Here's What It Feels Like To Only Own 4% Of Your Company After Dedicating Your Life To Building It

When enterprise cloud storage company Box filed for its IPO, many people were surprised to learn CEO and co-founder Aaron Levie only owns 4% of the company.

Technically, Levie owns 5.7% of the company thanks to unexercised stock options. But that’s still a small part of his company.

Levie is the 28-year-old face of the company. His humorous Twitter account, plus appearances at industry conferences and the success of Box, have made him something of a celebrity in the tech startup world.

As we noted at the time of the IPO filing, Mark Zuckerberg owns almost 30% of Facebook. And Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates owned 25% of Microsoft back in 1994, when he was still CEO. After steadily selling off shares for a decade, Gates still owns more than 4% today.

Levie lost control of his company when he raised venture capital dollars.

On question and answer site, Quora, someone asked, “How does he feel watching DFJ and USVP laugh to the bank after 10 years of sweat, blood, and tears?”

Levie’s answer, as usual with Levie, is pretty funny:

So far, I have yet to bleed while building Box (well, one time I was late to a meeting and cut myself shaving). And honestly, if anyone is regularly bleeding while building a software company, I would have some serious questions about their strategy and if they’re executing properly. Definitely lots of tears and sweat though. Start your company because you want to change the world, and the rest is gravy.

Read the full thread at Quora >

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