Cloud storage provider Box is broadening its horizons. The company announced it is expanding to Europe and plans to generate 30 percent of its revenue from the market within 18 months. Will the increased international focus give Box an edge against its competitors?

Moving Across the Pond with Box

Box is opening its new office in Central London. The site will be Box’s international headquarters, and will help the company strengthen its support, sales and marketing efforts in the region, which currently accounts for 12 to 15 percent of Box’s revenue.

Box hasn’t set up shop in London yet, but it’s already preparing to grow. The company said it is hiring aggressively to support the expansion, and plans to open additional European offices in Ireland, France and Germany.

Box’s selection for its first international site isn’t too surprising. The company already has an established customer base and doubled its European customers in the last year. Having a local presence will help Box better support and retain its existing subscribers and accelerate efforts to attract new customers. If the European market behaves similarly to the US market, we will see significant increases in revenue and enterprise customers for Box.

Box’s current VP of business operations, Greg Strickland, will lead the new European office. Box plans to hire 100 people for the London office by the end of 2013. Box is also beginning work on localized versions of its platform that supports several languages. In addition to the European expansion, Box also announced a new partnership with Hewlett-Packard (HP). HP will resell Box’s platform to small and medium business customers within the EMA (Europe, Mediterranean and Asia) market.

What This Means

The cloud storage market is cluttered with freemium services like Box. The rapid growth has made cloud storage somewhat of a commodity. The companies that survive will need to differentiate themselves and attract new, paying customers. Box and many of its competitors are racing to find those new customers in the enterprise.

Box’s move to Europe is wise, but it’s not enough to cement the company’s role as the cloud storage provider for the enterprise. Traditional enterprise vendors like EMC, IBM and HP now offer cloud storage specifically designed for enterprise needs. Box is still very much a consumer company with a few enterprise features bolted on, and that's just not good enough.