Box grows the channel

Tries to expand markets through partner network

Box announced this week a new program called the Box Partner Network that combines growing the channel, expanding Box Embed software integration partnerships and a growing app developer network building apps, on the Box platform.

Box spokesperson Ashley Mayer says this is an attempt to bring all of these programs under a single umbrella. "We've had various partner initiatives in the past (Box Embed, for example). The Box Partner Network is a more comprehensive ecosystem of partnerships across channel, technology partners and platform. It gives us the structure to go to build an ecosystem in a much bigger way," she explained.

As Box tries to grow its market, growing the channel is particularly important because it's no longer just Box out there trying to sell its services, it has a network of companies doing it on their behalf, something you typically only see from larger organizations.

Among the 50 new channel partners are CDW, Ingram Micro and Softchoice. Last year, Box announced a partnership with Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) to include Box on HP SMB devices in Europe.

Besides expanding the channel though, Box wants to be more than a solution or a service, it wants to be a cloud platform and the other part of this week's announcement covered that as well.

Among the big name partners are Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) with Box for Oracle Fusion and IBM (NYSE: IBM) with Box with IBM Connections products. It's hard to ignore the irony of these large enterprise software vendors embedding a cloud upstart like Box. These are precisely the kinds of companies that Box disrupts.

Finally, Box reported that 17,000 developers have created custom apps on top of Box using its API.

As we reported recently, Box CEO Aaron Levie indicated in an interview that the company will likely wait to go public until 2014, but will work on expanding to overseas markets this year. In an interview with FierceContentManagement last year, Whitney Bouck, Box general manager for enterprise, told us that overseas markets represented 40 percent of Box's business at the time, so it's a significant part of the business.

Box may not be going public this year, but with this partner network, it appears to be laying the foundation for a company that's poised to grow with or without IPO cash.

For more information:
- see the Box press release

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