Dropbox is still hungry for cash, according to Douglas NacMillan at the Wall Street Journal, who reported that the company has closed on $250 million in new funding. The deal was led by BlackRock, but the other participants were unnamed, although likely included prior investors. Liz Gannes reported the other money may be coming in this round, with as much as $400 million in all coming in.
Last year, Dropbox CEO Drew Houston stated that the company needed to push aggressively into expanding the company’s range of offerings. He acquired Mailbox, the popular mobile email client, and rejiggered the basic architecture of the file sync-and-share offering that forms the core of its value proposition to support business and personal accounts in the same client at the same time. But he said that there was more in the works:
But the big news is revealed in a discussion between Dropbox execs and Liz Gannes at AllThingsD:
Liz Gannes, Dropbox Adds Enterprise Tools
Dropbox had to spend a year rebuilding its products to add the new enterprise-class controls the company unveiled today. “We’d been nervous,” Houston said. “If we clear off your computer, we might remote wipe all your baby photos.”
Yet, there’s more work to be done. The new version of Dropbox doesn’t include employee collaboration tools. And that feature will be essential for fully taking on Google and Microsoft in the productivity space. “We understand exactly what we have to build next,” said business product head Ilya Fushman.
Well, well, well. This is going to be interesting. Productivity doesn’t necessarily stop with editing Word docs, but also tools to support working socially, task management, curation, and potentially more in-depth solutions. My bet is that they are planning a work management toolset — or planning to buy one — as well as office-replacement apps.
I expect to see those tools rolling out in 2014.
Box, a direct competitor, raised $100 million last month on a $2 billion valuation, so this shows that the market continues to simmer. Box showed the direction that these two are headed by releasing Box Notes (see Box enters the office wars with Box Notes), a co-editing solution tightly integrated with the file sync-and-share product.
As I have said in the past, these two companies have a major incentive to move laterally with their file sync-and-share solutions: to edge into office applications, email clients, and other work tech, most obviously task management. In fact, I don’t see why they haven’t been acquiring companies like Asana, Trello, Todoist, Editorially, Draft, and the like, already.
One additional comment: I was talking with a report yesterday, and he wondered about the overlap of Evernote with Dropbox and Box. I said that Dropbox and Box are distributed virtual file systems that fill a strategic gap in today’s operating systems. They a building what should be a layer — and may be, some day — in iOS, OS X, and Android (oh, OK, and even Windows, for as long as that matters). But Evernote is a distributed virtual filing system: a place for the individual (or group) to store images, documents, drawings, and the other effluvia of everyday life or work. They are similar, but people’s intentions when deciding to use them or in everyday use, are very different.