Box’s Two 20-Something Co-Founders Don’t Own Much Of Their Company Anymore After Cashing Out Earlier to VCs

Box’s Two 20-Something Co-Founders Don’t Own Much Of Their Company Anymore



Box co-founders Dylan Smith (left) Aaron Levie

Enterprise cloud storage company Box has filed the paperwork for its long-expected IPO, and the big surprise is how much of the company the co-founders have already sold off.

For instance, co-founder and CEO, Aaron Levie, a rising star in Silicon Valley, only owns about 4% of the company, with 3,764,285 shares. That still makes him the single biggest single shareholder, not counting shares personally controlled by VCs Steven Krausz (U.S. Venture Partners), Rory O’Driscoll (Scale Venture Partners), and Josh Stein (Draper Fisher Jurvetson).

To give you a comparison, Mark Zuckerberg owns almost 30% of Facebook. And Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates owned 25% of Microsoft back in 1994, when he was still CEO. After steadily selling off shares for a decade, Gates still owns more than 4% today.

In Box’s case, the VCs own most of the company, about 65%, especially Draper Fisher Jurvetson, which owns nearly 26%. That’s because Box raised a lot of money from investors, selling off pieces of itself each time. It raised a total of $414 million, including a big $100 million round in December, at a $2 billion valuation.

Box’s other co-founder, 28-year-old Dylan Smith, who serves as CFO, owns far less of the company: just 1.8%. Dan Levin, the company’s 50-year-old COO, who’s been with Box since July 2010, owns slightly more: 2%.

All three of these execs sold a bunch of their shares in July 2012, when VCs invested another $125 million in the company (the Series E round). At that time, Levie, Levin and Smith sold a total of 488,340 shares at $12 each, collectively netting almost $5.9 million.

With the cash, Levie has become an active angel investor, taking on other hot startups likeZenPayroll and Stripe.

But it says something about the power structure of the company as it head to its IPO. Levie has notoriously already stared down his investors when they wanted to sell the company to Citrix back in 2011.


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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