Summary:

As it bolsters its enterprise customer base ahead of an expected IPO, cloud services startup Box is announcing new services and partnerships in education.

Just in time for the new school year, cloud startup Box is making a big push in education.

On Thursday, the company announced several new services that let teachers and students at K-12 and higher-education institutions store content in the cloud and collaborate using a range of ed tech tools.

Increasingly, schools are adopting cloud-based products — like education social network Edmodo or Instructure’s learning management system (LMS) Canvas — that let teachers and students communicate, share content and track information online. Box’s ambition is to provide an underlying layer for schools that allows users to store and collaborate on content that can easily be shared and used in a variety of services.

Schools have historically been slow to adopt new technology, and many may rely on consumer storage tools, learning management systems or FTP software to store and share files. But more education institutions are moving to the cloud.

According to a CDW survey released earlier this year, 43 percent of higher education and 42 percent of K-12 education IT leaders said they were adopting or maintaining cloud services, compared with 34 percent and 27 percent in the previous year, respectively.

Box isn’t new to education. In the last year, Box said, its sales in the sector have doubled, with more than 100 colleges and universities and hundreds of K-12 institutions using its services.

Some of the ed tech tools integrated with Box include grading program Engrade, teacher- and student-focused group texting service Celly and interactive presentation startup 9Slides.  The company also announced an integration partnership with learning management system Canvas that will enable teachers and students to access all course material on Canvas from a central location.

As the company looks ahead to an IPO, it’s clearly trying to expand its footprint by pushing into big verticals that are starting to make inroads to the cloud.  In April, the company started courted healthcare organizations more heavily with new HIPAA-compliant measures and health record apps.

Image by Slavoljub Pantelic via Shutterstock.

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