FORTUNE -- Earlier this week, the file-sharing service Box announced that Cisco Systems (CSCO) CTO Padmasree Warrior will join its board of directors. The Los Altos, Calif.-based company, which recently raised $100 million in new funding at around a $2 billion valuation, is expected to make its public market debut in the coming months.
Snagging Warrior is a good step along the path to legitimacy with large enterprises, which are Box's target customers -- unlike competitor Dropbox, which has traditionally catered more to the consumer demographic. In a blog post, Box CEO Aaron Levie said Warrior will help the startup transform from a file sharing and storage service to a "far more strategic partner for our customers, and a much more powerful platform for the next wave of enterprise applications."
Fortune caught up with Warrior -- currently at the TED conference in Vancouver -- to find out why she's throwing her weight behind Box and what she thinks she can bring to the boardroom table.
Fortune: Why did you join Box's board?
Warrior: I believe information technology in the next decade will be shaped by three major transformations -- cloud, mobile, and the Internet of Things. Box is innovating at the intersection of two out of these three trends. It is one of a handful of companies that has the potential to become the next generation enterprise leader. With my years of experience in mobile, cloud, collaboration, I can contribute to their trajectory going forward.
How long have you known [Box CEO] Aaron Levie, and how would you describe your relationship?
I have known Aaron for more than two years. We first met at a small dinner and debated the future of business. I have to say, it was a fun and robust debate. On the surface, we each represented the proverbial conflict in ideologies -- disruption vs. consistency; ideation vs. scale, chaos vs. discipline. At a deeper level, we both share a passion to change business and enterprise software as we know it today. Since that time we have become friends, and I watched Box mature as a business. I enjoy Aaron's intelligence, passion, bold vision, and, of course, his sense of humor. I would characterize my relationship with Aaron and Box thus far as that of an informal adviser.
What do you think you can contribute to Box as a member of the board?
I have over two decades of experience in the tech industry with expertise in a broad range of domains from semiconductors to mobile to cloud -- covering consumer and enterprise. For businesses to grow profitably there are challenges to be tackled across multiple fronts -- building highly scalable technology operations, establishing new routes to market, driving new business models, attracting and developing talent, and so on. As Box continues to grow, I hope to contribute my expertise in technology, strategy, talent development, and global scale.
What do you see as the company's trajectory and potential?
I see Box redefining enterprise solutions for the next generation of IT. Their key strength is uniquely combining technological disruptions with a delivery model from the cloud and on mobile. They have the potential to become the platform for the future enterprise.
Roundtable brings together top tech executives
Before there is Brainstorm Tech (the conference) there is Infotech Forty (the forum).
Fortune senior writer Jon Fortt and I are co-chairing an intimate event for a group of high-ranking technology executives whose jobs are becoming increasingly strategic in their corporations. No longer are these chief information officers and chief technology officers the folks who make company computers and software run; they play key roles in MOREStephanie N. Mehta, Deputy Managing Editor - Jul 16, 2009 8:00 AM ET
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