Box CEO: Acquisitions, Security And Developer Tools Will Strengthen Our Platform


CEO Aaron Levie says customers will see Box less as an app and more as a platform in the future

Box has always attempted to differentiate itself from its competitors by stressing it offers a platform, not just a sync and share service for content.

However, CEO Aaron Levie said at the company’s ‘Box World Tour’ in London that this emphasis would become more even obvious in the coming years, citing recent acquisitions and product launches, such as the Box Developer Edition and Box for Industry, of examples of its focus.

The Box Platform

Box Boxworks 2014 (3)“The world is changing dramatically for tech companies and our customers. When we think of our strategy it’s important to think about the landscape,” he explained. “You’re seeing all this disruption from new devices, new employees entering the workforce, new ways of working and interacting with your device. This is driving some fundamental changes.”

Levie said the company would make its technology available to third parties to help them create new products by embedding Box’s creations seamlessly into the back end of applications.

“For the past ten years, we’ve been building up a product for individuals to securely share and collaborate on information anywhere in the world. Today we’re still predominantly seen as an application. You’re going to see us more and more over time as a platform company.”

Security and acquisitions

Levie also said security would also be a priority for Box, especially as it pushes into regulated industries like finance, and would look to acquire companies that can help it secure its platform. He said the size of a potential acquisition was not important but quipped his firm is “not in the bidding for Salesforce.”

“You’re going to see a huge push in security,” he said. “That’s an area we will be inquisitive if there are interesting assets or teams.

“We don’t have any particular emphasis on the size of acquisitions. We have very high requirements around team and talent. We look for technology hats going to advance our roadmap.”

However he did quip that his firm was “not in the bidding for Salesforce.

Regulated industries

Box has been keen to adapt its platform for regulated industries in recent times, most notably with the launch of Enterprise Key Management (EKM) for companies that want to manage their own encryption keys.

“Financial services has been slower to adopt the cloud because of an unclear regulatory environment,” said Levie. “Financial services has been slower to adopt the cloud because of an unclear regulatory environment. The market in the last few years has become much more ripe.”

The company’s co-founder also confirmed that Box was looking at data centres outside the US as it expands, but said it was more focussed on offering a seamless experience for customers, something which various storage zones might complicate.

“We don’t want users to run into problems,” he explained. “So far this has not been an impediment to our customers. For most of them it’s important we have a global platform first.”

Box announced three new customers at the World Tour event – Ritual Cosmetics, the University of Dundee and Lancaster University.

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