Dropbox has filed confidentially to go public, setting in motion what could be one of the most closely-watched tech IPOs of the year.
The company valued by private investors at $10 billion has tapped Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase to lead the listing process, a source with knowledge of the company has confirmed to Forbes. Dropbox declined to comment on the news, which was first reported by Bloomberg.
According to that report, Dropbox reportedly aims to list within the first half of 2018. That timeline is disputed by Forbes‘ source, who declined to provide an alternative target date.
One of tech’s youngest billionaires at 34-years-old, Dropbox CEO Drew Houston announced in January 2017 that the company had passed $1 billion in annual revenue run rate, meaning that its quarterly revenue at that time, if extrapolated across a one-year interval, would produce revenue of $1 billion. At the time, the company said it was the fastest software-as-a-service company to reach that milestone. Dropbox had about 500 million users and 200,000 paying business customers on its books a year ago.
In June 2016, Houston, who cofounded Dropbox with Arash Ferdowsi in 2007, told a tech conference in San Francisco that the company was cash flow positive. In April 2017, the company said it was profitable on an EBITDA basis, which would include its stock-based compensation.
In what may prove to have been anticipation of the IPO process, Dropbox announced in September 2017 that it was appointing Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman to its board of directors. Then in December, the company beefed up the board’s financial makeup by adding former Nike CFO Don Blair.
How Dropbox fares on the public markets will provide a prominent beacon for tech “unicorns” valued at $1 billion or more who have watched Blue Apron and Snap struggle with their public debuts in recent months and remained on the sidelines. Other high-profile companies that could follow Dropbox in upcoming months include Airbnb, WeWork and Uber, as well as companies without quite the same buzz but with the financials to go public, such as Qualtrics.
While Dropbox has faced concerns about its ability to grow new products and the struggles that have beset some of its closest peers, sources told Bloomberg in August that the company was growing its revenue at a healthy clip of about 30%. For comparison, Salesforce reported 32% annual growth for its fiscal 2015 on revenue of $5.37 billion.
In July 2017, Dropbox featured as No. 2 on the Forbes Cloud 100 list of top private cloud companies. Should it go public, its exit would dwarf cloud’s most recent biggest, AppDynamics’ acquisition for $3.7 billion in January 2017. A successful IPO would mean a windfall for early venture capital investors Sequoia Capital and Index Ventures as well as a slew of firms with smaller stakes in the longtime Silicon Valley favorite. – Written by ,
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