Photo: Business Insider / Matthew Lynley
Box.net, the cloud-based collaboration startup that’s taking on Microsoft in the enterprise, wants to be more like Facebook.Not that it wants to be come a consumer oriented social network. Rather, it wants to become the platform on which other enterprise startups build successful businesses. Basically, Box.net wants to foster its own Zynga equivalent.
To spur that on, the company today launched a program called the Box Innovation Network or /bin (the slash is kind of an inside joke — /bin is a term used in Unix commands).
As part of /bin, the company is offering up to $2 million in funds to encourage developers to build business apps that use the Box APIs for collaboration and content management.The funds will be used for equity investments, intellectual property purchases, and codevelopment.
CEO Aaron Levie told us, “If you think about enterprise software today, it’s complicated to build and integrate, expensive, and hard to customise. It’s not built for the way we work. In all three areas we are trying to drive innovation, but can’t do it alone.”
Box is partnering with several other companies on the initiative, including VMWare, Rackspace (hosting), Salesforce’s Heroku (app development), and Twilio (for voice and SMS-enabled apps).