The file-storage company filed papers confidentially to go public, a source close to the company said, for a much-delayed and much-anticipated IPO later this year. The listing, first reported by Bloomberg, will test Dropbox’s most recent valuation, $10 billion, which has been criticised by some investors as overvalued and outdated. Based in San Francisco, Dropbox is one of the highest-worth venture-backed companies that is still private.
The 10-year-old company’s exit will be a big win for the relatively small number of investors who got access to it: Sequoia, Accel, Index Ventures and Y Combinator, the incubator that has branded itself in part with the prestige of its early investment in Dropbox. Dropbox will be the first YC-backed company to go public.
The company has not raised a new round of financing since 2014 and acknowledges valuations then were quite “different” from today’s. It has also been speculated as a top IPO candidate for nearly every year since then. Dropbox waited and waited. It watched as its main competitor, Box, tried public markets with its own IPO in 2015, only to see its stock price fall over the following six months. Box has since rebounded to a market cap of about $3 billion.
Dropbox, led by founder Drew Houston, also since then has pivoted to its enterprise business; a year ago it said it had achieved a $1 billion revenue run rate. The company has steadily been adding independent directors like Meg Whitman to its board, another sign it was serious about an impending IPO.
The company was also inevitably waiting for friendly market conditions. Spotify also filed confidentially in the first weeks of 2018.
Leading Dropbox’s IPO will reportedly be Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase.