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Box introduces $5 starter plan and 10 free GB

Box is doubling down on the freemium path of viral growth, introducing a new $5 per user per month plan designed to get teams or projects started and doubling the free plan’s storage to 10 GB.

Aaron Levie announced the new plans on the company blog, sharing a vision of what’s going on in business with the shift to a social cloud:

As enterprise IT continues to change dramatically — becoming more mobile, open, and “social” — and as individuals and small businesses have access to the same technology as giants, software is going to become vastly more consumer-oriented and user-driven. At Box, we will continue to focus our attention on making individuals that adopt our solution as successful as possible, and at BoxWorks in September, we’ll be making a number of announcements that go toward driving all new elegant experiences for users across the web, sync, and mobile. We’re incredibly excited by the shift toward cloud, and want to ensure every professional and businesses of all sizes can take advantage of this transformation. This is just the start.

Levie has been pushing hard to make Box the default enterprise file-sync-and-share solution, and it appears to be en route to a 2014 IPO. And he is taking a two-pronged approach, aggressively courting large companies, and moving downmarket with offerings like the starter plan.

Sarah Lacey profiled Levie and sat in on some of Levie’s sales calls with large organizations. She characterized him as a “carnivorous sponge,” soaking up everything those IT professionals offered up. But he’s clearly not focused on that end alone.

In the final analysis, Box, Dropbox, and the other consumer crossovers are remaking the expectations of IT and helping to dethrone IT leadership, as more functional managers decide to outfit their sales, engineering, marketing, or HR staffs with tools appropriate to their own needs. But we are still in a transitional period, and file-sync-and-share is so foundational that Box still needs to make peace with the CIO.