When Dropbox officially confirmed the other day, that they got $250m venture capital (that is $250,000,000.00), I wasn’t impressed. It is a very big number, ok, but as I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, numbers can be hollow.
There seems to be an invisible energy that constantly pushes the company forward, that of a true entrepreneur. I am almost convinced that there is this guy who really wants to build something big and enjoys every moment what he is doing – otherwise he would’ve taken the money and said good-bye.
That entrepreneurial energy is what deeply impresses me in this story. That absolute will to give birth to this disruptive product and the intelligence to market it successfully. The passion to find the right trigger and overcome one of the top challenges – successfully marketing a disruptive product. They could have taken some VC money and spent it on Google to attract users. If the product is good, just burn enough money and your user base will grow. But they didn’t. Dropbox recognized very soon that buying users via Google AdWords isn’t working because their product solved a problem people weren’t aware of. Without awareness for a problem, people are not going to search for a solution and therefore spending marketing dollars on Google is not very smart.
Dropbox stayed focused on making a superior product, stayed lean, agile, flexible and still found a way to find almost 50m users for their disruptive product – this is really impressive.
But the next challenge will come and it will be a totally different one. The growing threat from Apple’s iCloud, Microsoft, Google and others. All of them have in common that they have much more money available than the $250m Dropbox just raised. They are the late followers building on the still small but already existing market. A market that Dropbox created with its entrepreneurial intelligence and vision. If they understand the consumer, these giants will use all the power they have to go after their share of this market now and as the market grows even more so in the future. They will use their monopoly-like market position and they will show no respect for Dropbox. $250m dollars won’t help Dropbox much in this fight. What will help them is their entrepreneurial energy, vision and intelligence they already showed so far. So they could continue to be a market creator. I’d like to see that happen, it would be better for this world.