In the weeks surrounding Box’s initial public offering announcement, the enterprise file sync and share vendor (EFSS) and its founder, Aaron Levie, couldn’t make enough news.
There was a mention of Levie’s appearance at SXSW and his name-dropping about Ashton Kutcher being an investor. And there was boxdev, Box’s Developers conference, which intended to build a community of 1,000 plus developers and give them the tools that they need to build rich solutions around Box.
While each of the aforementioned went off fabulously well, the IPO announcement sandwiched in between left the reputations of both Levie and Box less than optimal.
Why? Because Box’s S-1 filing revealed the company is spending much more than it is making — specifically, for every one dollar the company takes in, it spends $1.38.
The Scorecard So Far
Even Levie’s biggest supporters and friends, like GigaOm founder Om Malik, called Box’s financials “horrid.”
Now if Levie was a geeky genius or someone who just wanted to build beautiful experiences, like Tumblr’s David Karp, Box’s investors could sit him down and give him a few lessons in accounting. But chances are that he doesn’t need them, and that, even if he did, Box co-founder Dylan Smith, who is Box’s CFO, could provide them.
It’s probably safe to assume that Levie knows exactly what he is doing … even though he’s not talking about it.
It could be that Levie’s lips need to stay zipped until Box’s pre-IPO roadshow begins, which, by most accounts, should have started last week.
But a few things have happened since the S-1 filing. Tech stocks, which were flying high, have taken some dives. Competitor Dropbox announced the re-architecture of Dropbox for Business and added features which not only make it more Enterprise-grade, but also make it easy for Dropbox’s users to add and seamlessly use employer-owned accounts.
And EMC- owned EFSS provider, Syncplicity, has won a few moments in the spotlight — Jeetu Patel, the company’s General Manager, appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box and revealed the company has been named the fastest growing EFSS vendor by IDC (and that EMC pays its large salesforce twice as much for selling Syncplicity than other EMC products). Patel has also been featured as the subject matter expert that Fortune Magazine used in an article about Box .
While much of the press, at least until now, hasn’t listed Syncplicity as a Box competitor, the word is now out, and EMC spells Enterprise, security and safety to most CIOs.