Innovator Profiles

Aaron Levie, the Quintessential Silicon Valley CEO, Will Only Own 4.1 Percent of Box When It IPOs

Guest Writer
3 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

There are a handful people who manage to fully encapsulate Silicon Valley's standard success narrative. Aaron Levie, the 29-year-old CEO and co-founder of the online file sharing and cloud content management service Box, is one of them.

Drop out of college to start a tech company? Check. Turn down a mega-million dollar offer to maintain control of said company? Check. Wear jeans to work and constantly extol the benefits of disruptive technology? Check. Watch your company, now valued at roughly $2 billion, prepare to go public? Double check.

Related: Aaron Levie on Box's $1 Billion Valuation and Solving the World's 'Unsexy' Problems

Levie's young, he's innovative, he wears distinctive red Converse and, according to TechCrunch, he can be credited "with bringing sexy back to enterprise startups." In addition, after more than a year of intense speculation, it's finally official: Levie will soon add 'CEO and co-founder of a publicly traded company' to his already impressive resume.

Although, as of yet, he can't say he heads a profitable enterprise. Yesterday, Box filed its S-1 documentation with the Securities and Exchange Commission, unveiling previously undisclosed information about the company's finances: While its revenue has dramatically increased over the last few years (rising 111 percent year-over-year to $124.2 million by the end of Jan. 2014), so has its net losses (which widened from $112.6 million to $168.6 million over the same time period). The company plans to raise $250 million with an IPO, but notes that "we do not expect to be profitable in the foreseeable future."

The filing also revealed that Levie owns a considerably small percentage of the company he co-founded back in 2005.

Related: Candy Crush CEO: If You Don't Get Why We Are Worth $7.6 Billion, Then Play Our Game

When Facebook filed its initial paperwork with the SEC in February 2012, for example, CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg owned 28.2 percent of the company. And when Groupon went public back in 2011, co-founders Andrew Mason and Eric Lefkofsky (Lefkosfsky replaced Mason as CEO back in February 2012) owned a combined 29.3 percent of class A shares and 83.4 percent of class B shares.

Levie, in contrast, only owns 4.1 percent of Box. Meanwhile, Draper Fisher Jurveston, the Menlo-Park based venture capital firm that invested $1.5 million in series A funding back in 2006, owns 25.5 percent of the company, suggesting that Levie, in an effort to keep his unprofitable company afloat, was forced to sell off the majority of his equity.

Despite his relatively measly stake, Levie remains the very public face of Box (and, one could argue, the most prominent and recognizable cheerleader for "the cloud"). His letter in the SEC filing touches on all of Silicon Valley's most popular tropes (scrappy origin story, the importance of innovation, how technology will make the world a more efficient, transparent and ultimately better place, etc.) But Levie's most appealing trait remains his visible enthusiasm; Instead of a traditional sign-off, he concludes his letter with a "Go Cloud!"

Related: Box CEO Aaron Levie: Microsoft Doesn't Have the DNA to Keep Up

More from Entrepreneur

Jason's expertise and experience can help you with storytelling, motivation, and pitching your business to media.
Book Your Session

For a limited time only, get this bundle of Entrepreneur PressĀ® titles for less than $30 (60% OFF) on our bookstore when you use "LEAP" at checkout.
Buy Now

Are paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.
Get Your Quote Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.