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.

September 11, 2008

Dropbox's services becomes available for public.

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

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
Dropbox Series B round October 2011
October 2011
6 Results
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Launch date
Dropbox Paper
2 Results
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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




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