Dropbox, a major player in online document storage and sharing for consumers, has met with bankers ahead of a possible initial public offering later this year, according to a report Thursday from Quartz. If the timing is right — the IPO could come in the second half of 2013, Quartz reported — Dropbox would beat out Box, another growing online storage vendor, in the race to go public.
While consumers have steadily flocked to Dropbox, the enterprise cloud storage space remains up for grabs. Box has long wanted to be the Dropbox of the enterprise space, as my colleague Barb Darrow reported last year. Box clients include Netflix, Dow Chemical and Procter & Gamble.
Dropbox introduced new features for enterprise IT administrators on Tuesday, including reports on employees’ storage use and the ability to give or take away access to documents for certain users and devices. But IBM and other enterprises have forbidden employees from using Dropbox, showing that hurdles to adoption persist. (A Dropbox blog post challenges that notion, stating that “people at over two million businesses and 95% of Fortune 500 companies are using Dropbox,” but does not tell whether all those companies pay for the service.)
This is also a crowded space, with other enterprise cloud storage providers such as Google Drive, Microsoft’s SkyDrive, Accellion’s kitedrive, Egnyte, GroupLogic’s activEcho, SurDoc and ownCloud aiming for a piece of the market.
Given that Dropbox has not emerged as the enterprise storage leader, it could be early for Dropbox to go in for an IPO, even as it has a $4 billion valuation and has raised $257.2 million from Sequoia Capital, Institutional Venture Partners, Goldman Sachs and others. Perhaps it would be smarter to bolt down enterprise cloud storage revenue first.
Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock user Cheryl Ann Quigley.