Box Inc., the Web-storage provider with more than 140,000 business customers, is planning an initial public offering in 2014, Chief Executive Officer Aaron Levie said.
“The kind of business that we’re in is certainly well-suited to be public,” Levie said in an interview at Bloomberg’s San Francisco office. While the company had previously aimed for an IPO this year, Levie said that ``2013 is a long shot'' as the company invests in growth.
Box, a Los Altos, California-based provider of online-storage and collaboration software, is betting that demand for enterprise-technology stocks will remain buoyant into next year. While some consumer Web companies, including Groupon Inc. and Zynga Inc., have foundered since their IPOs, business-software makers Workday Inc. and Splunk Inc. have each surged more than 80 percent since 2012 public-market debuts.
Co-founded by Levie in 2005, Box has withstood rising competition from larger companies, such as Microsoft Corp., as well as fellow startups, including Dropbox Inc. Box has attracted more than $280 million in venture capital from investors including General Atlantic LLC, Andreessen Horowitz, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Salesforce.com Inc.
Levie said in the interview yesterday that the company intends to grow to close to 1,000 employees in the next year, up from about 670 now, as it expands in countries including Japan, Germany, France and the Netherlands. Growth in Brazil and Australia is also on Box’s agenda, Levie said.
San Francisco Office
The CEO expects to hire a half-dozen executives for senior management roles, including an international chief. Box moved about 100 sales people this week into a new office in San Francisco, he said.
Evernote Corp., an online note-taking and document-storage service, said in August that it plans to hold off on an IPO until at least 2015 while working to convert users of its free product into paid subscribers.
For Box, a market debut may come sooner.
“Because we don’t want to sell, we will have to go public,” Levie said.