Box Playing Hardball

  • 14-Oct-2011

In September of 2010, the Texas Rangers professional baseball team signed a $3 billion, 20-year television deal.  The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, perennial big market teams, took serious notice.  All of a sudden the Rangers -- a team with a nice offensive lineup, but traditionally weaker pitching -- became a contender at the highest level. They could now compete for high-priced free agents and invest significantly in player development within their farm system.

I bring up the Rangers not because they are alive and well in the 2011 baseball playoffs while the Yankees and Red Sox are sitting at home, but because I was reminded of this moment with the recent Box news that they have received yet another round of VC funding. This round of $81 million brings the funding total to $162 million.   Not long ago, many were scoffing at Box as being just another California start-up foolishly comparing themselves to the SharePoint behemoth.  Box did not (and still doesn't) offer nearly as much functionality as SharePoint.  However, with $162 million in funding, they cannot be ignored as a contender.

Of course, money doesn't guarantee victory (as a die-hard Red Sox fan, I know). Box will need strong management and products that meets the needs of buyers, not just investors.  But one thing is certain, many of the collaboration and file-sharing mainstays are taking notice. Buyers likely will too.