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Finance

Box readies 22 January IPO

Box is finally ready to make its splash on the stock market with a float set for 22 January or thereabouts. The online enterprise collaboration and file sharing company has filed updated documents with the SEC and executives will now embark on a roadshow to attract investors on the eve of its initial public offering.

Box has experienced a lengthy hiatus since announcing IPO plans in March 2014 as executives have waited for the right moment to make the move to become a public company. The float will be closely watched as an indicator of sentiment over tech stocks but recent floats such as that of Hadoop firm Hortonworks suggest that Box’s timing could be good.

Box has revenues of about $225m and is growing at a rate of about 80% per year. The company has about 44,000 paying corporate customers and 32 million registered users. High spending on sales and marketing has raised eyebrows but others see the investment as a sign of the company’s serious intent to build a large company equipped to beat off intense competition in the sector that it sees as a $25bn market.

In its filing Box states that “we do not expect to be profitable for the foreseeable future”. However that is common in the tech sector and Box has ambitions to do for content stacks what Salesforce has done for CRM, Workday for employee management and NetSuite for back-office and e-commerce tasks.

California-based Box, which emphasises the security of its service, has tough competition from relative newcomers such as Dropbox, which is trying to add business credentials to its consumer core, to document creation and sharing giants such as Microsoft, Google, EMC and Citrix.

The stock market debut should add yet more awareness of the company and its youthful, loquacious CEO Aaron Levie.

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Martin Veitch

Martin Veitch is Contributing Editor for IDG Connect

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