The moribund market for tech-related initial public offerings (IPOs) could be shaken up after it was reported that Dropbox is exploring a possible public listing.

The popular file-sharing service is said to looking at a possible IPO in 2017, despite question marks over its market valuation and its lack of profits.

Possible IPO

According to Bloomberg, which cited people familiar with the matter, Dropbox has met with advisers to discuss a possible IPO.

It seems that Dropbox’s management wanted to “talk about the feasibility of a listing and get a sense of the valuation the company could fetch from public market investors.”

It should be noted that the discussions are only exploratory at this stage and no final decision has been made on a potential IPO.

The news that Dropbox is considering an IPO has surprised some, considering Chief Executive Officer Drew Houston reportedly said last year that the company had no plans to go public anytime soon.

Also Houston told Bloomberg Technology Conference in June that the company is not yet profitable, but it is free-cash-flow positive.

There are also question marks over its valuation, as the firm was valued at $10bn (£7.6bn) during its last funding round in 2014. But since then a number of investors have written down the value of their holdings.

IPO Slowdown

In March this year the firm said that its cloud platform now had half a billion users, including 100 million outside the US.

It also revealed that eight million businesses use Dropbox, 200,000 of which are paying customers, and 25,000 firms are added each quarter.

There has a real slowdown in the number of tech firms going public in recent years. Dropbox’s rival, Box, went public in in 2015 and was valued only at $1.7bn (£1.1bn).

Other tech firms said to be exploring a possible IPO include Spotify and Uber.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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