(Corrects General Atlantic's investment amount, adds context in
8th, 9th paragraphs)
By Gerry Shih
SAN FRANCISCO, July 31 Private equity firm
General Atlantic LLC has invested $100 million in Box, the
fast-growing cloud storage start-up seen as a likely candidate
for an initial public offering.
The investment - the third funding round by Box in the last
18 months - valued the company at between $1.2 and $1.5 billion,
people familiar with the matter said. All told, the latest
funding round totaled $125 million, with some of Box's existing
backers joining General Atlantic.
Led by 27-year old founder and CEO Aaron Levie, Box competes
with Microsoft Corp's SkyDrive and Google Inc's
Drive products to provide businesses with a file
storage and workplace collaboration service.
The Mountain View, California-based company has expanded
aggressively in recent months as it builds out its sales force,
particularly across Europe.
General Atlantic's investment follows an $81 million funding
round led last October by Salesforce.com and SAP
Ventures, the European software giant's investment
arm, that valued the company at more than $600 million.
Along with its new stake, the New York-based private equity
firm, which manages $17 billion in capital, will also gain a
board seat that will be held by Gary Reiner, an operating
partner who served as General Electric's chief
information officer until 2010.
In recent months Box has sold to CIOs at major companies
like Procter and Gamble as well as small businesses.
The infusion of cash will allow Box some flexibility in
terms of its IPO timetable, but the company seems to have put
those plans on the backburner while it seeks to claim greater
But a public listing remains the most likely outcome, Levie
added. The company recently turned down a $700 million cash plus
stock acquisition offer by Citrix (CTXS.O> Systems.
"We're in this window in the next couple years when the
leaders of this new market is going to be defined," Levie said.
"We see a once in a lifetime opportunity. That takes a lot of
Reiner added: "It's a bit of land grab right now, and we're
(Reporting By Gerry Shih; Editing by David Cowell and Gerald E.