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Is Dropbox Inflating an Internet Bubble?

Is Dropbox Inflating an Internet Bubble?
By Jennifer LeClaire

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The valuation of Dropbox is greater than $8 billion, which is more than double its Oct. 2011 funding round. A lot of smart money has already bet Dropbox will make significant inroads into both the business market and the broader cloud-computing arena. But it's hard not to think there's a bubble forming in these inflated figures.
 


Call it a valuation frenzy. Twitter’s IPO went through the roof, then we saw a quasi-bidding war between Facebook and Google for social media startup Snapchat. News reports indicate Snapchat turned down at least $4 billion to bet on a brighter future.

Now, Dropbox is getting in on the headlines. Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere, and share them easily. Any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, your phone or iPad, and the Dropbox Web site. Dropbox also makes it easy to share with others.

The company recently announced a business service that's gaining momentum. Ready to take it to the next level in competition with larger enterprises, the online collaborative storage company is claiming an $8 billion valuation.

Bloomberg Businessweek is reporting that Dropbox will work to raise $350 million in the next few weeks. The media outlet cites “two people with knowledge of the company’s plans, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.”

Is a Bubble Forming?

Dropbox’s efforts ultimately seek a valuation greater than $8 billion, which is more than double its Oct. 2011 funding round. The company attracted some heavy-hitting financiers in previous campaigns, including U2’s Bono and The Edge, Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners, and Y Combinator.

Dropbox could not immediately be reached for comment but a company spokesperson told Bloomberg Businessweek, “What we can say is that with over 200 million users and 4 million businesses, Dropbox has continued and strong momentum.”

We asked Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, for his thoughts on the proposed $8 billion-plus valuation. He told us there are two perspectives on the latest technology investment frenzy.

“One the one hand these valuations are based on market dynamics and investor demand,” Sterling said. “However, it's hard not to think we're seeing a bubble forming in these inflated figures.”

What Are Dropbox’s Revenues?

One difference between Dropbox and Snapchat is revenue. Snapchat doesn’t drive any. Dropbox does.

However, it’s not exactly clear what those revenues really are. In 2011, Forbes reported that Dropbox was set to post $240 million in topline revenue. By 2012, some estimated revenues of $500 million. But there are conflicting reports.

“The startup tallied $116 million in sales last year, more than doubling its $46 million in revenue in 2011,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “The year before, it nearly quadrupled sales from $12 million. Dropbox expects sales of more than $200 million this year, according to one of those people, but it isn’t clear how much more.”

Writing in a Forbes column, contributor Mark Rogowsky crunched all the numbers and decided that a lot of smart money has already bet Dropbox will make significant inroads into both the business market and the broader cloud-computing arena.

“But that bet is two years old, which is an eternity given how fast the landscape is changing these days,” he said. “Back then, Dropbox was less than a quarter the size is it today. Oh, and Snapchat was a month old.”
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

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Eric P.:

Posted: 2013-11-19 @ 11:36am PT
I love DropBox and have used it for years both personally and in a business environment. The biggest challenge that they face is they provide a service that is easily replicated by any number of companies, including powerful ones like Google , Amazon and Microsoft. The services are a dime a dozen right now and they way I see it, there are two things that can set a company apart: 1) tight integration with multiple platforms and 2) lots of storage space. Dropbox is doing a great job on the integration front. It couldn’t be much easier to use, whether on a Mac, PC, or cellphone. But right now, they are getting pressure on the storage space issue. I keep getting emails that Norton wants to give me 50GB and Google wants to give me 100 MB. So right now I am making the switch to a product by Barracuda called Copy. They start you out with 20GB of space (more than I have on DropBox after years) and with referrals o 5GB a pop it can go quickly from there. Check it out at https://copy.com?r=BlX7tm.



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