Box files for IPO, looks to raise $250 million

Steven Loeb · March 24, 2014 · Short URL:

While the company has doubled its revenue in the last year, it is also seeing mounting losses

The rumors have now been confirmed: Box is going public!

The online storage company, which filed its S-1 form with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday, is seeking to raise $250 million in its IPO.

As expected, Box took advantage of a provision in the Jumpstart Our Business Startup (JOBS) Act, which allows companies to file confidentially to go public without letting anyone know about it. Twitter took advantage of it last year, mere months before its IPO date, as did Grubhub.

Only companies with less than $1 billion in revenue can file this way. The JOBS Act loosened regulations for what it called "emerging growth companies," which only applies to companies that make that much in revenue.

According to the bill, companies are allowed to file for an IPO confidentially, meaning that they do not have to disclose anything about the company until 21 days before the start of its road show, where it will have to market itself to investors, if the company ever even decides to have one.

Box will list as "Box" (naturally) on the New York Stock Exchange. 

The point of doing this is to shop the company around, and get a sense of the market, without having to worry about public scrutiny over its financials.

Speaking of which, with the filing the company's financials have now been revealed, and they show a company with growing revenue, but mounting losses as well.

The company more than doubled its revenue, ending the fiscal year on January 31, 2014 with $124 million, up from $58.8 million the year before. At the same time, the company saw a net loss of $168.6 million for the same 12-month period, up from a loss of $112.6 million for the year prior.

Those losses are primarily being driven by Box's sales and marketing expenses, which added up to over $171 million last year, up from $99 million in 2012. That is nearly four times as much as it spent on its next highest expense: research and development, which only cost the company $45 million.

Box has now a total accumulated deficit of $361.2 million.

Founded in 2005, Box now has over 34,000 paying organizations, and over 25 million registered users. It is seeing over 2.5 billion content interactions every three months. While it started as a consumer-focused service, it pivoted to zero in on the enterprise. Clearly, it was a wise move.

Aaron Levie, Box's dynamic and indefatigable co-founder and CEO, gave a Vator Splash talk in 2012, sharing his lessons and advice on how and why he made that decision. (Editor's Note: Join other leading CEOs and founders at Splash Oakland this May 6-7. Register for Spring Sale tickets now.)

In all, the company has raised $409 million from DFJ, Scale Venture Partners, US Venture Partners, Meritech Capital Partners, Emergence Capital Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners, Salesforce, and General Atlantic. It most recently raised a $100 million funding round at a $2 billion valuation.

Box is one of many tech company that are looking to take advantage of a rebounding IPO market and have already gone public, while Grubhub, and Candy Crush maker King, which is looking to raise $500 million, have made their filings public.

Other companies rumored to getting ready for an IPO, include Wayfair, which raised $157 million at a $2 billion valutation; DocuSign, which raised $85 million in the last couple weeks; Square, which is reportedly raising $200 million at a $5 billion valuation; and Dropbox, which raised $350 million of a $450 million round at a $10 billion valuation. 

Other potential candidates whose names are frequently mentioned include Airbnb, Zendesk, Uber,Lending ClubZooskEvernoteBox, Gilt, Jawbone and Pinterest.

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