Aaron Levie was just a USC sophomore when he received a check in the mail. The check was for $350,000. Levie had just started a company in his dorm room, a cloud storage service he called Box.net. Box quickly became a major player in the cloud storage market, years before companies like Google and Microsoft entered the fray.
With services like Google Drive on the horizon, Box made a bold play for market share and pushed a freemium business model. This meant users could use Box for free, but it also meant Box had to put up some serious cash to support the traffic. The bet paid off, and Box established itself as a leader in the industry, forcing Google to play catchup.
In 2007, another crucial decision came when Aaron and his partner Dylan Smith decided to focus on business users. While competitors had done a good job going after consumers, the market was quickly getting crowded. Meanwhile, the business world was hesitant to adopt the technology. At the time, cloud storage was still a new, relatively unproven technology. Businesses could see the value of the service, but they had concerns about security. Box worked hard to assuage these fears and their list of customers grew. In addition, they offered a developer API, allowing companies to integrate Box’s service with their own infrastructure.
Today, Box is used by 40% of the Fortune 500. In March of this year, they filed for an IPO.
Aaron’s story is a classic tale of startup success. A college student has an idea, gets a little traction, drops out, and takes over the world. Come to TIBCO NOW to hear Aaron’s take on the role that disruption plays in the world of technology and business.