Box Looks to New York, Boston, and Seattle for Innovation and Collaboration

5/3/12Follow @jpruth

At a time when new rivals are emerging in the file-sharing industry, Box in Palo Alto, CA, is looking to New York and other markets as potential destinations for opening new offices and finding talent. Box is a venture-backed startup that has made name for itself in Silicon Valley. In recent weeks, however, the company visited New York as a sponsor of the NY Tech Day fair and hosted its own events in the city to connect with the local tech community. CEO and co-founder Aaron Levie says Box is not doing this purely for promotion’s sake but because it wants to expand geographically. “It is inevitable that we will have a physical east coast presence,” he says.

Box is a seven-year-old company that offers a file-sharing platform via the cloud, mostly to enterprises and small-to-midsize businesses. Its clients include Clear Channel, Pandora, LinkedIn, and MTV. Box has raised $162 million since its founding in 2005, and its backers include Andreesen Horowitz, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Meritech Capital Partners. The company has been reaching out to developers in recent months to get the word out about its file sharing service. Now Box is exploring its options to establish offices in New York possibly later this year or early 2013.

Levie says the company already has about half dozen personnel working in the New York and Philadelphia greater metropolitan areas. “That will scale up over the next year,” he says. It is too early to talk specifics but he says setting up shop in New York would give Box closer connections with customers in financial services, pharmaceuticals, media, and entertainment. It would also let his company reach out to the emerging technology community in the city. For example, at a New York event on April 25, the company introduced a new application programming interface for developers to use.

“We think it’s critical that we work with as many companies as possible to build products on the Box platform,” says Chris Yeh, Box’s vice president of platform. That includes building relationships with the developer community to find new technology that can work with Box’s service. “There are great tech communities outside Silicon Valley that we want to engage,” he says.

Yeh says the growth in New York among startups and investors made it attractive for Box. Programs such as General Assembly and NYC TechStars helped Box tap into the innovation community in New York. General Assembly, a campus for entrepreneurs and startups, asked Box to consider potential candidates from its programs for new hires. “The war for talent is crazy out here [in Silicon Valley],” Yeh says. “If we can tap into new sources of talent in New York, that would be great.”

Box wants to build relationships, he says, with local innovators such as Producteev, which developed software that lets users manage projects and tasks, and … Next Page »

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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