According to a Marketsand Markets report, the cloud storage market size is estimated to grow from $23.76 billion in 2016 to $74.94 billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 25.8%. Growth is driven by factors such as high demand for hybrid cloud storage, growing need for enterprise mobility, and the need for easy implementation of cloud storage solutions. Cloud-based storage services provider and Billion Dollar Unicorn Dropbox is one of the main IPO prospects for 2018.
California-based Dropbox was founded in 2007 by university graduates Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi. Dropbox was started to address the problem that Drew faced in accessing files he had left in a USB drive elsewhere. It initially started as a free service to store and share music files, photos, and other large files in the cloud.
Today, it offers cloud storage, file synchronization, personal cloud, and client software. Its individual users can access up to 2GB of storage space for free and need to pay as much as $9.99 a month for a 1 TB account and $19.99 per month for a 1TB account with professional tools. Dropbox Business offers organizations with a free 30-day trial plan and Standard and Advanced plans that cost $12.50 to $20 per employee per month. It has over 500 million users. It has been deployed at more than 200,000 companies including Expedia and News Corp.
Dropbox does not disclose details of its financials. Recent reports suggest that it is expecting revenue of over $1 billion in 2017. Revenues have grown from $400 million in 2014 to more than $750 million a year in 2016. It has been cash flow positive since early 2016 and is nearing profitability.
Dropbox has raised $607 million so far from venture investors including JPMorgan, BlackRock, Innovation Department, QueensBridge Venture Partners, Salesforce Ventures, T. Rowe Price, Index Ventures, Accel Partners, AFSquare, Benchmark, Glynn Capital Management, Goldman Sachs, Greylock Partners, Institutional Venture Partners, RIT Capital Partners, Sequoia Capital, SV Angel, Valiant Capital Partners, Ali Partovi, Amidzad Partners, Bobby Yazdani, Hadi Partovi, Pejman Nozad, Signatures Capital, and Y Combinator. In January 2014, it raised $350 million at a valuation of $10 billion.
Rival Box reported that revenue grew 32% to $398.6 million, GAAP operating loss narrowed 25% to $150.7 million, and non GAAP operating loss declined 47% to $70.6 million in 2017. It had listed on the NYSE in 2015 and hasn’t had a very impressive performance since listing. It was valued at $2.4 billion prior to listing and after over two years, it is currently trading at $21.46 per share with a market capitalization of $2.92 billion.
Following Box’s disastrous public listing, Fidelity and T.Rowe Price cut down their valuation of Dropbox by as much as 51% in Q4 2015. In March 2017, Dropbox secured $600 million credit facility, which provides it more flexibility for an IPO.
Today, cloud storage is much more competitive with the entry of tech giants Alphabet, Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon. These giants offer heavily discounted storage and seamless integration, squeezing smaller players. Dropbox has put up a strong fight by building its own infrastructure and offering lucrative deals to big companies. But it remains to be seen if it can sustain the pressure and perform in the public market.
More investigation and analysis of Unicorn companies can be found in my latest Entrepreneur Journeys book, Billion Dollar Unicorns.
Photo Credit: Ian Lamont/Flickr.com
This segment is a part in the series : 2018 IPO Prospects