Box To Start Paying Developers Based On App Usage

Box, the enterprise cloud storage and file management company, is launching a new system to pay mobile enterprise app developers who integrate their apps with its platform. Called $rev, the plan will generate revenue for the developers based on app usage, not just sales. By tracking this usage on a constant basis, Box will pay app developers up to 15% of a Box seat price, which is basically the monthly fee a user pays to use Box, the amount of which varies depending on the size of the company and its chosen payment plan. 

"In the consumer market, developers monetize through ads and app purchases. They're familiar going to the iTunes Store and Google Play," explains Chris Yeh, Box's VP of Platform. But productivity tools generate relatively low revenues, often because it's hard to take an app from a single user who puts it on their personal device all the way through the IT evaluation criteria required to generate bulk purchases for enterprises. 

Adoption vs. Procurement

"The adoption model has changed, but the procurement model has not," Yeh adds. With $rev, it matters less how many people are paying the flat fee for an enterprise app if the developer partners with Box and begins to generate ongoing payments through app usage.

Yeh added that developers do not have to change how they go to market; The apps can remain in consumer app stores. "The notion is once those apps are driving users, we'll be able to track that separately without them having to do anything," he says. 

The idea is for $rev to not only foster Box integration and partnerships, but also reward higher-quality enterprise app development. The number of enterprise developers working on Box's platform has grown from the low thousands two years ago to more than 25,000 today, creating more than 500 OneCloud apps. OneCloud is Box's mobile cloud hub that lets users work in any of the platform's apps. 

(See also Box CEO Aaron Levie On The Uncertain Landscape Of Enterprise Software [Video])

10 Pilot Partners

Box is starting out $rev with 10 pilot partners, most of which are already successful, Box-integrated apps like PDFExpert and Documents by Readdle. The focus is primarily on Box's paying clients, though Box does operate as a freemium service for personal accounts. 

Also launching Thursday are Box's mobile enterprise-grade software development kits (SDKs) for iOS and Android). The primary goal with Box-specific SDKs is to reduce the time it takes to integrate an app into Box's platform, from days or weeks to just hours.

With more than 150,000 business customers and 15 million users, Box is firmly ensconced as an enterprise storage and cloud-management staple. With $rev and its new mobile SDKs, the company is working to give its platform more visibility and make it an even more central component of the Box business model.  

 
Images courtesy of Box.