The current bet: enterprise software goes all-cloud

Tech investors are steering their money away from Angry Birds-style apps and toward the enterprise.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

After having exhausted all possibilities with consumer couponing, clouding and collaborating, Silicon Valley seems to be turning its attention to the enterprise. 

And the current top dog in the Valley is Aaron Levie, co-founder and CEO of Box. Dan Lyons of ReadWriteCloud recently sat down with Levie, whose company offers cloud-based storage and sharing software.

Marc Andreessen, tech entrepreneur of entrepreneurs -- and an investor in Box -- has been predicting for some time that enterprise software would be the in thing -- both cloud and on-premises.

Levie predicts that we're at the beginning of a major shift in IT architecture -- away from on-premises solutions from big, established vendors and toward the "new cloud architecture." The way Levie sees it, an entire enterprise can now be run on cloud solutions -- "NetSuite for ERP, Salesforce.com for CRM, Zendesk for help-desk management, Workday for human resources, Domo and GoodData for business intelligence, Okta and Ping Identity for identity management, AirWatch and MobileIron for mobile device management — and Box for cloud-based storage and sharing."

Interestingly, these cloud vendors also use one another's solutions. Box, for one, is a NetSuite partner.

Levie sees cloud-based solutions reaching smaller companies underserved and unserved by traditional enterprise software vendors. Remember, this is where both Microsoft and Apple started back in the 1980s.

Silicon Valley investors are betting heavily on his prediction. Lyons says Box has raised $285 million in venture funding, including a huge $125 million round in July that valued the company at $1.2 billion. Box now has 650 employees, and its solutions are used by 14 million people inside 140,000 companies, including 92% of the Fortune 500.

(Thumbnail photo: Joe McKendrick.)

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