Box on the road to an IPO

Box, the cloud storage company that would very much like to be the “Dropbox of the Enterprise” appears headed for an IPO next year.

The company just added Dana Evans, former CFO of Verisign(s vrsn), to its board and named her head of its audit committee.

In an interview with Reuters, Box CEO Aaron Levie ruled out a public offering this year, but left the door wide open beyond that. From that report:

“It won’t be a 2012 exercise,” Levie told Reuters, referring to the IPO. “Even though the market is pretty amazing right now, there are some things we want to get done as a company. We see these moves as ways of building a strong foundation.”

In addition to Ms. Evans, Box also tapped Peter McGoff the former SVP and general counsel at Informatica(s infa), as its general counsel. And it brought on  Tom Addis, a sales veteran of crm), Siebel Systems(s orcl), and IBM(s ibm) to head operations and to expand Box’s own enterprise sales unit.

Box, based in Los Altos, Calif., characterized the new hires as part of a plan to grow that enterprise sales effort, but the news also smacks of a startup bringing on “adult supervision” in advance of an IPO.

Box claims a hefty 11 million users of its cloud storage service, but never discloses how many of those are paying customers. It does, however, list a pretty compelling list of big customers including Proctor & Gamble(s pg), Netflix(s nflx), MGM Resorts, Avaya(s av), and Dow Chemical(s dow).

Here’s the thing though: The landscape is littered with would-be Dropboxes of the Enterprise, including Egnyte — which recently signed a big deal with Young & Rubicam and LogMeIn(s logm), which has a huge installed base of businesses already using its  remote access and web conferencing software. Add to that Google with Google(s goog) Drive, Microsoft(s msft), with Azure-based storage services and literally dozens of others, this is going to be a bloody battle.