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Dropbox - the Gem of Silicon Valley

In: Business and Management

Submitted By etuksal
Words 1236
Pages 5
Traits and Characteristics of the Entrepreneur

Drew Houston, the CEO and the Founder of the successful tech company Dropbox, an online storage service, was born in Beaverton, Oregon in 1983. He has always been a successful and hardworking student. Houston later studied at MIT and graduated in 2006 with a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Furthermore, he met his partner and cofounder/CTO of Dropbox, Arash Ferdowsi during his years at MIT.
Before founding Dropbox, Houston worked on a number of startups, which eventually failed. These include Bit9, Accolade (an online SAT Prep startup) and Hubspot. The idea for Dropbox was born three months later on a bus to New York. He planned to work during the four-hour ride from Boston but forgot his USB memory stick, leaving him with a laptop and no code to mess with. Frustrated, he immediately started building technology to synch files over the Web. Four months later he flew to San Francisco to pitch his idea to Paul Graham of incubator Y Combinator.
Drew was announced as one of the top 30 under 30 innovators by Forbes magazine.
The background of Drew, in fact, reflects many characteristics that one would look for in an entrepreneur. Even with this little information we can see that he is a restless worker and he doesn’t give up easily. As we know one of the most crucial characteristics to have in an entrepreneur is determination. The fact that failing in the first 3 trials and not giving up proves Drew is fully equipped with this tool along with many others such as innovation, creativity and hard work.


Houston says that existing services at the time "suffered problems with Internet latency, large files, bugs, or just made me think too much". He began making something for his personal use, but then realized that it could benefit others with the same problems. Houston founded Dropbox, Inc. in June 2007, and shortly thereafter secured seed funding from Y Combinator. Dropbox officially launched at 2008's TechCrunch50, an annual technology conference.

Dropbox has become a verb over the past year (“Dropbox me”), and Silicon Valley has taken keen notice. By 2008 Houston had raised $7.2 million—enough cash, given its robust economic model, to get it to its current stage.

Due to trademark disputes between Proxy, Inc. and Evenflow (Dropbox's parent company), Dropbox's official domain name was "" until October 2009, when they acquired their current domain, "".

In December 2009 Jobs beckoned and his partner, Arash Ferdowsi, for a meeting at his Cupertino office. Jobs was interested in Dropbox, the digital storage service that has surged to 50 million users, with another joining every second. Jobs presciently saw this sapling as a strategic asset for Apple. Houston cut Jobs’ pitch short: He was determined to build a big company, he said, and wasn’t selling, no matter the status of the bidder or the prospects of a nine-digit price.

Jobs told them he was going after their market. “He said we were a feature, not a product,” says Houston.

Jobs later followed up with a suggestion to meet at Dropbox’s San Francisco office, Houston proposed that they instead meet in Silicon Valley. “Why let the enemy get a taste?” he now shrugs cockily. Instead, Jobs went dark on the subject, resurfacing, at his final keynote speech, where he unveiled iCloud, and specifically knocked Dropbox as a half-attempt to solve the Internet’s messiest dilemma: How do you get all your files, from all your devices, into one place?

The next day Houston shot a missive to his staff: “We have one of the fastest-growing companies in the world,” it began. Then it featured a list of one-time meteors that fell to Earth: MySpace, Netscape, Palm, Yahoo .

In May 2010, Dropbox users in China were unable to access Dropbox. Later, Dropbox confirmed they had been blocked by the Chinese government. Due to the fact that the censorship usually focuses on popular services only, many considered this evidence of Dropbox's rapidly rising popularity and international user base.

At this point we observe how fast the process happened. In the case of Dropbox, the product was so effective that the entrepreneur didn’t have to fight extremely hard for the resources. However, he came across many difficulties such as trademark issues or big corporations trying to swallow his company. On of the major issues he faced was the blockage from the Chinese government. Unfortunately, Dropbox today is still blocked in China.
One of the key successful achievements of Dropbox is that they were able to cut a deal with mobile providers Softbank and Sony Ericsson agreeing that the service would come preinstalled on these mobile phones.
Also looking at the storyline we see another important characteristic of an entrepreneur that believing in his project. With his bold move of turning down an offer from Apple and confronting them, as a rival was an essential turning point on the story of Dropbox.


On November 12, 2012, Dropbox announced it had reached 100 million users.
On December 19, 2012, Dropbox acquired Snapjoy, which provided a service for aggregating, archiving and viewing all digital photographs taken with cameras, phones, or popular photo applications. Financial terms were not released at the time of the acquisition.
As of February 2013, Dropbox was responsible for 0.29% of all worldwide Internet traffic.
On March 15, 2013, Dropbox acquired the email management application for iOS Mailbox.
On July 20, 2013, Dropbox acquired mobile coupon startup Endorse.
On November 13, 2013, Dropbox announced it had reached 200 million users, and announced changes to "Dropbox for Business".

Dropbox Inc. has closed on about $250 million in a funding round that values the online-storage provider at close to $10 billion. At $10 billion, Dropbox is now one of the most highly valued companies backed by venture capitalists. The company's valuation has more than doubled since late 2011, when investors valued the San Francisco-based company at $4 billion. The company also got a higher price than expected when it approached investors as recently as November.
Looking at the results there is not much to room to talk about success or failure. The results are obvious. The question is what key factors led the venture to this success.
• Dropbox solved the design and engineering problems in an elegant fashion. They secured funding and saw an opportunity for mainstream success
• Dropbox was very difficult to explain. It was a new idea that lived in a world without analogy. This is where Dropbox found a solution. The home page of was redesigned to display a short animated video to introduce and explain the product
• Instead of using traditional advertising to “buy” each new customer, it’s possible to use growth hacks to acquire customers in ways that scale.
• For example, one growth hack is to incentivize some of your current users to refer others
• Availability on Multiple Devices & Platforms
• Dropquest contest run by Dropbox that makes users go through different puzzles and scavenger hunts. Those who complete and place in the top 176 get free space
• Social media: Dropbox did something a little different. With each Follow on Twitter, Connect with Facebook or Twitter, Dropbox gives the user a 125MB increase
• Dropbox makes it simple for people to share files
• Refer a Friend: According to Houston, referrals increased Dropbox signups by 60%…...

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