Give a short overview of Box.
Aaron Levie and Dylan Smith founded Box.Net in 2005. Box is a web-based service that is easy to use which help Box quickly gained customers. After an investor provided cash of $350,000, Box began to take off and moved to Silicon Valley, and in July 2006. Box used a web-based distribution model, Software as a Service that users could pay a subscription fee rather than paying large amount of money. Levie and Smith wanted to grow faster, so in 2006 they announced a “freemium” model. Customers received 1 gigabyte of cloud storage for free. Although, at the time it was a new strategy and some investors considered it a risky move but the freemium model became more common, and also let Box’s consumer base grew rapidly.
In 2007 there was more competition, so Levie and Smith decided to re-evaluate their focus on the consumer cloud storage market. They decided to alter the strategy and focus on the enterprise market. In 2008, small and medium-sized companies became their main customers, and in 2009 larger companies began to use Box. By 2011 Box began gaining traction with the enterprise market. Box enabled clients to access and share data on their mobile devices through iOS, Android and Windows Phone systems. Levie and Smith understood that larger enterprise software companies could begin to offer similar products but in lower prices or for free. Therefore, Box developed an all-inclusive enterprise platform that companies could access their data and do workplace collaboration, content management and editing.
In 2013, Box began to reposition itself and emphasize its platform in addition to its application. An important step for Box was integrating its portfolio with large tech companies such as Google, Salesforce.com and Netsuite. Box continually innovates new ways to utilize the platform and persuade customers to build their data on top of it.
In March 2014, Box filed for an IPO, but they postponed the IPO until July. Box raised the total investment to over $560 million and was one of the fastest-growing software companies in the world. To continue the growth, Andrew Smith’s main go-to-market business challenges was to accelerate existing growth engines, and he was constantly looking for new products and markets.
Describe Box’s strategy. How does Box compete?
At the beginning, Box used freemium model that gave every customer 1 gigabyte of storage for free and this strategy became successful, and also let Box’s grow quickly. And then, they decided to change strategy and focus on the enterprise market in 2008, Box started to focus on small and medium-sized companies, and only in one year that larger companies began to use Box. In 2011 Box changed their business strategy again which was gaining traction in the enterprise market. Box developed an all-inclusive enterprise platform for the companies could access their data and do their business on Box platform. Finally, Box integrated its portfolio with top tech companies such as Google, and Netsuite with this new strategy Box provides more services to their clients and also creates energy that help Box gain more competitive.
Describe the culture at Box. What are its basic values and operating principles?
The culture at Box is having employees who were self-starters and entrepreneurial and who wanted to grow their careers quickly and make a big impact. Box is teaching their employees the skills that they will need one day they want to leave and start their own business. Box believed that their employees are not going to spend their entire life at this place because a part of the Box culture is to help them develop future career.
Second, at the beginning almost all Box employees were under 30 years old. However, in 2014 the average age was 33 because Box was more heterogeneous than before. Furthermore, the company started put focus on employees’ families since more elder employee joined the company. Moreover, they did not have an employee engagement survey before since they felt it went against Box’s entrepreneurial culture. But they created an employee engagement survey called Soapbox, which was accepted by everyone later. In short, Box’s culture also embraces changing and diversity that gave them more strength to face the fast changing environment.
Next, Box was started in a small room and throughout growth, Box had a bigger office but they did not add private offices to its workspace because the open door policy. The company culture was designed to increase collaboration and transparency. As the company grew bigger and bigger, Box was still trying to preserve this collaborative and transparency culture even the internal communication had changed. Because they want to preserve some of the customs that involved everyone.