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With 500 million users in 180 countries, Dropbox seeks to raise $500mn in stock market debut

SAN FRANCISCO: Dropbox has filed for an initial public offering, seeking to raise an estimated $500 million for the Silicon Valley cloud computing storage startup.

The San Francisco company claimed 500 million users in 180 countries and $1 billion in annual revenues in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Dropbox said its shares will trade on the Nasdaq under the symbol “DBX.”

Its valuation based on recent funding in the group stands at around $10 billion, making Dropbox one of the biggest Silicon Valley venture-backed “unicorns,” or startups with a private valuation of more than $1 billion.

“The market is hot right now,” tech analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group said while discussing the move by Dropbox to go public with shares.

“If you are going to do an IPO (initial public offering), you are in the window. People are investing.”

What remains to be seen, Enderle noted, was whether Dropbox shrewdly spends the money it raises.

Dropbox is one of a number of tech firms centered around the internet “cloud,” allowing users to store data on one device for access by other computing devices.

Storing digital data from music and films to documents, presentations and images has become big business with the lifestyle shift to accessing content and services online from a cornucopia of internet-linked devices.

Dropbox woos users with a free version of its online file-storing service, then entices with premium features to upgrade to paid subscriptions.

While there were more than 500 million registered Dropbox users at the end of last year, only 11 million of them were paying subscribers, the firm said in the regulatory filing.

“A majority of our registered users may never convert to a paid subscription at our platform,” the startup warned.

Dropbox noted that the actual number of people using its service might be lower because some register more than one account.

– Yet to show profit –

While Dropbox has seen significant revenue growth since it was founded in 2007, but pointed out that the rate had started to slow.

Dropbox has incurred losses annually since it has been in business, logging net losses of $111.7 million and $210.2 million respectively last year and the year prior.

The company had an accumulated deficit of $1.05 billion as of December 31, 2017, according to the filing.

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