3/12/12 With Redesign Done, Dropbox’s Houston Focuses On The Big Picture

Whatever you think about Dropbox‘s place in the future of communication, the company has been on a roll this year. Following up on a big redesign last week, which cleaned up navigation, search, and photos, chief executive Drew Houston got on stage last night at South By Southwest to talk about its early days, and where it’s going next.

First, the newsy bits. The company was profitable last year, he said yesterday, even though 96% of its 50 million-some users are on the free version. And, he confirmed that it had been valued at the $4 billion valuation that Arrington had heard around when it closed its massive $250 million round last fall. While he didn’t talk revenue, he said that more and more of its free users were moving to larger storage plans and starting to pay.

“Some service like ours is going to tie it all together,” he said on stage, and become a core part of how people share information across the web and mobile devices. While other companies offer their own types of cloud storage services for consumers, no one else has built an easy-to-use, platform-agnostic system. Each of these companies also has their own turf to protect – iOS, etc. — he said during the talk, and has their best engineers focused on other, more core products.

The redesign may just feel like a nice polish, but it’s a key part of the plans going forward. With each little gain in engagement, and in the amount of data stored (like a bunch of big photo files), any of its millions of free users might suddenly decide to start paying.

 

TechCrunch, Eric Eldon

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