Box eyes a new round at $1bn valuation

Contact: Brenon Daly

Box is back in the market. Several sources have indicated that the enterprise content management and collaboration startup is currently looking to raise $100m in new funding, on top of the roughly $160m it has already pulled in. Box’s valuation is said to be north of $1bn.

That’s a heady valuation for a company that’s likely to finish this year at about $60m, according to sources. The round (assuming it does get raised) comes at a time when competition is heating up for Box. For instance, Citrix has made a series of acquisitions to piece together an enterprise collaboration and file-sharing platform. (Those small deals came after Citrix was rumored to have missed out on acquiring Box at a price thought to be roughly $600m.)

Likewise, VMware has used small purchases to bolster its Project Octopus while its parent, EMC, recently reached for synchronization startup Syncplicity to expand its collaboration offering. Other tech giants have rolled out their own collaboration platforms through organic development, such as Google’s Drive, Microsoft’s SkyDrive and even Apple’s iCloud. (Additionally, Microsoft is adding much more cloud functionality to its SharePoint product in its next release, due out late this year or early next year.)

Box – along with dozens of other cloud- and drive-themed rival offerings – effectively provides centralized storage as well as a shared file system for all of the documents at an enterprise. As we see it, the seven-year-old company is currently facing two main challenges, and is likely to put at least some of its new funding toward these.

First, since Box is competing as an enterprise software vendor, it needs to hire more sales agents to land enterprise accounts. We understand that the company has added dozens of experienced enterprise sales agents and is looking to bring on dozens more. Second, Box needs to establish itself as a platform on which other software shops can develop additional applications and enhancements. Earlier this year, the company introduced a new API – its first in four years – to draw in more developers.

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