The Dropbox IPO is scheduled for next week, and Wall Street will be watching closely to see if it’s a repeat of other disappointing tech IPOs such as Snap and Blue Apron. The cloud storage company will start trading on the NASDAQ using the ticker symbol “DBX.”
Dropbox executives are getting ready for their roadshow ahead of the company’s initial public offering and they’re releasing more and more details about the cloud storage company and its financials. After the roadshow is complete, they will finalize the IPO price for the company’s shares, using investor feedback on the price.
Today’s regulatory filing includes several fine details that investors may be confused about. For example, the company states that it has more than 500 million registered users, but only 11 million of them are paying customers. Some enterprises use Dropbox, while some individuals have upgraded their accounts to paying accounts. The cloud storage firm said its free Basic plan is the main vehicle for drawing in new paying customers.
As many tech companies continue to do after going public, Dropbox is still losing money, although the $112 million that it lost last year was an improvement from the $210 million it last in 2016. The company has warned potential investors that it isn’t focusing on profits just yet though, as it plans to start spending more on research and development to strengthen its infrastructure and hire more employees. Despite the losses, the company is free-cash-flow positive and expects the cash it currently has to be enough to support its cash needs right now.
Whenever a company files for an IPO, it’s only natural to look for other companies to compare it to and to examine their competition. Dropbox is up against the likes of cloud giants such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google and Apple. Apparently, some are looking at Box as a comparable company, but it’s easy to see why Dropbox is trying to distance itself from Box.
Box management cut their guidance for the company recently, and CEO Aaron Levie said the weak earnings outlook signals that this year will be a “transition” year. Following the guidance cut, Box stock plunged by more than 20%, so it should come as no surprise that Dropbox wants no comparison with Box. Dropbox said its competition with Box is “more limited” in terms of cloud storage among major enterprise customers.
The Dropbox IPO does follow a major trend within the technology space, as it establishes three different classes of shares. The share structure favors company founders and early investors, although unlike the Snap IPO, regular Dropbox investors will be able to vote if they own Class A shares. Snap only sold non-voting shares in its initial public offering last year.