Box case study

With guidance from London & Partners’ specialist team, this cloud collaboration company established its international HQ in London and won a raft of high-profile clients.

Client profile

Silicon Valley-based Box, the global online file sharing and cloud content collaboration service, wanted to expand to Europe. Impressed by London’s global reach, client clusters and tech talent — all showcased by London & Partners — it set up an office in the city and quickly acquired several major clients. Box’s London office is now its international HQ.

The tech talent that we were going to be able to leverage in London swayed us. We felt that we needed enthusiastic, vibrant, innovative teams and London really has that.

Nick Noyer, Director, EMEA Marketing, Box

About Box

Founded in 2005, Box helps more than 32 million people and 275,000 companies store and share digital information securely. It employs well over 1,000 staff across offices in Palo Alto, San Francisco, Austin, Paris, Tokyo and London. Clients span all major sectors and include eBay, Schneider Electric, Netflix and Procter & Gamble.

Business aim

Having considered Dublin, Slough and Reading, Box decided on London as the best location for its new international HQ. But who could help the company find office space, connect with key players and prospects, and expand across Europe?

London & Partners services

  • Office location and launch: advice on start-up and permanent offices across London; media promotion with the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson; PR and support launching the London office
  • Public sector contracts: advice on how to access local, regional and national government tech opportunities through the procurement portal, Digital Marketplace
  • Connections: introductions to UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), peers, potential partners and clients
  • Networking: invitations to conference and networking events such as tech networking and National Football League dinners, the London 2012 Olympic Games, the US Ambassador’s breakfast and the UBM Tech Transformation Forum

Business success in London

Box set up its European HQ in London in 2012 with three people. The office is now Box’s international headquarters, employing over 100 people by late 2014 and hosting sales, PR, marketing and support functions. Client wins include Network Rail, Oxfam, British Gas Group and several public sector bodies.

In their own words

Why expand Box to London?
“To realise our global potential and provide service to our many global customers. In 2012, 20 per cent of our customer base came from outside the US, but we were managing services from our US office. We realised that there were larger opportunities in Europe by working directly with our European customers.”

London & Partners has specialists to help companies like yours. How do you rate them?
“They’re the best. They are so passionate about technology in London. They are excited to hear about our London tech events and the latest product releases. We have loved working with them. Whenever we needed something we knew who to call. They genuinely care about what they’re doing and they genuinely love London.”

What is Box?
“We are a file sharing and collaboration platform. We help businesses from five people to hundreds of thousands of employees securely share information internally and externally, whatever device they are working on. It’s a new way of enabling employees to work, improving collaboration and productivity.”

What made you choose London over competing cities?
“It was down to Dublin, London and west of London. Eventually the tech talent that we were going to be able to leverage in London swayed us. We felt that we needed enthusiastic, vibrant, innovative teams and London really has that. Additionally, the tech mindset in London, largely driven by the London developer community, has been extremely valuable; a big part of our solution is our open platform that developers can build on, so it’s been great to interact with the community in that way, too.”

You turned your London office into your international HQ. Why?
“Moving to London has really changed us as a business. Silicon Valley can be very Silicon Valley-centric. Starting up an office in London has provided us with a global perspective. It’s helped the company think about how to best build our product for international teams, and how we can service and support our global customers. There’s also a massive boom in the tech scene that’s happening in London. We’ve learned from peers already here such as Salesforce, DocuSign, Twitter and Yammer.”

London speaks 230 languages. Has this helped you grow?
“We service ten countries in ten languages out of our London office and having that international talent out of London is key. Quality hires just fell into our laps.”

Has setting up in London grown your business?
“Since starting in London we’ve been able to dedicate teams to focus specifically on European markets. Having local specialists who understand their territories is a huge benefit when doing business in new regions. We’re excited to have added companies like BG Group, Network Rail, Oxfam, Royal Haskoning and SKF to our European client base – this is thanks to finding London-based talent who are specialists in their region.”

London-based tech companies are using the UK Government’s procurement portal, Digital Marketplace, to secure major contracts. Have you benefited?
“We’ve won several public sector clients through various routes. We never thought that we would bring in local government contracts so quickly, with early new customers in Peterborough City Council and London Borough of Hounslow Council.”

Which services did London & Partners provide?
“I asked about temporary office space and within three minutes I had an answer. They introduced me to real estate companies, UKTI and east London’s Tech City scene. They identified companies that had scaled quickly who we could learn from. And their ongoing networking events gave me the opportunity to pick someone’s brains about growing pains.”

What would life have been like without London & Partners?
“It would have taken a lot longer to get where we are today. I think we would have spent a lot more time finding our feet. London & Partners helped speed up the initial stages on many practical levels.”

What difference has London & Partners made to you personally?  
“When I first came to London, everyone said you need to go talk to London & Partners. I was young and had no idea where to start. I left that first meeting thinking, ‘I can do this’.”

What advice would you give a company considering expanding to London?
“Network and learn from your peers. Things are always changing and there are so many new opportunities to take advantage of. The best way to find out about them is to learn through conversations with people who are facing the same challenges.”

Nick Noyer, Director, EMEA Marketing, Box

Published: January 2015