Box Raises $150 Million Ahead of IPO
Box Inc. has raised $150 in funding from private equity firm TPG and hedge fund Coatue Management, according to the Wall Street Journal. The financing, which the Journal noted is rare for a company preparing to go public, values the web storage startup at about $2.4 billion.
The funding is significant for two reasons: Not only does it value Box slightly higher than last December, when it took funds at a valuation of $2 billion, it buys the startup time as it waits for the right moment to hold an initial public offering.
Box filed for an IPO in March, but delayed those plans, the Journal explains, "to wait out a period of weakening demand for U.S. technology stocks." The startup will likely go public sometime between Labor Day and Thanksgiving, when the IPO market tends to pick up--and when companies with high-cost business models don't turn off investors.
There's no denying Box has a charismatic leader in Aaron Levie, but the startup remains unprofitable due to its heavy spending on sales and marketing. Given Levie's far-reaching goals for the startup, this makes sense. In 2012, he told Inc. he hoped to more than double sales, "to go international, and to shift from only direct sales to also working with partners to sell our products."
Clearly Box did well on that front--and the next year Levie was named Inc.'s entrepreneur of the year. But it still took recent steps to rein in its spending. According to the Journal, the company "burned through $92 million more in cash than its business brought during the year ended Jan. 31."
For now, at least, Box has more than $500 million to play with from a range of investors, including Draper Fisher Jurvetson, General Atlantic, and Bessember Venture Partners.
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.