Dropbox is a file sharing and productivity startup created by Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi in 2007.

Dropbox is a company that offers platforms for users to store and share files as well as collaborate on projects. It was established in 2007 by Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi. The company reported a revenue of $1.39 billion in 2018. The company has acquired 25 companies by January 2019, some which have been developed to become parts of Dropbox’s services, such as Orchestra Inc. (Mailbox) and Hackpad (Paper). As of 2019, Dropbox has operated as a public company. Dropbox is based in San Francisco, California, United States.

Products & service

Dropbox’s main service is its file storage, sharing, and collaboration platform, which is available on mobile (iOS and Android) and desktop applications (Linux, macOS, and Windows), alongside a web-based service. Since its official release in 2008, new individual users will receive 2GB of storage for free. Dropbox also offers paid storage subscription for businesses, allowing multiple users to operate using a business account, equipped with enterprise-grade security and team-based collaboration tools. Since 2017, Dropbox also operates Paper, a collaborative tool for document editing by multiple users.


Dropbox File Management

Overview of Dropbox's infrastructure for files

Each file uploaded to Dropbox are secured in blocks at a separate server before being transferred into the storage servers. All files are encrypted with a unique cipher during processing in the block servers. When content in files are modified, the changed information would be transmitted to the block server prior to being sent to storage. Files in Dropbox contain metadata – which are basic information such as date uploaded and modified as well file names – where they would be kept on a separate metadata server for database purposes. Any changes to files – deletion, modification, or otherwise – would be alerted to users with file access through the notification service. Dropbox maintains its own data storage servers called Magic Pocket where around 90% of users’ files are kept, although until 2016, the company exclusively used Amazon Web Services’ cloud storage.

Dropbox Paper

Overview of Dropbox Paper's infrastructure

For its Paper service, Dropbox operates a separate system for the storage and retrieval of uploaded documents. The Paper Application Servers function as a location to process user requests in regards to the document, alongside alerting the users with access of any modification to the document. When documents are in static states, they are stored in the paper database.

Images that are either embedded or uploaded to the documents are managed separately from the document servers, where they are hosted in the Paper Image Servers. When document images need to be displayed, the image data from Paper Image Servers would be transmitted to the user through the encrypted Paper Image Proxy Service.


Admin and user management

Dropbox provides multiple level of administrator privileges for organizations with more complex file authorization structures. In general, all Dropbox Business administrator accounts – be it Standard, Advanced, Enterprise, and Education – have control over sharing permissions; password set-up; web session period; remote wipe as well as user creation, suspension, and deletion. Dropbox also allows single sign-on (SSO) login methods through their API integrations. To increase security levels, the company provides a two-step verification for Dropbox logins that can be enabled by all Dropbox administrators and users.

Data protection

Dropbox uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) exclusively for data transfer from between servers or between device to servers. When at rest, all data are stored in multiple data centers equipped with 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). Dropbox Paper documents use the same security standard, though it is not stored in data centers; it is instead managed by third-party providers.


Before its IPO in 2019, Dropbox managed to raise a total funding of $1.7 billion through nine rounds, with its last round being a debt financing held on March 2017. This round managed to amass $600 million financed by six investors. In total, since its first seed round in 2007, 37 investors have contributed capital to Dropbox. Previous investors include JP Morgan Chase, RBC Capital, Deutsche Bank, Macquarie Group, and Goldman Sachs.



Dropbox ranks #1 on G2's 'Top 100 Best Software Companies' 2020 list

September 26, 2019

Dropbox launches Spaces, a desktop app that aims to improve team collaboration.

March 23, 2018

Dropbox begins its initial public offering (IPO).

Dropbox starts trading at NASDAQ, closing at $28.48 per share on March 23rd.

January 30, 2017

Dropbox officially releases Paper.

Dropbox launches Paper, a document collaboration application which has been in development since October 2015.

December 7, 2015

Dropbox announces discontinuation of Carousel and Mailbox.

Dropbox ceases operations and development for Carousel and Mailbox applications and merged several of Carousel features to Dropbox's application.

April 9, 2014

Dropbox launches Mailbox for Android and Carousel.

Dropbox launches an Android version of Mailbox, the iOS-based email client application and Carousel, the photo storage application.

October 2011

Dropbox raises a $250,000,000 series B round from Valiant Capital Partners, Goldman Sachs, Greylock Partners, RIT Capital Partners, Institutional Venture Partners, Benchmark Capital and Index Ventures.

October 1, 2008

Dropbox raises a $6,000,000 series A round from Sequoia Capital and Accel Partners.

September 11, 2008

Dropbox's services becomes available for public.

New users receive 2GB storage for free; higher storage capacity requires paid monthly subscriptions.

September 1, 2007

Dropbox raises a $1,200,000 seed round from Sequoia Capital.

June 1, 2007

Dropbox is founded by Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi.

They receive seed funding from Y Combinator.

Funding rounds

Funding round
Funding type
Funding round amount (USD)
Funding round date
6 Results
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Launch date
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Adam Smith


Aditya Agarwal


AF Square


Alex Gezelius


Alexander Davis


Alexander Wolfson


Andrew Chen


Anthony Saleh


Arash Ferdowsi


Bakhyt Nurdavletov


Betty Kayton


Bobby Yazdani


Bryan Johnson


Bryan Schreier

Board member

Charles Azrak


Chris Siglin


Daniel Broukhim


Dara Akbarian


Dave Goldberg


Dave Morin


David Finazzi


Dhari Al-Abdulhadi


Diego Berdakin


Drew Houston


Eric Graham


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Further reading


Dropbox Business Security A Dropbox Whitepaper



Dropbox Chief to Join Elite Ranks of Idea-to-I.P.O. Founders

Nellie Bowles


March 10, 2018

How two strangers set up Dropbox and made billions

Will Smale


July 16, 2018

Inside Dropbox's Identity Overhaul

Scott Rosenberg


January 30, 2017

Documentaries, videos and podcasts


Drew Houston -- The Billionaire Founder of Dropbox (#334)

August 27, 2018

Dropbox CEO talks about how he went from rejecting Steve Jobs to an $11 billion IPO (DBX)

March 23, 2018

How Dropbox Became The Startup Steve Jobs Wished To Own - with Drew Houston - Mixergy

December 21, 2011

The Other Guy Who Built Dropbox | Forbes

July 29, 2015




Scott Gilbertson
June 2, 2020
Here's how to open all your files--so you can switch between your phone and laptop seamlessly.
April 23, 2020
We're excited to announce that Dropbox has ranked #1 overall on G2's Global Top 100 Best Software Companies list for 2020. G2's Best Software Awards ranks the world's best software companies and products based on authentic, timely reviews from real users. With over 57,844 software companies on G2, Dropbox is honored to be recognized in several categories for 2020, including Top 50 Remote Tools, Top 50 SMB Products, Top 50 Enterprise Products, Top 100 Highest Satisfaction Prod...
Natasha Singer and Nicole Perlroth
April 20, 2020
Dropbox privately paid top hackers to find bugs in Zoom's software and then pressed the videoconferencing company to fix them.
April 14, 2020
With many of us working from home during the global pandemic, video conferencing has become a staple--whether it's for meetings, happy hours with friends, or play dates for kids. Dropbox illustrators partnered with external artists to create custom video conferencing backgrounds to help make your time online more enjoyable. Some illustrations provide a sense of escapism, some draw from the natural world, and others are inspired by childhood comic books. Check out what the artists created an...
March 26, 2020
Funding from 25 companies will go towards organizations responding to the crisis, with a focus on COVID-19 funds through the CDC Foundation, United Nations Foundation, and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Funding will support vulnerable populations, nonprofits, and small businesses impacted as well as national and global public health response efforts. This is an unprecedented moment in time, with the pandemic requiring companies and sectors to stand together in an urgent...
March 18, 2020
We understand that our customers depend on Dropbox more than ever when local or global disruptions occur, and we're committed to helping the global workforce stay connected. That's why we want to assure you we've built a robust infrastructure to ensure that our services and support are able to run as normal in these unprecedented times. We're also committed to keeping our employees and our community safe through our global work from home policy, and supporting nonprofits that are working...
Alex Wilhelm
February 27, 2020
A quick hit as we have a podcast to record, but a few public companies in the broader SaaS market reported earnings in the past week. Their results are worth unpacking as they paint a good picture of what the markets are hunting for in modern software companies. Of course, we're covering the firms' share-price [...]
Thales S. Teixeira
February 21, 2020
Harvard Business Review
You have options other than getting swallowed up or stomped out.
Glenn Fleishman
February 21, 2020
The two services each take a different tack to reducing storage on a local drive.
Reuters Editorial
February 20, 2020
Dropbox Inc on Thursday reported quarterly revenue that beat Wall Street estimates, as the file hosting company signed on more customers on its platform.
Zack Whittaker
February 14, 2020
Justin Berman has one of the most important jobs at Dropbox. As head of security, he oversees the company's cybersecurity strategy, its defenses and works daily to keep its more than 600 million users' data private and secure. No pressure, then. Berman joined the file storage and workspace giant a year ago during a period [...]
Dan Moren
February 7, 2020
iCloud Drive is better, but there's still a lot of improvements that need to be made.
February 4, 2020
The Hindu
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Houston have been friends for several years, appearing in photos together at birthday parties and other events
Josh Constine
February 3, 2020
Shareholders have repeatedly tried to oust Facebook's chairman Mark Zuckerberg. The board has repeatedly rejected that demand. Outside investors are unlikely to get much help with that push from Facebook's newest board member: Dropbox co-founder and CEO Drew Houston. The addition of Houston is the first since the departure of Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann from the [...]
Ron Miller
January 2, 2020
Back in 2013, Dropbox was scaling fast. The company had grown quickly by taking advantage of cloud infrastructure from Amazon Web Services (AWS), but when you grow rapidly, infrastructure costs can skyrocket, especially when approaching the scale Dropbox was at the time. The company decided to build its own storage system and network -- a [...]
December 19, 2019
Hack Week is a time for Dropboxers around the world to be audacious creators and problem solvers. Each year, Dropbox has three Hack Weeks--one company-wide, one just for the engineering, product, and design teams (EPD), and one for summer interns. These are opportunities for people to shift their focus from working on day-to-day tasks to collaborating on new projects and they're times to change the way we think about our products, processes, and the community around us. Our community spans...
Sherin Shibu
November 25, 2019
Business Insider
Houston was once a scrappy founder who had to face off against Apple, Microsoft, and Google. But a clever growth strategy powered startup success.
Jay Peters
November 4, 2019
The Verge
Dropbox announced that it's rolling out Dropbox Transfer, a new way to easily share files without also sharing access to your originals, similar to services like WeTransfer.
Chris Merriman
November 1, 2019
But he's not an ex-programmer. He has not ceased to be.
Connie Loizos
October 16, 2019
Quentin Clark resigned a couple of weeks ago as the CTO of Dropbox at the same time that the storage company announced two other execs -- Bharat Mediratta and Tim Young -- were joining its leadership team in Clark's stead. Now we know where Clark was headed -- into the world of venture capital and, [...]


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