Droptalk developed a tool, available so far only in limited beta, that allows users to share links privately with friends via a Chrome extension. The plan was to offer iOS and Android apps next.
Dropbox’s interest was piqued by the fact that the Droptalk tool integrated with cloud storage. This would allow users to see, during a conversation, who was updating which files or adding files to a shared folder.
A team of former Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) and LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD) engineers formed Droptalk about a year ago. In a blog post announcing the acquisition, the Droptalk team explained that the company was formed, essentially, to kill (or at least, ‘wound’) work email and replace it with “in-browser” communication.
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In the post, founders Rakesh Mathur, Ashk Bhardwaj, and Anand Prakash said, “With Droptalk all your communications happened in the browser, tablet, or phone, eliminating the need for emails. What’s more is anytime you updated your shared folders in the cloud, everyone else in the conversation could see the updated version and go directly to the document or link right in the very same thread.”
The entire Droptalk team, five people in total, said they would be joining Dropbox as part of the acquisition. Droptalk, as an entity, would likely shut down, although TechCrunch speculated Dropbox could integrate some or all of the Droptalk technology into its core product.
Integration of email-like messaging with file storage could be an important next step for Dropbox as it pondered an initial public offering.
Dropbox chief, Drew Houston, has not been shy about the possibility, saying back in April, “We will continue to surround the company with great advisors, board members and other folks who have public company experience. I’m not worried about the tactical side of operating as a public company.”
That said, Dropbox, in considering going public, would have to weigh its competitive chances against the likes of Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL), and others in the cloud storage space.
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Rival Box beat Dropbox to the punch when it filed for an IPO in March of this year. Although Box delayed its IPO move after the filing, it could go public as early as June according to VentureBeat.
Meanwhile, Dropbox has continued building its business and acquiring entities designed to help it compete with those much larger rivals. The Droptalk acquisition follows the acquisition of Zulip earlier in 2014.
Zulip, also a pre-launch, stealth company, was working on an ‘outside-of-email’ workplace communication tool similar to Droptalk.
At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in any mentioned securities.
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