Online-storage startup, Box, is looking for more funding before its IPO

Box, the online storage company started by a pair of Mercer Island High School graduates, is seeking additional funding from private equity firm TPG to tide the company over before its initial public offering, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. The company filed for its IPO on March 24, right after the market for tech stocks began to soften. An additional funding boost would give the rapidly growing cloud storage service some additional breathing room to choose when it wants to set its IPO date. Other tech companies have since had successful IPOs, but uncertainty remains about how much Wall Street is interested in cloud storage firms like Box. The company reported a $168.6 million loss for its 2013 fiscal year, on revenues of $142.2 million, so it’s possible that Box could start feeling a squeeze if it keeps going without an infusion of funding.

Online-storage startup Box Inc., three months after filing for an initial public offering, is in talks to raise a round of funding from private-equity firm TPG that would help buy it time before an IPO, said people familiar with the matter. The talks started up in recent weeks, as Box delayed its IPO plans in order to wait out a period of weak demand for technology stocks, one of these people said. The discussions with TPG are still early and may not result in a deal, they said. A private investment would give Box more cash to invest in its rapid growth and greater freedom to control the timing of its IPO. Box’s March 24 IPO filing came shortly after tech stocks began their precipitous slide, putting the offering in limbo. The company was valued at $2 billion in December during its last funding round. The timing of an IPO is uncertain, but Box expects to go public by the end of the year, said one of the people familiar with the company’s plans. “Our plan continues to be to go public when it makes the most sense for Box and the market,” a Box spokeswoman said. While many tech stocks have rebounded from their steep declines of March and April—and companies including Zendesk Inc. and Arista Networks Inc. have held successful IPOs—concerns remain about public investors’ appetite for cloud software companies like Box, which is unprofitable because it spends heavily on salespeople, marketing and expansion into more countries.

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