Dropbox has become the latest well-known consumer tech brand with a multibillion-dollar valuation to plan a stock market listing, as the financial conditions that kept tech companies from the public markets have given way to a slow thaw.
The US cloud storage company has filed details of its plan confidentially with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and hopes to go public before the end of March, said two people familiar with its plans.
If Dropbox achieves anything like the $10bn valuation it was accorded in its last private round, it would be the most valuable US tech IPO since Snap, parent of mobile app Snapchat, early last year. This year has already brought news of a planned stock market debut by streaming music service Spotify, which was valued at $8.5bn the last time it raised money privately.
Dropbox’s listing is being led by Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan. Both the company and the banks declined to comment on the IPO plan, which was first reported by Bloomberg.
The cloud storage company was the first so-called unicorn, or highly-valued private tech company, to top the $10bn mark when it raised money in 2014. The financing signalled the start of a boom in private tech financing that has since seen the emergence of nearly 20 “deca-unicorns”, as companies chose to tap a wave of private capital rather than take the traditional route to a listing. However, private investors have become more selective and less willing to pay a big premium for some companies.
However, Dropbox struggled to make a profit from its consumer service, which revolves around storing users’ files and syncing them between devices, and faced growing competition from giants such as Google and Apple. That prompted it to reposition itself as a service for businesses, using its large base of individual users, most of whom are on the service free of charge, as a foot in the door.
The company has raised nearly $1bn in equity and as much again through debt facilities in its more than 10 years.