It took Box CEO Aaron Levie almost seven years, but he finally succeeded in poaching the guy that invented Google Docs from Google, he told Business Insider.He’s clearly delighted. We sat down with CEO Aaron Levie at Box’s new offices in Los Altos, Calif., to talk about the company, its future and Sam Schillace.
Shillace cofounded a company called Writerly, which was acquired by Google and morphed into Google Docs. At Box, Shillace will work on tools to help users collaborate with each other.
At one point Schillace walked by our conference room and Aaron spun around said, “And there’s Sam now,” and waved.
It was charming. But then Levie is always chock full of charm (when he wants to be) and sharp wit (when he wants to be).
He’s certainly has the right to be. At 27, Levie is is on his way to being a classic Silicon Valley success story. The seven year-old Box just raised $125 million round of financing, on a $1.25 billion valuation, bringing its total funding to date to $284 million.
We talked to Levie about building his company, but the thing that stood out was how he’s managed to hire a bunch of smart people during a time when finding tech talent is super hard.
Here’s a light edited transcript of a few questions we asked Levie:
BI You are now at over 500 employees, a pretty big company for a startup. How does that change Box?
We recently brought in a chief people officer, Evan Wittenberg. Formerly the chief talent officer of HP (he was only there for a year), and prior to that, he ran leadership and development at Google. That was the part we were more excited about. What they did at Google was a lot of work to build leaders internally and this was the guy that ran that practice. How do we build world-class individuals? That’s where a lot of our time goes.
In past couple of years, we’ve been fortunate to bring on some pretty amazing leaders, too. We just hired this guy Sam Schillace, he started the company that Google bought which became Google Docs.
We hired Whitney Tidmarsh Bouck, the former general manager and CMO of EMC’s information intelligence group. She ran Documentum, a multi billion dollar product. We brought in Peter McGoff, the general counsel from Infomatica as our general counsel. We have an amazing VP of sales from Salesforce, [Doug Landis]. We have another amazing VP of sales from Infomatica and mySQL [Lesley Young]. Our VP of infrastructure was running all the infrastructure at LinkedIn [Arnold Goldberg].
We have a good mix of people who have seen scale in the enterprise world, have seen scale in the consumer world and can bring these two unique qualities together. That’s what produces the Box DNA.
BI: Congratulations on hiring Schillace. A guy like would typically leave Google and go start his own company.
Yeah, we were trying to get him to not do that [laughs] – and to come work with us instead. We’ve actually been “chatting” for seven years and we are finally able to work together, so that’s pretty exciting. Now he’s running our engineering. He basically, close-to-single handedly (with a team he started in the company), showed the world the next way we should be working on content and collaborative documents. His product kicked off this wave of Web based office suite and all these services. Certainly, Microsoft had nothing on the market prior to Google doing this. He has a pretty amazing vision for the future of data, the future of content and how businesses are going to work with it. We got excited about that.