Box CEO: Cloudy results due to analyst confusion

Box Q1 revenue guidance above estimates

This wasn't the public debut that CEO Aaron Levie hoped to make.

Box reported results for its first quarter as a public company, and investors slammed the sell button.

After the call, I spoke with Levie who said there was confusion over what analysts' consensus view really was.

Box posted a Q4 loss of $1.65. That looked bad considering that the consensus view appeared to be for a loss of $1.17.

Source: Box

But Levie says that $1.17 number was wrong because unnamed analysts set expectations based on the wrong share count.

The actual consensus estimate, says Levie, was a loss of $1.99. In that case, Box's results were much better than expected.

"We had a 34-cent beat, which shows our earnings call through a very different lens," he told CNBC.

Read More Box surges despite Wall Street skepticism

Levie says Box contacted the analysts in question before the earnings call, and had the numbers changed.

While the correct number showed up in Factset, it didn't in Thomson Reuters, he said; that's what caused all the confusion.

In fact, Levie points out that Box beat expectations on a range of metrics including revenue and billings.

Still, even if Levie is right, Box may have bigger concerns.

The company is forecasting revenue growth of about 30 percent for fiscal 2016. That's a fast, but it marks a sharp slowdown from the 74 percent growth rate it enjoyed in 2015.

Levie told me that the slowdown is natural given that Box is now a bigger and more mature company. He urged investors to concentrate on other metrics such as the growing number of Box clients signing $100,000 contracts.

And Levie sounded a note of optimism when asked whether Box could get back to growing at a 50 percent clip.

"There are a lot of tailwinds in the business," the CEO said.

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