Box opens international HQ in London to woo European businesses

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Enterprise cloud storage startup Box has opened its first international headquarters in London and laid out plans for a major European expansion, the company announced today.

Box has more than 11 million users across 120,000 businesses, with penetration in 82 percent of the Fortune 500. But the company has good reason to keep working on quick expansion and attracting more international customers. It faces a challenging roster of competitors, including Google’s Drive, Microsoft’s SkyDrive, and Egnyte, and it should be worried about how crowded the market is getting.

Getting troops on the ground outside the U.S. will help. Box says users outside the U.S. generate 50 percent of the company’s overall traffic. Those users include big-name customers like Ben Sherman, Proctor & Gamble, and O2.

The new HQ will be located in central London, and it will be used as a base for hiring 100 new European employees across Europe by the end of 2013. Box VP of business operations, Greg Strickland, will lead the London office and transition into the new role of VP of global operations.

“A tremendous shift is taking place in Europe,” Box CEO Aaron Levie (pictured) said in a statement. “Businesses are looking for solutions that help them move to the cloud and transition away from costly, inflexible legacy technologies. We’ve seen significant customer growth across Europe in the last year and are thrilled to be building out a local presence to support our customers.”

Along with the new European HQ, the company has also expanded a partnership with Hewlett-Packard to help drive cloud storage adoption. Box says the two companies will work together to give small and medium-sized HP customers who also use Box a mysterious “exclusive offer.”

Los Altos, Calif.-based Box has raised about $162 million to date and counts Andreessen Horowitz, Salesforce, SAP Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Emergence Capital Partners, New Enterprise Associates, and others as investors.

Aaron Levie (left) at DEMO conference: VentureBeat

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