Box reveals new UK channel signings

Chess play

US cloud-based file sharing and backup company Box is has taken a significant step in building its UK sales channel with the signing of its first distributor, SDG, and three new VARs: Softcat, Bytes Software and Comparex.

The company used its first European customer conference in London to outline its ambitious plans for growth.

Box, which was founded by CEO Aaron Levie and CFO Dylan Smith in 2005 as a college project, provides a secure content sharing platform that can be accessed through smartphones and devices, and extended to partner applications such as Google Apps, NetSuite and Salesforce.

The California-based firm – which has doubled customer growth in Europe just since landing in the UK in June 2012 – has signed up ex-McAfee EMEA president, David Quantrell, as its general manager for EMEA. In turn, he has recruited his former colleague, Wayne Cook, to expand Box’s European channel base. (The two previously worked together at McAfee, Mercury Interactive and Clarify.)

Meanwhile, ex-Sophos cloud services business development manager, Neil Furby, will head up the firm’s UK channel operations.

Currently 15 percent of Box’s business comes from outside of the US, with “much of that” emanating from the UK, according to Quantrell. But the firm’s aggressive and well-funded growth strategy has seen Quantrell spend much of his time so far hiring new employees. Since last June, Box has grown its London team to 40 people, and yesterday revealed plans to shortly open offices in Paris and Munich.

The latest partner signings bring Box’s UK channel partner total up to 22. Cook says the firm has also identified, and is in discussion with a further 15-20 key partners.

“European businesses are primed to transition from traditional legacy IT solutions to more user-friendly, flexible and scalable cloud platforms,” says Quantrell. “Increasingly, a company’s ability to facilitate collaboration, while securely managing information, is critical to their competitiveness.

“The channel is looking for a way to be relevant in this new cloud environment,” he adds.

“Simple, secure content-sharing is a crucial element of any workplace, especially in set-ups where employees work from home or from their own devices,” says Matt Helling, networking & security manager at Softcat.

“There’s a real need for greater security, where users can be sure that company information is protected and accessible only by registered users. Softcat is delighted to be able to provide our customers with these scalable sharing solutions through our new partnership with Box.”

At present 30 percent of the company’s UK business goes through these partners, but Cook wants to see a dramatic increase in this figure: “A lot of SaaS companies talk about the channel, but are 95 percent direct. We want to be the reverse of that,” he maintains. “We want to be channel, with direct sales an exception.”

Commenting on working with SDG, Cook comments: “It gives us the value aspect of the channel, plus the broadline capabilities of Tech Data.”

The channel exec says the firm is seeing particular success in such vertical markets as construction, education and legal.

Box has 150,000 business customers and 15m users globally – including 92 percent of the Fortune 500. In Europe customers include O2, EMI, BAA and the BBC.

The company recently received the highest rating in Gartner’s MarketScope report on Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing.

“Our global growth speaks to Box’s ability to deliver a collaboration platform built for the post-PC world,” comments CEO Levie.

Christine Horton

Christine has been a tech journalist for over 20 years, 10 of which she spent exclusively covering the IT Channel. From 2006-2009 she worked as the editor of Channel Business, before moving on to ChannelPro where she was editor and, latterly, senior editor.

Since 2016, she has been a freelance writer, editor, and copywriter and continues to cover the channel in addition to broader IT themes. Additionally, she provides media training explaining what the channel is and why it’s important to businesses.