Thursday, June 6th, 2013

The Enterprise App Economy and Box $rev

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If you follow Box at all, you know that we care a lot about our platform and what it can deliver to developers. That is, we spend a lot of time and effort on our APIs, our ever-growing base of third party developers and Box OneCloud, our ecosystem of mobile apps integrated with Box.

I’m pleased to report that we’ve recently reached some new platform milestones. We’ve issued more than 25,000 API keys to Box developers, with more than half coming in the past year. On the OneCloud front, we recently surpassed 500 apps in the ecosystem – amazing when you think that we launched OneCloud in March of last year with just 30 apps.

As our platform efforts intensify, we constantly think about new ways to drive value to our third party developer community. Today, we push hundreds of thousands of dollars in referral revenue to third party app providers from our iOS, Android and web app marketplaces. We also continuously introduce our partners’ products to our enterprise admins and end users, resulting in direct purchases of third party apps by our customers.

Today, we’re excited to announce that we’re adding a significant new channel to our third party monetization story in the form of a new program called Box $rev. Box $rev is a program for developers to monetize their applications on the Box platform and bring new innovation to the emerging enterprise app economy.

The Challenge of Enterprise Monetization in a Consumer App World

If you think about how consumer mobile apps are monetized today, it’s primarily through app store purchases, ads and in-app upgrades. In the enterprise, this works…but only to a point. After all, anyone can buy a productivity app and bring it to work. You might even go so far as to say that the consumer model around app acquisition has democratized app adoption in the enterprise.

But there’s a problem. Enterprise apps simply do not monetize very well. Look at any stats around app downloads and monetization and you’ll see that productivity apps struggle as a category. In addition, a stream of ongoing subscription or maintenance revenue – one of the key benefits of selling enterprise software – is inaccessible to most small app developers. The reason? The adoption model has changed, but the procurement model has not. Most enterprises still buy en masse through an IT/procurement process that requires a dedicated sales force on the other end—a non-starter for most small app companies.

Box $rev: The Easiest Way for Enterprise App Developers to Make Money

Here at Box, we have a large and growing sales team and access to many businesses – more than 150,000 of them, in fact. Why can’t we help developers monetize against our business customers? The observation: users of third party apps get more value out of Box, resulting in greater user satisfaction. The idea behind Box $rev? Pay developers for creating this kind of engagement on Box. The benefits for our customers are obvious. For developers, we provide a new stream of revenue directly correlated to their success in penetrating and engaging with Box users.

Ten Partners at Launch

10 of our leading partners have signed on to join Box $rev. We’ll be building out the program with these initial partners, as well as extending to more of our OneCloud app developers in the coming months. Developers interested in joining $rev can sign up now.

Announcing Our New iOS and Android SDKs

Today also marks the launch of our new iOS and Android SDKs. These SDKs are the first Box-built SDKs; we’ve tested them carefully and have built them in a highly systematic form. If you happen to program in both Objective C and Java, you’d find the SDK structures/approaches to be very similar. In addition, with these SDKs we are able to deliver Box’s expertise with enterprise single sign-on (SSO) to third parties. Finally, these SDKs allow developers to integrate Box quickly using pre-built file pickers and buttons. For more information, please check out developers.box.com/sdks.

As you can see, we’ve been having fun building the Box platform business, and will have lots more to come later this year. In the meantime, we hope to see you on the other side of all of this $rev-enue.