Feb 21, 2017

As Snap prepares IPO, memories of Box

Snap and Box are very different tech companies, in terms of product, target customer and size. But we're starting to see some public perception similarities, in terms of how IPO disclosures can raise all sorts of skeptical questions about "unicorns" that had been almost universally viewed as "red hot" and "can't miss."

Box filed for its IPO in March 2014, and didn't go public until March 2015. In between, it lived through a broad dive in publicly-traded SaaS stock values and its own decision to raise new pre-IPO funding. Also during that waiting period, Box CEO Aaron Levie sat down with me at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference, where I asked him about changing outside views of his company.

Levie dodged the question a bit (and, again, Box is very different from Snap), but his basic message was that the most important thing for a company to do is figure out the best way to tell its story, both externally and internally. Here was the exchange:

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