Today, Dropbox made it official that it has raised $250 million at a $4 billion valuation.The financing makes Dropbox cofounder and CEO Drew Houston worth $600 million at just 28 years of age.
Because that is a perplexing set of circumstances, we’ve decide to answer some frequently asked questions on the topic.
Q: I’m sorry, what?
A: Indeed. After months of rumours and reports, file-storage-on-the-Internet startup Dropbox today announced that it’s taken a big $250 million investment at a $4 billion valuation. Dropbox never confirmed the news so it could get a big fancy cover story in Forbes. (Worth a read.)
Q: Who invested?
A: A bunch of fancy pants investors broke all their own rules to get in on the round. They include: Index Ventures, Sequoia, Greylock, Benchmark, Accel, Goldman Sachs and RIT Capital Partners.
Q: OK, fine. So this isn’t made up news. But what’s Dropbox do?
A: It lets you store files on the Internet. “Devices are getting smarter—your television, your car—and that means more data spread around,” Houston tells Forbes. “There needs to be a fabric that connects all these devices. That’s what we do.”
Q: How much does Dropbox charge?
A: It’s free up to 2 gigabytes. 50 gigabytes of storages costs $10 per month. 100 costs $20. Everyday, thousands of users surpass 2 gigabytes of storage.
Q: Who is Drew Houston?
A: Drew Houston grew up near Boston and went to MIT. He came up with the idea for Dropbox after he forgot to bring a USB drive on a road trip. Dropbox is the sixth startup he’s worked for.
Q: And he’s worth how much?
Q: Where did he learn how to be a CEO?
A: Houston joined a fraternity in college – Phi Delta Theta. He became rush and social chair – “a crash course in project management and getting people to do stuff for you.”
Q: How many users does Dropbox have?
A: 50 million. That’s a 3X increase over last year. Another joins every second.
Q: What are Dropbox revenues?
A: The current annualized run-rate is $240 million.
How many people work for Dropbox?
A: 70. Mostly engineers. There will be 200 by next year.
Q. Who are Dropbox’s competitors?
A: “Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon in a way, then there’s IDrive, YouSendIt, Box.net, dozens of startups, even e-mail … people sending themselves everything,” Houston told Forbes.
Q. Did Houston make Dropbox all by himself?
A. No. His first investor, Y-Combinator’s Paul Graham, made him find a cofounder. That is Arash Ferdowsi. Ferdowsi is the guy who obssesses over Dropbox design. “I am the gatekeeper here,” Ferdowsi told Forbes. “Everything has to be just so.”
Q. Has anyone ever tried to buy Dropbox?
A. Steve Jobs brought Houston into his office last year and offered him $800 million for the company.
Q. Is Dropbox a real business that’s going to be around long term?
A. Maybe, but only if it becomes more than just a place to store files online. In an age of Spotify, Netflix, and Google Docs, files stored on hard drives are becoming a thing of the past.
Q. How does Dropbox market itself?
A. Users who refer new users get 250 megabytes of free storage.
Q. What’s with the goatee?
A. Don’t know. Fortunatly, Houston shaved it for the Forbes cover.
Q. What’s the worst, most popular song ever created thanks to Dropbox?
A. Will.i.am told Houston that he used Dropbox to collaborate with his producer when he created “I Got A Feeling.”
Q. Is Houston single?
Q: What did Steve Jobs think of Dropbox?
A: “He said we were a feature, not a product,” Houston told Forbes.
Q. I haven’t had my fill of jealousy/awe. Where can I learn more?