How A 20-Something CEO Running A $US2 Billion Company Got Mark Cuban To Become His First Investor

Aaron levie and jessi hemple at south by southwestSteve Kovach/Business InsiderBox CEO Aaron Levie with Fortune’s Jessi Hempel.

AUSTIN, Texas — Box, a startup that sells cloud file management services to enterprises, is reportedly gearing up for a big IPO in a few months. It’s currently valued at about $US2 billion.

But where did the first investment in the company come from?

At the South By Southwest Interactive conference, Box’s 28-year-old CEO Aaron Levie said it came from Mark Cuban.

But here’s the funny thing. At the time, Levie and his colleagues had never met Cuban. They simply cold emailed him asking if he’d like to invest. And Cuban said yes.

“He will respond to cold emails,” Levie said during a fireside chat with Fortune’s Jessi Hempel. “There’s greater than a 94% chance he’ll respond. Cuban was the first legit investor that responded to us. He wrote us a check without ever meeting us. We kind of used that as an impetus to drop out of college and move out to the Bay Area.”

Cuban was onto something. Box has raised about $US400 million to date.

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