AIB Featured Business – Dropbox
After repeatedly forgetting his USB flash drive while he was a student at MIT, Dropbox co-founder Drew Houston developed the concept for the file hosting cloud service. Houston began developing a program for personal use, but soon realised that it could benefit others with the same issue too.
In June 2007, Dropbox, Inc. was founded and officially launched the following year at 2008’s TechCrunch50, an annual technology conference. Since then, Dropbox has certainly earnt its reputation as one of Silicon Valley’s hottest start-ups.
Marketing the idea of Dropbox prior to its launch came with difficulties, as it was impossible to demonstrate the working software in a prototype form. Co-founder Drew Houston recalls “Customers often don’t know what they want, and they often had a hard time understanding Dropbox when the concept was explained.”
To avoid the risk of waking up after years of development with a product nobody wanted, Houston did something unexpectedly easy: he made a simple three minute video demonstrating the technology as it was meant to work. The result drove hundreds of thousands of people to Dropbox’s website and in this case, the video was the minimum viable product.
Today, Dropbox builds simple, powerful products for individuals and businesses, with over 400 million people around the world now using their services to work the way they want, on any device, wherever they go. Headquartered in San Francisco, Dropbox also has offices in Austin, New York, Seattle, Dublin, Herzliya, London, Sydney and Tokyo.
Its “freemium” business model offers users a free account with a set storage size of 2GB, and paid subscriptions for accounts with more capacity. With 100,000 businesses on Dropbox Business, Houston and his team are transforming everyday workflows and entire industries.
While Dropbox has experienced rapid growth and popularity, it has also been plagued with privacy concerns in recent years. Claims that the cloud-storage giant misled users about file security have been carefully mitigated by Dropbox and continue to be addressed to ensure users trust in the service.
What do you think?
Dropbox has solved the “freemium” riddle and revolutionized the way people share files and collaborate, and Houston promises that the best is still to come. How has Dropbox changed the way you work or share? Comment below and join the conversation.
This article was written by Jelena Milutinovic on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources were used to compile this article: Dropbox; Fast Company; Forbes; Tech Crunch and Wikipedia
Image credit: Forbes