Dropbox to go public with $500M IPO filing

Dropbox co-founders Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowski

Dropbox, the company best known for almost rescuing a ragtag group of emoji from a teenager's phone in The Emoji Movie, has filed for an initial public offering. Dropbox filed documents with the SEC confidentially in January and had plans to go public the first half of 2018, Bloomberg reported. Or is it more like Atlassian, the successful workplace collaboration company that offers a more friendly point of comparison for Dropbox investors?

The IPO, which would provide an exit more than a decade after Dropbox was founded, also could spur other large "unicorns" ranging from Uber Technologies Inc.to Pinterest Inc.to test the waters. That's a sentiment the protagonists of The Emoji Movie - who learn to work together to accomplish their goals and self-actualise while giving back to the community they exist in - could nearly certainly empathise with. The company also impressively posted $305 million in free cash flow in 2017 - far better than Box, which had only a positive free cash flow of $6.3 million in its latest quarterly filing at the end of 2017.

Dropbox has taken a very unconventional route to an IPO.

About $576 million of Dropbox's 2017 revenue came from the US, with $531 million coming from other countries. On Feb. 23, Dropbox announced its plans to raise $500 million through an IPO on Nasdaq (pdf) under the ticker "DBX".

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. This compares to $845 million in revenue the year before and $604 million for 2015.

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Dropbox noted in the filing that it is up against Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft in a competitive and fast-changing market.

Meanwhile, Dropbox said it now has 11 million paying users, which is far less than the 500 million registered users who access its services for free. The company said that in 2016, it was able to shrink it's cost of revenue by $35.1 million as part of its AWS migration, which it refers to as "Infrastructure Optimization". That's a statistic that the company acknowledges it needs to improve.

Goldman Sachs & Co LLC, J.P. Morgan and Deutsche Bank Securities are some of the leading underwriters for the IPO.

For instance, Dropbox paid HPE $81.7 million in 2017 for servers, services, and a "multi-year subscription agreement for access to the Dropbox platform", which likely refers to a reselling arrangement between HPE and Dropbox.



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