Shhh! Don’t tell anyone, but online file sharing company Box has reportedly (secretly) filed for its IPO.
The story was “broken” by Quartz, reported on by The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and all but verified by Forbes.
Read on because we have reasons to believe what they’ve written is true. Reasons that no one else seems to have written about thus far.
For its part, Box has very little to say about its impending IPO -- they are keeping an uncharacteristically straight face. Here’s what they are telling the press: “We don’t have anything to share at this time. We’re focused on continuing to build our business and expand our customer relationships globally.”
The nameless money man/men who we suspect are talking to the press are likely to be in New York, not Silicon Valley; they seem to be spilling the beans rather liberally. They seem to have planted the first seed with Mark DeCambre, who covers Wall Street for Quartz, a newish web magazine whose focus is finance, not tech.
Referring to the IPO filing, they later told Forbes, “This was always the plan, to go this route and do it quick and super silent a la Twitter. It happened in the last week, it was days ago.”
A different source later told Forbes, “Morgan Stanley will be lead left on the IPO, and Box is actually hoping to go public as early as April, subject to market conditions.”
Why the Silence from Box?
Remember Facebook’s disastrous IPO?Silicon Valley has apparently learned a lesson that that’s not the way to go, so Box is likely following in Twitter’s footsteps by exercising the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act instead.JOBS allows young companies to confidentially file for their IPOs, meaning that they don’t have to reveal their numbers until 21 days before they start actively courting investors.
Box now has time to test the waters.
A Leak or a Plant?
And that’s probably why one of Box’s early investors (or bankers) “leaked” the news to Quartz (versus TechCrunch, GigaOm or CMSWire). DeCambre, the reporter who wrote the initial article, is a veteran when it comes to covering Wall street, he spent 10 years writing about it for the NY Post; he has connections and knows how to break news and get it read by the right people.
DeCambre might have gotten his tip from someone close to Box’s bigger investors like Andreessen Horowitz, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Bessemer Venture partners, etc. (note: this is pure conjecture on our part).
If that’s the case, then it was a smart plan because all of us are now talking about the IPO and what a great future Levie and Box has.
In CMSWire’s Tweet Stream
Earlier this month, CMSWire published an article about Box’s iPhone and iPad app hitting the top 10 list in Apple’s app store. Levie had tweeted about it, but that tweet has since disappeared. But there’s one other notable tweet that hasn’t:
Great new Box app! Is Box Crossing the Chasm? by @actbrilliant http://t.co/3YdzA0Vhs3 via @cmswire— Tim Draper (@TimDraper) January 19, 2014
Draper is one of Box’s early investors.
Levie’s Tweet Stream
Box co-founder and CEO Aaron Levie, a wisecrack with a cult-like following Twitter, has had some interesting things to say about the Enterprise tech market of late:
Enterprise software is a $300B market based on tools built for the industrial era. This number will be dwarfed in the information era.— Aaron Levie (@levie) January 25, 2014
Most of the tech for every industry to become software-defined hasn't been created yet. This is the big opportunity over next decade.— Aaron Levie (@levie) January 26, 2014
Levie’s Public Persona
Levie has made quite a bit of news of his own of late. We referred to it briefly in the article we wrote about Syncplicity earlier this week. Levie’s moments in the spotlight include being selected as Entrepreneur of the Year by Inc. Magazine, he was featured in Business Insider, "Here's The Moment When Box's Young CEO, Aaron Levie, Really Grew Up."
The entrepreneur’s public appearances aren’t hurting either. He’ll be keynoting at Digital Entertainment World next month and at Ignite in Las Vegas at the end of March. And then, of course, there’s Box’s World Tour.
Enterprise Content Management Goes Big Time
Levie has contended that Box is an Enterprise Content Management company in the past; in fact, it has a Cloud Content Management offering. But whether it will play that up when it goes to market is anyone’s guess. Right now, with its “Dropbox for Business” persona, many suspect the company is worth $2 billion. Not unreasonable when you consider that during Dropbox’s recent round of investment it was valued at $3 billion. But then again, Google just sold Motorola for that amount.
Fun to Watch
The next few months in enterprise software will be fun to watch. We haven’t had as ambitious and charismatic CEO around for quite a long time. And Box’s story is Hollywood sweet— the company was founded in a dorm room, Levie’s cofounder Dylan Smith gambled online to raise the company’s initial capital, and the company’s earliest employees (many of who still work there today), are Levie’s friends from high school, not college.
We say, all eyes on Box.
Title image by Robert Scoble (Flickr) via a Creative Commons license