After a handful of barren years, the IPO market has boomed with excitement over an overabundance of highly sought-after tech companies scheduled to go public. While Airbnb will not be listed in 2018, Spotify was officially listed on April 3rd, 2018. Spotify’s IPO was a resounding success, and DropBox CEO Drew Houston will have inevitably been paying very close attention.
In early 2015, Houston and his leadership team put a plan in motion that would see Dropbox going from a negative cash flow, to a publicly listed company within 3 years. The key drivers on the campaign were centered wholly on driving revenue, getting to green, and increasing the subscriber base. As one of the original cloud-based file sharing businesses, DropBox has had a tumultuous 10 years since its inception. Now common throughout workplaces and personal computers globally, it had never been a better time to aim beyond the cloud and straight for the stars.
Just two weeks before Spotify was formally listed, DropBox got ahead of the game. On March 22nd, DropBox shares were priced at $21 each, and the IPO valued the company at $9.2 Billion, a gob smacking 800 million below DropBox’s own private valuation.
Houston is estimated to have raised over $756 million from the IPO, but it does not come without sacrifice. Now a public company, Dropbox will have one singular focus – the balance sheet come year end. Houston however has rebuffed any concerns, claiming the great clarity and transparency has helped, rather than harmed.
“It’s important to begin with the end in mind. … It’s important to understand where you’d be as a public company,” Houston said onstage. “As a private company, your scorecard or report card will be things like, How much momentum do you have? How excited is everyone? How many users do you have? But on the other side, when you’re a public company, investors will grade you pretty clinically: How much money are you making?”
Dana Olsen – Pitchbook