Strong words from the 26-year old founder of Box.net! In a wide-ranging interview with Matt Rosof (http://www.businessinsider.com/author/matt-rosoff) of Silicon Valley Insider (http://www.businessinsider.com/), Levie spoke about how he took box.net from startup to enterprise market disrupter in just over five years.
Rosof summarizes the ascent of Box.net:
About three years in, he looked at the company and saw a split between consumers and business users. He realized he would have to choose one or the other, and banked on enterprises. It turned out to be the right move: Box.net has made the turn from being used by individuals and small departments to selling directly to CIOs, and is winning contracts away from giants like Microsoft—the company just got an 18,000-seat deal with Procter & Gamble.
The company is on track to have more than $100 million in funding at a $500 million valuation. It’s also overflowing its current headquarters with more than 240 employees, and is planning to move into a new space early next year.
Despite this, Levie considers enterprise startups to be “the the best-kept secret in tech.” He goes on to say:
“People aren’t aware of how much innovation is happening and could be happening in the enterprise. This [move to the cloud] is the biggest change we’ll see in the enterprise, ever.”
When asked to compare the move to the cloud with the move from mainframe to client-server, Levie’s response was,
“That was a dramatic change, but I actually think the value you’ll get from this technology will be substantially more because you can be more social, more mobile, more open. There are just a lot of aspects to this technology that are groundbreaking.”
Levie looks at some of the large IT companies and sees that they have already had to reinvent themselves to stay relevant and are now at risk of falling behind again as the next generation of companies such as Workday, Jive and Box.net emerge and challenge the status quo, replicating what Salesforce has already done:
“That doesn’t mean Oracle goes away. That doesn’t mean Microsoft goes away. What it means is that they might look different 10 years from now than it did 10 years ago where they were the de facto standards in the space. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that it’s very hard to parlay success in one paradigm into success in another because most of the rules of the game have completely changed.”
“Like how we distribute our products is totally different from how Oracle and Microsoft distribute their products—we’re direct to the customer, we’re all over the Internet, you don’t have to go through a whole network and channel of distribution. The way our applications are built—we release updates to our products every week. Microsoft takes 3 years to release a new product. So the whole DNA of our company is completely different. That will take some time to cycle it into Oracle and Microsoft. By then, companies like Salesforce, companies in our category and peer group, will have built those foundations.”
The full interview is available here: