Cloud collaboration and storage company Box.net has landed $48 million in new capital that the company says it will leverage to double the size of its staff and ramp up development of new mobile applications.
The funding round is Box’s fourth, and was led by Meritech Capital Partners. New venture capital participants in the round include Andreessen Horowitz, Emergence Capital Partners. Previous investors Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Scale Venture Partners and US Venture Partners also participated in the round.
A report in the Wall Street Journal quotes Box founder and CEO Aaron Levie saying that big competitors like Microsoft are not innovative enough when it comes to the cloud.
The 26-year-old Levie, who co-founded Box in 2005 while a student at the University of Southern California, said the ease with which individual business users and ‘nimble’ corporate technology departments can adopt new software tools via the Web is leading to ‘cracks and gaps that are going to create huge…opportunities for guys like Box.’
Box.net’s simple, affordable approach to allowing companies and individuals to store and collaborate in the cloud is indeed innovative. The company lured most of its 60,000 business customers with a free, limited version of its software. As users grew to like it and it spread through organizations, Box started to charge monthly rates and unlocked additional features.
That approach should continue to pay off, providing Box pays close attention to the types of features companies seek as they store and access more of their documents and data on remote servers—and provided Box is able to continues successfully converting free users to paid.