013. Rumors started to pick up during the fall, reaching a fever pitch at the end of January 2014 with speculation over a secret filing.

A few weeks ago, Bloomberg then reported Box was planning to double its revenue this year to more than $200 million, with Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, and JPMorgan Chase working the IPO.

Those financial institutions, among a few others, did indeed headline the S-1 filing.

Describing itself as "emerging growth company," Box is following Twitter's path and headed to the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol, "BOX." The enterprise software darling is looking to raise $250 million.

Also demonstrated by Twitter's IPO filing in September, a company seeking to go public can file confidentially if it is valued at less than $1 billion, under the Jumpstart Our Businesses ACT, a.k.a. the JOBS act.

Up until now, Box’s estimated worth has been pegged between $1.2 billion and $3 billion, based on a Wall Street Journal assessment back in December. That was amid completing a Series F round of venture capital fundraising, garnering $100 million.

The Los Altos, Calif.-based company was founded in 2005 by Levie and chief financial officer Dylan Smith.

[For the full origin story behind Box, head over to ZDNet sister site TechRepublic for the complete account about how Levie and his childhood friends founded the software company and continue to run it harmoniously to this day.]

Simplified from Box.net to Box, the company has since grown to employ nearly 1,000 people, most of whom are based in Silicon Valley. Additional sales offices have popped up in San Francisco and London with international expansion continuing throughout Europe and soon Asia.

Growing its repertoire of services from much more than just cloud-based storage space, Box.com has emerged as a fully-fledged collaboration and productivity platform of apps and services for the enterprise. With more than 200,000 businesses already subscribed, Box asserts that it serves 97 percent of the Fortune 500.

Box’s eye on the enterprise is what typically separates itself from more consumer-focused software startups and private companies, such as Dropbox and even Evernote -- although both of which (among others) have stepped up their game in serving business customers.

Box has also built out a platform of third-party apps and integrations with the likes of Oracle and NetSuite as well as partners/sometimes competitors like Google and Salesforce.com.

The company has also proceeded with tackling individual verticals one at a time, leaping into the healthcare IT space last year followed by legal-focused apps and security certifications.

In accordance with a strategy fusing industry partnerships with many homegrown products, Box has also made a few calculated acquisitions over the years.

Those include online document tool maker Increo Solutions in 2009, iOS app Folders and document embedding service Crocodoc in May 2013, and dLoop in November 2013 for stepping up data analytics and security.

Box also made a number of leadership additions lately, most recently with the appointment of Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior to the company's board, bringing the total tally up to nine members.

Earlier this month, the Los Altos, Calif.-headquartered brand revealed it had tapped Aneesh Chopra, first CTO of the United States, and Glen Tullman, former CEO of electronic healthcare solutions provider Allscripts, as special advisors for consultation around the cloud company's evolving healthcare industry game plan.

One of the more attention-grabbing recruits who signed on last summer was former Microsoft exec Steven Sinofsky, who served as president of the Windows division before he left the Redmond, Wash.-based corporation in 2012.

In the S-1 registration statement, Box acknowledged Microsoft as well as Citrix, Dropbox, EMC, and Google as its chief competitors in the cloud industry.

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