Box files for $250M IPO, warns not to expect profits

The online storage company has 25 million customers, but its losses grew last year.

By MSN Money producer Mar 24, 2014 9:18PM

Laptop in the clouds - Buena Vista Images/Getty Images
By Brian Solomon, Forbes Forbes

Prepare to think inside the $BOX.

Hot online storage startup Box publicly filed for a $250 million IPO on Monday afternoon as it seeks to capitalize on a growing customer list of businesses that rely on the cloud to do more and more. In its SEC filing, Box boasts 25 million registered users and 34,000 paying organizations.

Revenues for the year ending January 31, 2013, were $124.2 million, up 111 percent from $58.8 million the year prior. However, losses also widened from $112.6 million to $168.6 million over the same period as Box poured more money into growth. The prospectus noted the company's history of losses as a risk factor, saying "We do not expect to be profitable for the foreseeable future."

About 25 percent of Box is owned by venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, one of the company's first investors. The second-largest holder is US Venture Partners, with 13 percent. Co-founder and CEO Aaron Levie owns only 4.1 percent. It is unknown at the current time if or how much insiders will sell in the IPO.

In a letter included in the SEC filing, Levie name-checked a number of other successful tech companies he hopes Box will emulate: "We design our software with the passion and attention to detail that you'd expect from leading consumer companies like Apple. Similar to Facebook (FB), we release updates to our product continuously, which allows us to act on user feedback to improve the Box experience and respond to opportunities with agility. We support our customers with the greatest care and attention, delivering Zappos-like support. And we've created an open ecosystem much like, leveraging the talents and skills of tens of thousands of developers outside of our corporation to build value on Box."

Levie signed the letter, "Go Cloud!" You can read more about Levie and Box in Forbes' story from last March.

Like many other public tech companies, Box will employ a dual-class share system, with Class B shares exercising 10 times the voting power of Class A shares. It will trade on the New York Stock Exchange, under the $BOX ticker.

More from Forbes

Mar 25, 2014 11:35AM
Apr 6, 2014 2:30PM
Levie owns 4% of the company. Not expecting great leadership at the top, nor am I expecting this IPO to be successful...
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