Ashton Kutcher Backs Box
Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary are placing their bets on Box, the enterprise storage startup helmed by Inc. entrepreneur of the year Aaron Levie.
According to The Los Angeles Times, Kutcher and Oseary, the manager for U2 and Madonna, are backing Box through their A-Grade investment fund. The investment, the Times reports, was part of a $100 million funding round in December that valued the company around $2 billion.
A-Grade, which has invested in Spotify, Airbnb, and Uber, is known for its Hollywood connections, which could help Box expand its business. "Guy and I have been working in the entertainment industry for decades," Kutcher tells the Times. "We've worked in music, film, television, and advertising. We have relationships across a spectrum of businesses that are Box clients and/or could be."
The hope, Levie says, is that Box will become "the software layer for Hollywood," which is among the largest industries it serves. Among Box's entertainment clients are Netflix, NBC Sports, and Sony Music.
Although Levie remains mum about an initial public offering, he confidentially filed paperwork earlier this year. The company faces stiff competition in the cloud storage space from well-financed startups such as Dropbox, valued at $10 billion, and Microsoft, whose new chief executive Satya Nadella believes the cloud will be the most disruptive force in technology.
JILL KRASNY | Staff Writer
Jill Krasny is a staff writer for Inc. magazine, where she covers the intersection of entertainment and startups. Prior to Inc., she was a writer for MTV and Esquire and an editor at TheStreet. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a degree in communication. She lives in New York City.