Last Friday’s long-anticipated announcement that Sillicon Valley consumer-turned-professional cloud storage company Box would finally be going public marks a significant step in the maturing of the cloud file sharing and storage market.
The nine-year-old firm was supposed to be one the hottest Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) of last year. But after its filing in March, the company stepped back, citing doubts over the strength of the tech market.
Their delay ended up working to its benefit as it was prudent of Box to get their financials in order for a discerning investor market. Now it's hoping to register as many as 14.4 million shares at a price of $12 per share, and stands to be valued at around $1.5bn.
Box has been growing at a phenomenal rate (80% year-over-year), proving Box CEO and founder's determination to become the 'Dropbox for the enterprise', and it has garnered more than 20 million users from over 180,000 businesses, including 97% of the Fortune 500.
As businesses have figured out free-to-use, consumer-grade software will not keep their IP safe, companies like Box have worked to prove it's as easy to use and intuitive as its consumer counterparts, while being being heavy duty and versatile enough to take on the challenges of the enterprise.
Last year it announced extentions to its services such as BoxNotes- its answer to GoogleDocs – and developed a number of administrative features that let IT staff control how the tool is used. It has set out to offer 'seamless' integration with other enterprise apps such as Salesforce.com, Jive and Netsuite, and focused on ticking off the compliance check list with vertical industries.
But as the firm finally gives the green light on its public offering, it will be interesting to see how it will compete in an increasingle commoditised market against the likes of Microsoft and Google. So how is Box likely to fare?
Vineet Jain, CEO of Box competitor Egnyte, believes there is still a massive opportunity in this enterprise market for multiple companies to succeed, even if Egnyte takes the 'higher end' of the market.
'Box has been the most highly anticipated IPO since Alibaba,' says Jain, claiming that the impact that they will have on the tech market for the next 4-6 months will be 'tremendous', potentially sparking a '2015 enterprise IPO bull run' if they price correctly and have a successful debut.
'If they price incorrectly,' says Jain, 'it may cause a major correction in the markets and create a cooling off period for tech companies looking to go public. I am certainly hoping they do well and pave the way for a plentiful 2015.'