Like every great product it’s usually born out of a need. While some only think about the need others go to work to meet the need. This is what happened to Drew Houston when he wanted to work at a bus station while waiting for the bus to arrive. Unfortunately (or should it be fortunately) he forgot his USB flash drive so he couldn’t work. This was the start of DropBox.
Being an engineer by training he went to work creating a service that would allow him to work virtually anywhere. This was in early 2007. He then found a partner in Arash Ferdowsi and they worked virtually round the clock for three months to get their business going.
In this day and age of many new successful companies cropping up in the tech industry, they were able to get some venture capital and moved their company to San Francisco. What they provide is actually a great service. You can download their program where you can store your files in your computer while in the mean time it also creates an online storage file which syncs with your file. So there is no need to upload or download your work. You can download their programs in your other computers and from there you can continue your work. It updates itself by syncing.
How good is the duo’s product? In 2009 they refused Steve Jobs himself who reportedly gave a nine figure offer (in other words in the hundred million dollars range). Sounds like a great offer but it looks like they made the right decision. Revenues for 2011 are estimated to hit $240 million. DropBox has around 160 million users. While you can have free service up to 2GB of storage space, the company makes money by offering more space and charging a tiered rate.
A recent round of fund raising reportedly gave the upstart company a value of around $4 billion dollars. An IPO would give the true price. There doesn’t seem to be any rush at the moment and more customers are signing up. By applying the fundamental concept of syncing their company’s value is now rising.
I’ve left my USB flash drive at home in more than one occasion way before 2007. The problem was I always went back home to get it. Darn!