Headline April 25, 2015/ STUDENT AARON LEVIE



STUDENT LEVIE STARTED BOX with three friends he has known since middle school,  in the town of Mercer Island, Wash.

He first had the idea while completing a business class project at the University of Southern California,  -eventually dropped out of college, and persuaded all other student/friends to join him.........

GENERAL ELECTRIC has made BOX  a standard for collaboration technology inside and outside the company, a product of years of sale calls by Mr.Levie.

A few months ago Jeffrey Immelt, G.E's chief executive, had Mr. Levie  address top executives about his experience building Box; about new, more effective ways companies could collaborate; about how Box reacted quickly to change.

His youthful manner, which practically screams  ''Silicon Valley,'' was a selling point.

''Frankly, I would have been disappointed if he hadn't worn the sneakers,'' said a person at the meeting, who asked not to be identified discussing an off-the-record event.

Box has  45,000  paying business customers, including about half of the Fortune 500.

Mr. Levie said wooing those clients, who need lot of security, features and tutorials about how the new world works, is why Box had spent so much money. Its roster of big corporate customers, he says, will attract developers.

So far that investment has not shown up as profit. When Box's financial details were revealed in filings before its public offering, Om Malik, a well known tech blogger who had been enthusiastic about the company, deemed it :

A ''House of Horrors.''

In its last fiscal year, Box lost $167 million on revenue of $216 million.  That was a 74 percent revenue gain from the year before, with a percent bigger net loss.

This year revenue is expected to grow by about 30%, a marked slowdown that Mr.Levie hopes the new developer strategy may also turn around. As of its latest earnings report, in March, Box had 330 million in cash.

These kind of losses, not just at  Box but at  many other young  tech companies, scare some of tech's old guard.

''We're different. We've lived through a massive downturn in 2000-2001, and can't live with this kind of cash burn rate,'' said Brad Garlinghouse, the former chief executive of Hightail, another online storage service.

He left Hightail in September and is now chief operating officer at Ripple Labs, an Internet Payments System.

''Aaron is smart and pragmatic, but he and a lot of these young guys haven't been through bad times.''

After all those years and nine funding rounds, Mr.Levie holds just 3.8 percent of Box, or about $80 million. ''I'd love to own more, but I wouldn't trade the growth we've had for more equity,''  he said.

On weekdays, he swaps the dress jacket for pink shorts and a white  V-neck T-shirt, and he has kept the same apartment near Box headquarters and driven the same older BMW for years.

''There have been sacrifices on the personal side,'' Mr.Levie added. ''I'd like to spend more time with my girl friend. 

There's always stress, but when you see how it could have an impact you've dreamed of, it's worth it.''

But at the end of the day, Box, like other companies, faces survival problems after a promising start. Just as it leads its generation to a cloudy future.

With respectful dedication to the Students of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' Bulwark '''

'''Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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