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How Box escaped the SaaS growth trap


Enterprise productivity company Box reported results earlier this week for the first quarter of its fiscal 2023, the three-month period ending April 30. Box managed to beat revenue expectations, though it missed on adjusted per-share profit. Shares of the company initially lost modest ground.
You might read the above paragraph and wonder why we’re digging into a SaaS company that had a quarter that appeared to be somewhat mixed in results terms and largely neutral from an investor perspective. The reason is that Box is accelerating out of a period in which external investors took aim at its leadership over complaints about flagging growth; the company managed to fend off activist investor demands and is now reaping the results of the work it did while out of favor with Wall Street.
Box’s revenue expansion decelerated to single-digit percentage points. Since Box went through the activist wringer, we’ve seen other public software companies with similar growth rates come under external pressure. This is what we’re calling the SaaS growth trap — a time when a company’s revenue expansion has slowed, but its profitability has not sufficiently scaled to keep investors content with its performance.

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