Box is getting into “big data” to outdo Dropbox in its IPO

Finding funding.
Finding funding.
Image: Reuters/Stephen Lam
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No company wants to be pegged as a one-trick pony, especially on the eve of its IPO.

Perhaps that’s why online storage company Box is suddenly burrowing into the business of big data.

The thinking for Box officials like chief executive Aaron Levie is that the firm already has access to reams of data from its file-sharing customers, and if it’s smart about breaking down that data, companies will pay.

To that end, Box recently hired Manjit Singh, a former chief information officer at Chiquita Brands and Las Vegas Sands Corp., to help Box evolve from a corporate file-sharer rivaling the likes of Dropbox to a big-data cruncher for companies that can go toe-to-toe with data service giants like IBM and

It’s a smart move to boost the company’s image in the wake of Box’s secret filing for an initial public offering, especially since Dropbox also plans to go public around the same time.

Sources tell Quartz Box’s IPO could possibly fetch a $1.5 billion to $2 billion valuation. But that all depends on proving it has more to offer investors than the limited file-sharing territory it’s fighting to keep from Dropbox.