Box Inc from idea to production –
the creation of a digital marketplace for packaging

Box Inc website

Published 6 May 2020 by Mikael Fristedt Westre
What if we could digitalise the corrugated packaging sourcing process as a new business opportunity? What if we would not limit that to Stora Enso’s customers, but think bigger? These were the questions that sparked our journey towards the successful start-up Box Inc.

It all started with an idea and a small team of colleagues back in 2018. I had been working with our corrugated packaging business for a few years, getting to know both customers and our salespeople from around our Packaging Solutions division. One of my conclusions from that time was that customers were seeking ways to increase efficiencies throughout their business processes and adopting digitalization as a means of achieving that. Another conclusion was that corrugated packaging in general is a low engagement product. Looking at other industries the sourcing process for similar products was already breaking with traditional buying processes.

What if we could digitalise the corrugated packaging sourcing process as a new business opportunity? What if we would not limit that to Stora Enso’s customers, but think bigger? Said and done. The mission was set and Box Inc was born.

This is Box Inc

Box Inc is based on a simple idea. We know from experience that the process of finding the right packaging, design, quality and price from a reliable supplier can be a tedious process. We wanted to make it easier for companies to source their corrugated packaging online.

Box Inc is there for our customers all the way. We help them to create a request for quotation, receive and compare quotes, select their preferred supplier, order, pay and eventually re-order. The process is simple and intuitive. Our customer service is available on demand over chat or mail to guide our customers and answer any questions that come up. 

Two people in front of computer

Our path to launch

Like any startup we have not had a straight path to success. It’s been more of a roller-coaster. What has helped us in shaping our plans, is the Stora Enso innovation process, which includes a set of steps to take from first idea to commercialization. The process has acted as a handrail to hold on to. Having that said, we as a team have still experienced our ups and downs. There have constantly been new challenges to tackle including getting funding, acting on feedback from customers and finding technical solutions to problems.

However – no matter what – we have kept on believing in our mission, and that is – if you ask me - the explanation to why we have managed to overcome all the challenges. My experience is that you must accept that there will be new headaches and backlashes, but you just have to keep on going. There will eventually come great news as well - for example, when we received the first feedback from customers and they believed in our idea! That was a fantastic boost. Another very important reason to why we have come this far is the team itself.

A great team with great backing

Box Inc is different from most other Stora Enso businesses as we don’t rely on a machine to produce what we sell. Instead the team is the “machine” producing the service we offer. I know it’s often said as a cliché, but the people in Box Inc ARE our greatest asset. I’m lucky to have a fantastic team of highly motivated people. My colleagues are located in Stockholm, Helsinki, Ostrava and Düsseldorf so it’s a truly virtual team. This has never really been a problem as we’ve found ways to manage work over Slack, Teams, mail and phone. We aim to meet once per quarter though to have time for more social activities as well.

Being a startup within a large corporation like Stora Enso offers many advantages. The team has been able to benefit from the structural capital, expertise and funding available. This has proven invaluable for our success.

Why Stora Enso invests in Box Inc

Stora Enso is a forerunner in digitalization in our industry. With Box Inc, Stora Enso is leveraging its strong market presence and knowledge of the corrugated packaging industry. Box Inc is a platform business, adding value to customers and suppliers alike. We are also proud to have started a business that makes it easier for even more enterprises to choose renewable materials.

Box Inc was officially launched on May 4th in Germany. The business has already gained good traction among potential buyers and suppliers.

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Mikael Fristedt Westre

Mikael Fristedt Westre

Mikael Fristedt Westre is the Head of Box Inc. He has experience from service and business development as well as marketing at Stora Enso. Prior to joining Stora Enso, Mikael held positions as startup founder and management consultant.

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