Box plans a future beyond online file storage


Aaron Levie, CEO of online file storage service Box, explained how his hot company grew from a very small idea.

“Originally, we were thinking, how would we text message a file to you?” he explained onstage at his start-up’s annual conference this week.

It was 2006, before the advent of the iPhone. Levie and friend Dylan Smith simply wanted to create a business for consumers that made sharing and managing files — even large ones — much easier. But after a year of tinkering, they decided the real opportunity was with businesses, a market dominated by the likes of Microsoft [fortune-stock symbol=”MSFT”], whose products were awkward and costly.

So Levie and Smith launched Box a year later, with ambitions of snagging users with a so-called “freemium” model: A free, basic plan that would impress users so much that they’d pony up for more features. Now Box has over 225,000 business…

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