Jan 30 2014, 11:02pm CST | by Forbes
Online storage company Box has secretly filed for IPO, sources say, just weeks after announcing a $100 million funding round in early December to fuel international growth.
“This was always the plan, to go this route and do it quick and super silent a la Twitter,” a source familiar with the filing has told FORBES. “It happened in the last week, it was days ago.” When exactly? Likely as recently as the start of what’s proven a busy week for tech, with rumors of Microsoft selecting a new CEO and major earnings from companies like Google and Amazon.com also crossing the wire on Thursday. News of the filing was first reported by Quartz.
A Box spokesperson issued this response to FORBES’ request for comment: ”We don’t have anything to share at this time. We’re focused on continuing to build our business and expand our customer relationships globally.”
While the timing of the filing gives Box a faster potential runway to going public than its high-profile competitor Dropbox, which recently raised a larger round of its own at a $10 billion valuation–and making founder Drew Houston a billionaire in the process–the same source tells FORBES the filing is not timed to keep ahead of Dropbox in its timing and in the public eye.
“This isn’t about Dropbox, it’s always been independent of them,” the source says. Box has been preparing for this course for weeks, the source adds, with its major funding round of largely international investors preparing “a new book of business” for the company to demonstrate to Wall Street and analysts later this year (you can read into Levie’s emailed reply about global relationships as you will in that regard). With the market seemingly receptive to jaw-dropping valuations and public offerings from less-mature tech companies, Box has the regular enterprise revenue to produce consistent quarterly totals that will be appreciated by investors, the source adds.
“These are enterprise customers that don’t churn, so there’s not many surprises,” says the source. “That’s what the market wants to hear.”
When exactly the market will hear that story and Levie will go public with the news remains unclear. The source tells FORBES it’ll be months, so a safe bet may be summer 2014 for the company’s investor roadshow. Either way, Box’s IPO–and Dropbox’s, even if the company’s really not looking over its shoulder–will be two of the most anticipated of the year.
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