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Dropbox Files for IPO, and Other 'Unicorns' Are Watching

25 February 2018, 01:52 | Franklin Nunez

Getty Images Arash Ferdowsi and Drew Houston co-founders of Dropbox

Arash Ferdowsi and Drew Houston co-founders of Dropbox

During its early years, Dropbox ran its entire operation on Amazon's cloud computing service.

Drew Houston, chief executive of Dropbox, helped found the company in 2007, initially naming it Even Flow after a song of the same name by the rock band Pearl Jam. In any case, it's still likely to be one of the largest USA tech IPOs in recent years.

Going public is a huge milestone for Dropbox and has been one of the most anticipated tech IPOs for several years now. They'll vest over five years as long as he remains on the job.

According to its IPO prospectus, Dropbox now has 11 million paying subscribers (and 500 million registered users on the service).These subscriptions now account for 90% of the company's $1.1 billion in revenue.

Unlike the profitable Emoji Movie ($US86 million, or $108 million, domestic gross), Dropbox continues to lose money after 10 years in operation, though the company is showing impressive growth of late. Part of its success will be measured relative to Box, which went public in 2015 and will be considered a comparable.

Unlike some other cloud companies that have needed to hire big sales forces to sell to large enterprise customers, Dropbox has managed to avoid that cost, at least so far.

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"As we strive to grow our business, we expect expenses to increase in the near term", Dropbox said. "A majority of our registered users may never convert to a paid subscription at our platform", the startup warned.

The company said it had over 500 million registered users, but only 11 million of them are paying.

The IPO is likely to attract a lot of attention because Dropbox's service is so widely used. However, this is almost double the 6.5 million paying users it had just two years ago, highlighting its potential to grow. Investor Sequoia Capital has 24.8 percent. The company had an accumulated deficit of $1.05 billion as of December 31, 2017, according to the filing.

There's no word yet on when Dropbox stock will be available on the market, but it plans to trade on Nasdaq with the "DBX" symbol.

Goldman Sachs & Co LLC, J.P. Morgan and Deutsche Bank Securities are some of the leading underwriters for the IPO. LLC, BofA Merrill Lynch, RBC Capital Markets, Jefferies, Macquarie Capital, Canaccord Genuity, JMP Securities, KeyBanc Capital Markets and Piper Jaffray.



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