How Box’s founders got Mark Cuban to invest in their startup while they were still in college — without ever meeting him

Samantha Lee/Business Insider

Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban got a cold email from Box CEO Aaron Levie and decided to invest in his company.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Convincing investors to pay attention to a startup is not easy, especially if you’re a college student and you’re trying to attract high-profile investors like Mark Cuban.

For Aaron Levie, now the CEO of cloud-based file-storage company Box, an early investment came by trying to get press.

Cuban had one of the most popular tech blogs – – when Box was founded in a dorm room in 2005. After Levie sent the Dallas Mavericks’ owner a cold email asking him to write about Box on the blog, Cuban decided to do something even better.

“He became interested in investing in the company, and we had never even met, but he did full due diligence, and then our first time meeting him was at a basketball game,” Levie said in an interview for Business Insider’s podcast, “Success! How I Did It.”

Here’s part of the pitch email Levie sent to raise Box’s angel round of financing, which he shared on Twitter.

aaron levie angel investment email box

“10 years ago, these were the “benefits” of investing in Box’s $80,000 angel round. Some of these are obsolete,” Aaron Levie wrote with this portion of his early Box email to investors.

The “Shark Tank” star ended up investing a few hundred thousand dollars, according to Levie, which was enough to convince him and his co-founder, Dylan Smith, to drop out of college and focus on the business full-time.

Check out the episode with Levie explaining how he took Box public by age 29, below, or keep scrolling for a transcript of how he attracted Mark Cuban with a blind email.

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