10 Comments

Summary:

Dropbox is an online storage success story and if recent numbers are to believed, then it is headed for even greater glory. Competition from Google has not impacted their growth. And now mobile phone makers like HTC have already helped it become really big.

Drew Houston, Dropbox - GigaOM RoadMap 2011

I distinctly remember the day I met Drew Houston and his co-founder Arash Ferdowsi, both MIT alumni dropouts. It was at an early edition of YCombinator’s Demo Day. I saw them again at a party hosted by Xobni and learned about their plans for Dropbox. That was in 2008. And then I wrote about the company. Four years into the future, that little germ of an idea has become a massive company. An article in Forbes has some astounding stats that give you a sense of the size and scope of Dropbox’s business.

  • A billion files saved every 24 hours.
  • It has 100 million users, twice as many as a year ago.
  • Nearly 96 percent of its customers use Dropbox for free.
  • About $500 million in revenues.
  • Almost 250 employees. It started the year with 90 employees.
  • A year ago when its revenues were $250 million, it was valued by private investors at over $4 billion. The company has attracted quite a few celebrity investors. Today its value is rumored to much higher.

That growth has come despite increased competition. In an interview with The New York Times, Houston dismissed competition and said:

“Those companies are busy trying to build something we had four years ago. We’re out front. We’re already out there and building smaller features and things. All those other companies have turf to protect, and they’re fighting a battle on a totally different front.”

Where is this company going? If its deals to bundle storage into Samsung and HTC phones are any indication, Dropbox has plans to embed itself into many devices and eventually become the “filesystem for distributed data” for the new connected world. Houston touched on this briefly at our RoadMap conference in 2011. Watch the video.

  1. An astonishing success story. The key to their success has to be the simplicity and ease of use. $500m of revenue from 250 people is impressive – but what of profit?

    Share
  2. Drew Houston graduated from MIT, he did not drop out.

    Share
  3. Great story. Impressive company. What I love most about his vision is this:
    “consumer apps and bring them into work” – BYOD
    “filesystem for distributed data”
    “makes your life easier and have stuff with me wherever I am”
    “Platform”
    “no technical termonology like backup, synch etc”

    Share
  4. I hope they can use their clout and solve some big problems. The industry needs a standard way to have documents delivered to a secure dropbox account from businesses. Example: I need my Electric Bill, Water Bill, Credit Card Bill, Bank Statements dropped into my secure account every month. Anyone who has actually tried to do on-line statements with email notifications can tell you how bad the industry is at the moment. It’s easier to scan the paper statement than to logon to every website and try to find the latest statement. We need a fast and easy way to get important documents to us from the companies we do business with. Dropbox is in a perfect position to own the Business to Customer secure communications channel.

    Share
    1. That’s a great idea Doug. You should chat with one of the online banking bill aggregators that don’t work very well. I’d pay for this.

      Share
    2. If your bills are dropped like that into your box, it would also mean potential cost reduction, since less paper is being used and less stamps are being needed.

      Share
  5. No mention of how to use it or where to find out , I know it is for outside your PC storage but for those of us ignorant of it. So how do we find out ?

    Share
  6. I am testing Google Drive because of a price factor mainly to backup pictures. But Dropbox seems to work much better as I use it for documents.

    Share
  7. Alfred Dingi Masakale(MBA) Thursday, November 15, 2012

    Wow great indeed. Other companies are indeed trying to catch up. I’m also interested in their profit figure

    Share
  8. I built an Android and chrome app called DocDock that combines Dropbox, Google Drive, Box.com, and Skydrive into one interface. You guys should check it out :)

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post