Dropbox, valued at $10 billion, files for initial public offering

Dropbox, a web-based cloud storage provider, filed on Friday with the SEC to raise up to $500 million in an initial public offering. The company hopes its IPO will give it the cash it needs to beat out rivals that also offer cloud documents, storage, and collaboration (like Box, Microsoft, and Google), as well as retain the individual users that have fueled most of Dropbox's growth.

Dropbox will list on NASDAQ under the stock ticker DBX, but the initial stock price is still unknown and will likely be set closer to its Wall Street debut. The last private valuation for Dropbox was $10 billion in a 2014 funding round.

A decade after it was founded, Dropbox has filed to go public. Snap Inc. gave CEO Evan Spiegel shares worth $636.6 million as the firm went public a year ago.

While there were more than 500 million registered Dropbox users at the end of previous year, only 11 million of them were paying subscribers, the firm said in the regulatory filing. To compete, Dropbox is pouring money into research and development to convert non-paying users to paid subscribers, and to enhance collaborative tools.

Dropbox noted that the actual number of people using its service might be lower because some register more than one account. And while the company lost money overall all of those years, it's been losing less and less, falling from a loss of $326 million in 2015 to $111.7 million last year.

Of course, Dropbox is quite a different business.

"We believe the need for our platform will continue to grow as teams become more fluid and global, and content is increasingly fragmented across incompatible tools and devices". In any case, it's still likely to be one of the largest USA tech IPOs in recent years. Numerous unicorns have taken big chunks of private capital to put off an IPO. Reports circulated last month that Dropbox had already filed confidentially, but the paperwork is in and it's shedding some light on the file sharing company's profitability and customer base.