A high-profile venture capitalist and onetime Facebook vice president said Monday that his stock pick for the year is cloud storage service Box.
Shares of the company soared 11%, adding $465 million to its market value, for a total of $3.3 billion.
Chamath Palihapitiya, who left Facebook in 2011 to start his own venture firm, Social+Capital, noted at the Sohn Conference in New York on Monday that companies must organize a vast pool of unstructured data in order to truly build artificial intelligence technologies. He then pitched Box as a company well-positioned to pounce on that problem over the next few years as the buzzy technology becomes more widely used.
“The stage has been set for a great product, with a great customer base who are now ready to adopt all the AI capabilities that these enormous companies have created through the interface layer of organizations like Box,” Palihapitiya said. He also noted that Box is expanding into the that space “very quietly, unbeknownst to most people.”
Palihaptiya’s comments helped send Box’s shares to a level that is nearly equal to their peak price on the day of its initial public offering in 2015. Recently, investors have questioned the company’s ability to post a profit amid mixed quarterly earnings.