Summarizing BoxWorks in Three Words: Scale, Apps, IPO

By Jim Lundy

We attended Box’s third annual customer and analyst BoxWorks conference this week, which was held at the Hilton in San Francisco. It was a far different event than last year in a myriad of ways, particularly in size and scope.

Box is on a mission and it showed this year. This blog post summarizes our findings.

Box, Boxworks, and Scale

Box is a different company than last year and the event was different, too. The Boxworks event was three times larger than last year and the buzz made it feel like you were at Dreamforce. For example, I showed up at 8:10 am on Tuesday in the Partner Pavilion and the place was mobbed. Sure, that was where breakfast was being served, but most of the people we saw were at the partner booths talking things up.

The other thing about Box is that it platform scales much more so than it did even a year ago. This was evidenced by interviews we conducted with some Box customers. One firm is importing up to 35,000 images per month having to do with invoices and purchase orders. We didn’t hear those stories twelve months ago.

Partner Apps and Box OneCloud

Box is now claiming up to 700 partner apps in its content ecosystem that it calls Box OneCloud. This is not as many as Microsoft has, but it is far more than what Box had last year. Many of their partners were at BoxWorks and what we observed was many end-user customers having in-depth discussions with partners.

Partner ecosystems are becoming the norm for cloud-based software solutions and we have just published research on this topic (See Enterprise App Stores, Start with a Strategy).

Box on the Road to an IPO

Box has too much money invested in it not to IPO and this year, compared to other years, the answers to analyst questions were more careful, thoughtful, and rehearsed. Some questions, such as average deal size, were not answered, so one has to wonder if Box has gone overboard on being overly cautious on what they share.

That said, the big story was the growth in customers and in revenues. While revenues were not disclosed, we are estimating that 2013 may come in at five times our estimate for revenues of 2012, which we had pegged around U.S. $30 million.

Much of the success Box is having can be attributed to Whitney Bouck, the General Manager of the Box Enterprise division. Whitney is quickly becoming a Silicon Valley legend, since she is now proving that she can execute in content management just like she did when she was CMO at EMC Documentum, a leader in Enterprise Content Management (ECM).

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that Box did a lot of pipeline building last year and in the first half of 2013. It is showing up in results. The overall question for Box is, will the growth of other services, such as Microsoft Office 365, slow them down? So far, the answer is no.