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Dropbox is all in on collaborative work, COO Dennis Woodside says

Woodside spoke with Recode’s Dan Frommer at Code Enterprise.

Asa Mathat for Recode

Cloud storage service Dropbox has eight million business clients, 200,000 of whom pay for it. For COO Dennis Woodside, those numbers point clearly to the company’s future.

“Dropbox, when it was started, was all about keeping your files in sync, and it was a fairly single-player experience,” Woodside told Recode’s Dan Frommer Tuesday at the Code Enterprise conference in San Francisco. “People inherently wanted to share files in their Dropbox.”

So, after flirting with consumer apps like Mailbox (email) and Carousel (photo syncing), Dropbox has since shut those projects down and turned its focus to the office. Woodside said the company plans to invest more and more in “security, productivity tools and partnerships with ecosystem players.”

Businesses that connect their Dropbox accounts to another service such as Symantec or DocuSign are more likely to upgrade to a paid Dropbox Business account, he noted.

Woodside described the company’s goal as bridging “the file world and the file-less world,” meaning making it easy for teams to collaborate both internally and with outside partners. Dropbox itself runs its day-to-day meetings, proposals and pitches on Dropbox Paper, a collaborative editing app.

“Think about [Microsoft] Word,” he said of Paper. “Word was built initially 30 years ago. The core use case was by yourself. Now, most files, you don’t print at all, and the inherent use case ought to be collaborative.”

So, is it time for Dropbox to think about going public? Woodside isn’t saying anything yet.

“The standard answer is about to come: We’re focused on building our business, doing well. We’re cash-flow positive,” he said. “Nothing to announce around an IPO.”

This article originally appeared on

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