SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
☒ ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021
☐ TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from________to________
Commission File Number 001-38434
|(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)|
|(State or other jurisdiction of|
incorporation or organization)
1800 Owens Street
San Francisco, California 94158
(Address of principal executive offices, including zip code)
(Registrant's telephone number, including area code)
|Title of each class||Trading Symbol(s)||Name of exchange on which registered|
|Class A Common Stock, par value $0.00001 per share||DBX||The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the "Exchange Act"). Yes ☐ No ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports) and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
|Large accelerated filer|| ||☒|| ||Accelerated filer|| ||☐|
|Non-accelerated filer|| ||☐|| ||Smaller reporting company|| ||☐|
| ||☐|| || |
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 7(a)(2)(B) of the Securities Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes ☐ No ☒
The aggregate market value of the registrant's Class A common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant, based on the closing price of a share of the registrant's Class A common stock on June 30, 2021 as reported by the NASDAQ Global Select Market on such date was approximately $7,207.4 million. Shares of the registrant’s Class A common stock held by each executive officer, director and holder of 5% or more of the outstanding Class A common stock have been excluded as such persons may be deemed to be affiliates. This calculation does not reflect a determination that certain persons are affiliates of the registrant for any other purpose.
As of February 15, 2022 there were 298,856,588 shares of the registrant's Class A common stock outstanding (which includes 8,266,666 shares of Class A common stock subject to restricted stock awards that were granted pursuant to the Co-Founder Grants, and vest upon the satisfaction of a service condition and achievement of certain stock price goals, and 2,415,437 shares of Class A common stock subject to restricted stock awards that were granted to other Dropbox executives and vest upon the satisfaction of a service condition and, as applicable, achievement of certain stock price goals), 82,798,358 shares of the registrant’s Class B common stock outstanding, and no shares of the registrant’s Class C common stock outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant's definitive Proxy Statement relating to the 2022 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated herein by references in Part II and Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K to the extent stated herein. Such Proxy Statement will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days of the registrant's fiscal year ended December 31, 2021.
SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), which statements involve substantial risk and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements generally relate to future events or our future financial or operating performance. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements because they contain words such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “expects,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “could,” “intends,” “target,” “projects,” “contemplates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” “potential,” or “continue” or the negative of these words or other similar terms or expressions that concern our expectations, strategy, plans, or intentions. Forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K include, but are not limited to, statements about:
•Our ability to retain and upgrade paying users;
•Our ability to attract new users or convert registered users to paying users;
•Our future financial performance, including trends in revenue, costs of revenue, gross profit or gross margin, operating expenses, paying users, annual recurring revenue, average revenue per user, free cash flow, and the assumptions underlying such trends;
•Our expectations regarding the challenges and anticipated benefits to our business from our Virtual First work model as well as the impact to our financial results and business operations as a result of this model;
•Our ability to compete successfully in competitive markets;
•Our expectations regarding the potential ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and related public health measures, as well as the potential for a more permanent global shift to remote work, on our business, the business of our customers, suppliers and partners, and the economy;
•The demand for our platform or for content collaboration solutions in general;
•Our ability to effectively integrate our platform with others;
•Our ability to respond to rapid technological changes, including our ability to take advantage of potential market opportunities arising from what we believe to be a more permanent shift towards remote work;
•Our ability to achieve or maintain profitability;
•Our expectations around future growth;
•Our ability to successfully introduce new products and features;
•Our ability to attract, retain, integrate, and manage key and other highly qualified personnel, including as we transition to a Virtual First model with an increasingly distributed workforce;
•Our ability to prevent security breaches and unauthorized access to customer data;
•Our capital allocation plans, including expected allocations of cash and timing for our share repurchases and other investments;
•The effects of new or modified laws, policies, taxes, and regulations on our business;
•Our ability to maintain, protect, and enhance our intellectual property;
•The sufficiency of our cash and cash equivalents to meet our liquidity needs; and
•Acquisitions of companies and assets.
We caution you that the foregoing list may not contain all of the forward-looking statements made in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
You should not rely upon forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. We have based the forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K primarily on our current expectations and projections about future events and trends that we believe may affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects. The outcome of the events described in these forward-looking statements is subject to risks, uncertainties, and other factors described in the section titled “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Moreover, we operate in a very competitive and rapidly changing environment. New risks and uncertainties emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for us to predict all risks and uncertainties that could have an impact on the forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. We cannot assure you that the results, events, and circumstances reflected in the forward-looking statements will be achieved or occur, and actual results, events, or circumstances could differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements.
The forward-looking statements made in this Annual Report on Form 10-K relate only to events as of the date on which the statements are made. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements made in this Annual Report on Form 10-K to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K or to reflect new information or the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as required by law. We may not actually achieve the plans, intentions, or expectations disclosed in our forward-looking statements, and you should not place undue reliance on our forward-looking statements. Our forward-looking statements do not reflect the potential impact of any future acquisitions, mergers, dispositions, joint ventures, or investments we may make.
SUMMARY OF RISK FACTORS
Below is a summary of the principal factors that could materially harm our business, operating results and/or financial condition, impair our future prospects or cause the price of our Class A common stock to decline. This summary does not address all of the risks that we face. Additional discussion of the risks summarized in this risk factor summary, and other risks that we face, can be found below under the heading “Risk Factors” and should be carefully considered, together with other information in this Form 10-K and our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") before making an investment decision regarding our Class A common stock.
•Our business depends on our ability to retain and upgrade paying users, and any decline in renewals or upgrades could adversely affect our future results of operations.
•Our future growth could be harmed if we fail to attract new users or convert registered users to paying users.
•Our revenue growth rate has declined in recent periods and may continue to slow in the future.
•We have a limited history of operating with a Virtual First workforce and the long-term impact on our financial results and business operations is uncertain.
•We operate in competitive markets, and we must continue to compete effectively.
•Our business could be damaged, and we could be subject to liability if there is any unauthorized access to our data or our users' content, including through privacy and data security breaches or incidents.
•Our business could be harmed by any significant disruption of service on our platform or loss of content.
•The full extent of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business is currently unknown, but it may adversely affect our financial results as well as our business operations.
•We generate revenue from sales of subscriptions to our platform, and any decline in demand for our platform or for content collaboration solutions in general could negatively impact our business.
•Our business depends upon the interoperability of our platform across devices, operating systems, and third-party applications that we do not control.
•Failure to respond to rapid technological changes, extend our platform, or develop new features or products may harm our ability to compete effectively, which would adversely affect our business.
•We may not successfully manage our growth or plan for future growth.
•We depend on our key personnel and other highly qualified personnel, and if we fail to attract, integrate, and retain our personnel, and maintain our unique corporate culture, our business could be harmed.
•We have a history of net losses, we may increase expenses in the future, and we may not be able to achieve or to maintain profitability.
•Our lack of a significant outbound sales force may limit the potential growth of our business.
•Servicing our 2026 Notes and 2028 Notes may require a significant amount of cash, and we may not have sufficient cash flow or the ability to raise the funds necessary to satisfy our obligations under the 2026 Notes or 2028 Notes.
ITEM 1. BUSINESS
Dropbox, Inc. (the “Company”, “we”, or “us”) is the one place to keep life organized and keep work moving.
We were founded in 2007 with a simple idea: Life would be a lot better if everyone could access their most important information anytime from any device. Over the past decade, we’ve largely accomplished that mission by building tools to help people work from anywhere—and along the way we recognized that for most of our users, sharing and collaborating on the Dropbox, Inc. platform (“Dropbox”) was even more valuable than storing files.
Our market opportunity has grown as we’ve expanded from keeping files in sync to keeping teams in sync. Today, we are well-positioned to reimagine the way work gets done. We're focusing on reducing the inordinate amount of time and energy the world spends on “work about work”—tedious tasks like searching for content, switching between applications, and managing workflows. 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. Dropbox breaks down silos by centralizing the flow of information between the products and services our users prefer, even if they’re not our own. In a world where using technology at work can be fragmented and distracting, Dropbox makes it easy to focus on the work that matters.
The popularity of our platform promotes viral growth, which has allowed us to scale rapidly and efficiently. We’ve built a thriving global business with 16.79 million paying users as of December 31, 2021.
What Sets Us Apart
From our founding, we’ve focused on simplifying the lives of our users. In a world where business software can be frustrating to use, challenging to integrate, and expensive to sell, we take a different approach. As businesses around the world adapt to a distributed environment, we are at the forefront of developing the technology to support them. We provide tools to help distributed teams prioritize, get organized, and keep work moving securely—from anywhere.
Simple and intuitive design
While traditional tools developed in the desktop age have struggled to keep up with evolving user demands, Dropbox was designed for the cloud era. We build simple, beautiful products that bring joy to our users and make it easier for them to do their best work.
Because people use a wide variety of devices, tools and platforms, Dropbox works across the devices, operating systems, and apps users want—from Android to iOS, Windows, Mac, desktop, and mobile. We also integrate seamlessly with other products, integrating with partners including Microsoft, Zoom, Slack, BetterCloud, Atlassian, and Google.
Viral, bottom-up adoption
Every year, millions of users sign up for Dropbox at work. Bottom-up adoption within organizations has been critical to our strategy and success as users increasingly choose their own tools at work. We generate over 90% of our revenue from self-serve channels—users who purchase a subscription through our app or website.
Performance and security
Our custom-built infrastructure allows us to maintain high standards of performance, availability, and security. Dropbox is built on proprietary, block-level sync technology to achieve industry-leading performance. We designed our platform with multiple layers of redundancy to guard against data loss and deliver high availability. We also offer numerous layers of protection, from secure file data transfer and encryption to network configuration and application-level controls.
Dropbox allows individuals, teams, and organizations to collaborate more effectively and focus on the work that matters. Anyone can sign up for free through our website or app, and upgrade to a paid subscription plan for premium features. Our customers include individuals, families, teams, and organizations of all sizes, from freelancers and small businesses to Fortune 100 companies. They work across a wide range of industries, including professional services, technology, media, education,
industrial, consumer and retail, and financial services. Within companies, our platform is used by all types of teams and functions, including sales, marketing, product, design, engineering, finance, legal, and human resources.
Key elements of our platform
•Unified home for content. We provide a unified home for the world’s content and the relevant context around it. To date, our users have added hundreds of billions of pieces of content to Dropbox, totaling over multiple exabytes of data. When users adopt the Dropbox platform, they gain access to a digital workspace that supports the full content lifecycle—they can create and organize their content, access it from anywhere, share it with internal and external collaborators, and review feedback and history.
•Global sharing network. We’ve built one of the largest collaboration platforms in the world. We cater to the needs of dynamic, dispersed teams. The overwhelming majority of our customers use Dropbox to share and collaborate. As we continue to grow, more users benefit from frictionless sharing, and powerful network effects increase the utility and stickiness of our platform.
•Product experiences and integrations. The insights we glean from our community of users and our deep integrations with best-of-breed companies lead us to develop or acquire new product experiences and extend the capabilities of our platform. Products like Dropbox Passwords, Vault, Computer Backup, HelloSign, DocSend, and Dropbox Capture and deep integrations with companies like Microsoft, Zoom, Atlassian, Slack, and BetterCloud help us provide our users with the functionality they need to do their best work. Machine learning further improves the user experience by enabling more intelligent search, better organization, and utility of information. This ongoing innovation broadens the value of our platform and deepens user engagement.
These elements reinforce one another to produce a powerful flywheel effect. As users create and share more content with more people, they expand our global sharing network. This network allows us to gather insights and feedback that help us create new product experiences. And with our scale, we can instantly put these innovations in the hands of millions. This, in turn, helps attract more users and content, which further propels the flywheel.
Dropbox is a single organized place where individuals and teams can create content, access it from anywhere, and share it with collaborators. The power of our platform lies in the breadth of our capabilities and the diverse ways our users make Dropbox work for them. We monetize through a range of subscription plans. Our platform capabilities are described below:
Paper. With Dropbox Paper, users can co-author content, tag others, create timelines, assign tasks with due dates, embed and comment on files, tables, checklists, code snippets, and rich media—all in real-time. We designed Paper to be simple and beautiful so users can focus on the most important ideas and tasks at hand.
Doc scanner. The doc scanner in our mobile app lets users create content in Dropbox from hard copies. This includes transforming everything from printed materials to whiteboard brainstorming sessions into digital documents that users can edit and share. We apply proprietary machine learning techniques to automatically detect the document being scanned, extract it from the background, fit it to a rectangular shape, remove shadows, adjust the contrast, and save it as a PDF or image file. For Dropbox Business teams, scanned content is analyzed using Optical Character Recognition so text within these scans is searchable in Dropbox.
Access and organize
Search. Dropbox has powerful search capabilities that allow users to quickly find the files and folders they need. Our autocomplete technology surfaces and prioritizes content based on users’ previous activity. For Dropbox Plus, Professional, and Business users, full text search allows users to scan the entire content of their files.
Rich previews. Rich previews allow users to easily interact with files across any device without having to open different applications. Users can comment on, annotate, review, and present files, and see who viewed and edited them. We support previews of over 300 file types, and Dropbox users currently preview files tens of millions of times every day.
Smart Sync. With Smart Sync, users can access all of their content natively on their computers without taking up storage space on their local hard drives. We intelligently sync files to a user’s computer as they need them, and users can control which files or folders are always synced locally. With Smart Sync, files that are only stored in the cloud appear in the local file system
and can be opened directly from Windows File Explorer or Mac Finder, instead of having to navigate to our web interface. Smart Sync is available to Dropbox Plus, Professional, and Business users.
Version history. As paying users work on files, our servers keep snapshots of all their changes. Users can see a file’s complete version history so they can reference and retrieve older versions if needed. Version histories are kept between 30 to 180 days for paying users, depending on subscription plan.
Third-party ecosystem. Our open and thriving ecosystem fosters deeper relationships with our users and developers. Developers can build applications that connect to Dropbox through our DBX Developer Platform. For example, email apps can plug into Dropbox to send attachments or shared links, video-conferencing apps allow users to start meetings and share content natively from Dropbox, and eSignature apps give users the ability to manage and maintain contract workflows all from within Dropbox. As of December 31, 2021, Dropbox was receiving over 75 billion API calls per month and just under 1,000,000 developers had registered and built applications on our platform. In addition, more than 80% of Dropbox Business teams have linked to one or more third-party applications.
Rewind. Dropbox Rewind is a tool that lets a user take a folder, or their entire account, back to a specific point in time. The tool uses version history to undo changes made to files and folders and can recover any file edits or deletions made within the last 30 to 180 days depending on the users’ subscription.
Computer Backup. Computer backup automatically syncs folders on a user's computer to the cloud. When turned on, files on the user's PC or Mac are continuously backed up on the cloud. Any changes made in synced folders are automatically updated in the Dropbox account and on the hard drive. Computer backup allows users to get up-to-date versions of files stored on the user's PC or Mac from anywhere and from any device instantly. Content is secure in the cloud, no matter what happens to the user's computer.
Passwords. Dropbox Passwords allows users to sign-in to websites and apps by creating and storing unique usernames and passwords across devices. The app can autofill usernames and passwords for instant access anywhere within applications available for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.
Vault. Dropbox Vault helps secure and organize sensitive information in the cloud. Vault is a PIN-protected folder in Dropbox that a user can access any time and on any device. Sensitive data can be added and viewed from any device: Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.
Folders. There are three types of folders in Dropbox: private, shared, and team folders. A private folder allows an individual to sync files between devices. A shared folder allows users to quickly and easily start a project space for group collaboration. A team folder, which is only available for Dropbox Business teams, is a central, administrator-managed hub where they can store and collaborate on content.
Shared links. Users can share files and folders with anyone, including non-Dropbox users, by creating a Dropbox link. Once created, the link can be sent through email, text, Facebook, Twitter, instant message, or other channels. The recipient can view the file with a rich preview or see all the files in a shared folder. Dropbox Professional subscribers and Dropbox Business teams can set passwords and expiration dates and specify whether recipients can comment on or download the files.
Transfer. Dropbox Transfer gives users a quick and secure way to send large files or collections of files to anyone. With Transfer, users can send up to 100 GB of files in just a few clicks. Users also have the option to drag and drop files to upload from their computer, or add items stored in Dropbox. After creating a transfer, users receive a link that can be pasted anywhere and sent to anyone. Recipients receive copies of the files, so the sender’s originals remain untouched.
File requests. With file requests, users can invite anyone to submit files into a specified Dropbox folder through a simple link—regardless of whether the recipient has a Dropbox account. File requests are ideal for tasks such as collecting bids from contractors or requesting submissions from coworkers and clients. All submitted files are organized into a Dropbox folder that’s private to the requesting user.
Watermarking. Our Dropbox watermarking feature allows users to protect and share digital files quickly and easily. The watermark feature can be used to protect graphic designs, confidential contracts, and personal photographs. Users can create their own custom watermark and watermark any file without leaving Dropbox.
DocSend. DocSend is a secure document sharing and analytics platform that gives customers visibility into what happens to their documents after they send them. DocSend technology enables customers to track who opens their documents and how much time they spend on each page, protect documents with security features like email verification and viewer whitelisting, and share multiple documents with a single link.
Shop. Dropbox Shop provides users with a valuable and flexible digital sales experience for creators by streamlining the process of sharing and monetizing their content, all within Dropbox. This platform allows creators to easily sell content directly to their customers. Users can add content directly from Dropbox or their computer, set a custom image, audio, or video preview, and determine their price. Buyers with a Dropbox account can access everything they have purchased when logged in and those that don't have Dropbox can purchase content via email verification and download it within a specific timeframe.
Comments and annotations. Dropbox comments and annotations marry content with the conversations and relevant context around it. Instead of being scattered across separate silos, such as email and chat, the editing and development of content are tied to a file. Users can give feedback on specific parts of files through a rich, innovative overlay on our web and mobile platforms.
File activity stream. An activity feed lives next to every file preview on our web interface and in the desktop app, telling users what’s happening with a file. The feed shows when someone opens a file, edits a file, or shares a file.
Notifications. We use real-time notifications across all our channels—web, desktop, email, and mobile—to keep users up-to-date on what’s happening with their work. Users can choose to be notified when someone opens, edits, shares, or comments on a file, or adds a file to their shared folders.
Viewer information and presence. On both file previews and Paper docs, Dropbox shows users in real-time who’s viewing a doc and when a doc was last viewed by other users. On desktop, the Dropbox badge is a subtle overlay to Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint that lets users know if someone opens or edits the file they’re working in. The Dropbox badge gives users real-time insight into how others are interacting with their content, bringing modern collaboration features often found only in web-based documents to desktop files.
HelloSign. HelloSign is an eSignature and document workflow platform that enables customers to easily sign, send, and receive documents through its intuitive web and mobile based interfaces. Once documents are signed, copies automatically sync to the user's Dropbox account.
Capture. Dropbox Capture is an all-in-one visual communication tool that helps team members share their work and idea asynchronously. Dropbox Capture allows users to visually present their work through easy-to-take screen recordings, GIFs, and screenshots.
Security protections. We employ strong protections for all of the data on our platform.
•Encryption. Dropbox file data at rest is encrypted using 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard, or AES. To protect data in transit between Dropbox apps such as desktop, mobile, API, or web and our servers, Dropbox uses Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, and Transport Layer Security, or TLS, for data transfer, creating a secure tunnel protected by 128-bit or higher AES encryption.
•File recovery. Every deletion event in Dropbox is recorded, including when groups of files are deleted. Users can easily recover files through our web interface. Dropbox Plus subscribers may recover prior versions for up to 30 days after deletion, and Dropbox Professional and Dropbox Business subscribers may recover prior versions for up to 180 days after deletion.
Administrator controls. Dropbox Business team administrators have many ways to customize security settings in both global and granular ways, including real-time detections of suspicious behavior, risky activity, and potential data leaks.
•Sharing permissions: Team administrators can set up and monitor how their members share team folders, and can set sharing permissions on all folders, sub-folders, and links through the sharing tab.
•Remote device wipe: Team administrators can delete their organization’s Dropbox content from a member’s linked devices, which is especially useful should someone lose a device or leave the team.
•Audit log: Team administrators can monitor which members are sharing files and logging into Dropbox, among other events. They can review activity logs, create full reports for specific time ranges, and pull activity reports on specific members. Advanced and Enterprise team administrators have access to audit logs with file-event tracking.
•Device approvals: Advanced and Enterprise team administrators can manage how members access Dropbox on their devices.
•Tiered administrator roles: Advanced and Enterprise teams have the ability to set multiple administrator roles, each with a different set of permissions.
•Network control: Enterprise team administrators can restrict personal Dropbox usage on their organization’s network.
Third-party security integrations. We’ve partnered with industry-leading third parties to enable us to provide a wide range of IT processes and satisfy industry compliance standards, including:
•Security information and event management: Allows Dropbox Business administrators to oversee and manage employee activity, and access sensitive data through the administrator page.
•Data loss prevention: Protects sensitive data like personally identifiable information and payment card industry data stored in Dropbox Business accounts.
•eDiscovery and legal hold: Enables secure search and the ability to collect and preserve electronically stored information in Dropbox Business accounts.
•Digital rights management: Provides third-party encryption for company data stored in Dropbox Business accounts.
•Data migration and on-premises backup: Assists in transferring large amounts of data between locations and securing sensitive information with on-site data backup.
•Identity management: Allows companies to keep their Dropbox Business team authenticated with an external identity provider like Active Directory.
Our Subscription Plans
We offer a range of subscription plans for our users, including a free, Basic plan, paid Personal plans, and Business plans.
We’ve built a thriving global business with 16.79 million paying users. As of December 31, 2021, we had more than 550,000 paying Dropbox Business teams. Our customer base is highly diversified, and in 2019, 2020, and 2021, no customer accounted for more than 1% of our revenue. Our customers include individuals, families, teams, and organizations of all sizes, from freelancers and small businesses to Fortune 100 companies. They work across a wide range of industries, including professional services, technology, media, education, industrials, consumer and retail, and financial services. Within companies, our platform is used by all types of teams and functions, including sales, marketing, product, design, engineering, finance, legal, and human resources.
How we support our customers
All of our users can access support through the following resources:
•Help center: Provides an online repository of helpful information about our platform, responses to frequently asked questions, and best practices for use.
•Community support: Facilitates collaboration between users on answers, solutions, and ideas about our platform in an online community.
•Social media support: Provides users real-time product and service updates, and offers tips and troubleshooting information.
•Guided troubleshooting: Offers step-by-step instructions to resolve common questions and provides a portal to submit help requests for questions that aren’t otherwise addressed.
We also offer additional levels of support for our paying users depending on the subscription plan they choose.
Our Sales and Marketing Approach
As users share content and collaborate on our platform, they introduce and invite new users, driving viral growth. We generate over 90% of our revenue from self-serve channels, which limits customer acquisition costs.
We’ve developed an efficient marketing function that’s focused on building brand awareness and reinforcing our self-serve model.
Our goal is to rapidly demonstrate the value of our platform to our users in order to convert them to paying users and upgrade them to our premium offerings. We reach them through in-product prompts and notifications, time-limited trials of paid subscription plans, email, and lifecycle marketing. Each year, hundreds of millions of devices—including computers, phones, and tablets—are actively connected to the Dropbox platform, representing a large number of touchpoints to communicate with our users. We complement our self-serve strategy with a focused outbound sales effort targeted at organizations with existing organic adoption of Dropbox.
Once prospects are identified, our sales team works to broaden adoption of our platform into wider-scale deployments. We also acquire some users through paid marketing and distribution partnerships in which hardware manufacturers pre-install our software on their devices.
Our Technology Infrastructure and Operations
Our users trust us with their most important content, and we focus on providing them with a secure and easy-to-use platform. More than 90% of our users’ data is stored on our own custom-built infrastructure, which has been designed from the ground up to be reliable and secure, and to provide annual data durability of at least 99.999999999%. We have datacenter co-location facilities in California, Oregon, Texas, and Virginia.
We also utilize Amazon Web Services, or AWS, for the remainder of our users’ storage needs and to help deliver our services. These AWS datacenters are located in the United States, Australia, Europe, and Japan, which allows us to localize where content is stored. Our technology infrastructure, combined with select use of AWS resources, provides us with a distributed and scalable architecture on a global scale.
We designed our platform with multiple layers of redundancy to guard against data loss and deliver high availability. Incremental backups are performed hourly and full backups are performed daily. In addition, as a default, redundant copies of content are stored independently in at least two separate geographic regions and replicated reliably within each region.
Our Commitment to Security, Privacy and Legal Compliance
Trust is the foundation of our relationship with our users, and we take significant measures every day to protect their privacy and security.
Our sophisticated infrastructure is designed to protect our users’ content while it is transferred, stored, and processed. We offer multiple layers of protection, including secure file data transfer, encryption, network configuration, and application-level controls. For Dropbox Business teams, our tools also empower administrators with control and visibility features that allow them to customize our platform to their organizations’ needs. Our information security policies and management framework are designed to build a culture of security, and we continually assess risks and improve the security, confidentiality, integrity, and availability of our systems. We voluntarily engage third-party security auditors to test our systems and controls at least annually against the most widely recognized security standards and regulations. We also encourage and support independent research through our bug bounty program, where we work with leading security researchers from around the world to maintain the high standards of security our users have come to expect.
Dropbox supports HIPAA and HITECH compliance. We sign business associate agreements with our customers who require them in order to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, or HITECH. We also offer a HIPAA assessment report performed by an independent third party.
We are committed to keeping user data private, and are subject to a number of privacy laws and regulations such as the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR") and the California Consumer Privacy Act ("CCPA") in the
Other Government Regulations
We are subject to compliance with various laws and regulations. These include those covering copyright, indecent content, child protection, and similar matters regarding the content stored and created on our platform as well as consumer protection laws that may impact our sales and marketing efforts, including laws related to subscriptions, billing, and auto renewal. In addition to laws and regulations governing content stored and created on our platform and consumer protection, we are also subject to anti-corruption laws and export and import regulations. The laws in these areas are often in a state of flux and can vary widely between jurisdictions. To comply with and manage our obligations under such laws and regulations, we track relevant legislative, regulatory, and contractual requirements. In addition, we have instituted processes and policies to ensure we review our business practices for appropriate compliance with such requirements.
The market for content collaboration platforms is competitive and rapidly changing. Certain features of our platform compete in the cloud storage market with products offered by Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Slack, Google, and Adobe and in the content collaboration market with products offered by Microsoft, Atlassian, and Google. On a more limited basis, we compete with Box in the cloud storage market for deployments by large enterprises and with Adobe and DocuSign in the e-signature market. We also compete with smaller private companies that offer point solutions in the cloud storage market or the content collaboration market.
We believe that the principal competitive factors in our markets include the following:
•ease of adoption and use;
•scale of user network;
•features and platform experience;
•security and privacy;
•accessibility across several devices, operating systems, and applications;
•continued innovation; and
We believe we compete favorably across these factors and are largely unhindered by legacy constraints. However, some of our competitors may have greater name recognition, longer operating histories, more varied services, the ability to bundle a broader range of products and services, larger marketing budgets, established marketing relationships, access to larger user bases, major distribution agreements with hardware manufacturers and resellers, and greater financial, technical, and other resources.
We believe that our intellectual property rights are valuable and important to our business. We rely on patents, patent applications, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, know-how license agreements, confidentiality procedures, non-disclosure agreements, employee disclosure and invention assignment agreements, and other contractual rights to establish and protect our proprietary rights. In addition, from time to time we’ve purchased patents, inbound licenses, trademarks, domain names, and patent applications from third parties.
We have over 1,400 issued patents and more than 350 pending patent applications in the United States and abroad. These patents and patent applications seek to protect our proprietary inventions relevant to our business. In addition, we license a number of key third-party patents in the file collaboration, storage, syncing, and sharing markets.
We have trademark rights in our name, our logo, and other brand indicia, and have trademark registrations for select marks in the United States and many other jurisdictions around the world. We also have registered domain names for websites that we use in our business, such as www.dropbox.com, and similar variations.
We intend to pursue additional intellectual property protection to the extent we believe it would be beneficial and cost effective. Despite our efforts to protect our intellectual property rights, they may not be respected in the future or may be invalidated, circumvented, or challenged. In addition, the laws of various foreign countries where our products are distributed may not protect our intellectual property rights to the same extent as laws in the United States.
At Dropbox, we believe that the world can work better. But that starts with us: building a team that emphasizes the kindness and collaboration needed to grow. We believe the strength of our workforce is one of the most significant contributors to our success. As of December 31, 2021, we had 2,667 full-time employees. Of our full-time employees, 2,293 were located in the United States and 374 were employees located outside of the United States. None of our employees are represented by a labor union. We have not experienced any work stoppages, and we believe that our employee relations are strong.
On January 13, 2021, we announced a reduction in our global workforce of approximately 11% in order to streamline our operations and reallocate our investments to support our strategic priorities. We provided employees impacted by this reduction in force with severance packages and job placement support.
In October 2020, we announced our Virtual First work model pursuant to which remote work has become the primary experience for all of our employees. As a result, we intend for our workforce to continue becoming more distributed over time. We also promote work-life balance by empowering our employees to adopt flexible working arrangements and providing tools for efficient remote collaboration and continuing to provide opportunities for in-person collaboration, when safe to do so, at our “Dropbox Studios” locations. Additionally, we provide our employees with a flexible quarterly allowance that can be used to cover expenses related to health and fitness, family and caregiver support, productivity and ergonomics, financial wellness, and learning and development programs, as well as resources to support Dropboxer effectiveness in their work environments.
Compensation and Benefits Program
Our compensation program is designed to attract and reward talented individuals who possess the skills necessary to support our business, contribute to our strategic goals and create long-term value for our stockholders. We provide employees with competitive compensation packages that include base salary, annual incentive bonuses, 401(k) with a company match, and equity awards tied to the value of our stock price. Our highly competitive benefits package includes medical, dental, vision, life and disability plans. In addition to these core benefits, Dropbox also provides enhanced mental health benefits, family formation benefits and our adoption and surrogacy assistance program. Our comprehensive programs also provide various leave benefits - including 24 weeks of leave for new parents.
Employee Wellness and Safety
We recognize the importance of the well-being of our employees. With the shift to our Virtual First work model, we remain committed to supporting their well-being and development. A component of our comprehensive health and wellness benefits package to all employees includes additional time-off opportunities as well as mental and physical wellness benefits. We conduct a bi-annual employee satisfaction survey to gather candid feedback from employees with focus on areas such as experience with our managers, wellness initiatives, career and company initiatives. Survey results are reviewed extensively and become part of our action plans at all levels of the organization.
In addition, the safety of our employees is paramount to our success. We have a physical security policy applicable to all our employees with a global physical security team that is empowered to protect the safety of our employees in the event of emergencies or disasters. We also established Global COVID-19 Workplace Health & Safety Standards, based on guidance from public health authorities, for situations where it was necessary for employees to enter our offices. This is driven through a centralized, cross-functional Crisis Management Team dedicated to Dropbox’s COVID-19 response.
Learning and Development
We want all of our employees to have thriving careers where they grow and develop in meaningful ways. We develop and provide access to internal learning and development resources to assist in professional development in various ways such as skills-building programs, on-demand learning options, mentoring programs, and leadership development courses. We also offer extensive onboarding and training programs to prepare our employees at all levels for career progression and individual development.
Diversity and Inclusion
We believe that an equitable and inclusive environment comprised of diverse teams produces more creative solutions, results in better and more innovative products, and is crucial to our efforts to attract and retain key talent. We are focused on building an inclusive culture and sustaining a diverse workforce through a variety of company initiatives. As part of that effort we have a number of executive-sponsored Employee Resource Groups, or ERGs, that provide support for diverse members of our workforce by fostering an inclusive environment and providing professional development and community-building opportunities. In addition, we provide resources and training to employees at all levels to ensure that we are hiring, promoting and retaining diverse teams, as well as sponsor a number of professional development programs to support the advancement of underrepresented employees at our Company.
We empower our employees to give back to their communities by providing paid volunteer time off, matching a portion of employee donations to nonprofits and making product donations to nonprofit organizations nominated by our employees.
We were incorporated in May 2007 as Evenflow, Inc., a Delaware corporation, and changed our name to Dropbox, Inc. in October 2009. Our principal offices are located at 1800 Owens Street, San Francisco, California, 94158, and our telephone number is (415) 857-6800. Our Class A common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “DBX.”
Our website is located at http://www.dropbox.com/, our investor relations website is located at http://investors.dropbox.com/, and our blog is located at https://blog.dropbox.com/topics/news. We have used, and intend to continue to use, our investor relations website, our blog, press releases, public conference calls and webcasts to disclose material non-public information and to comply with our disclosure obligations under Regulation FD. The following filings are available through our investor relations website after we file them with the SEC: Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and our Proxy Statement for our annual meeting of stockholders. These filings are also available for download free of charge on our investor relations website. The SEC also maintains an Internet website that contains reports, proxy statements and other information about issuers, like us, that file electronically with the SEC. The address of that website is www.sec.gov. The contents of these websites are not incorporated into this filing. Further, the Company’s references to the URLs for these websites are intended to be inactive textual references only.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
Investing in our Class A common stock involves a high degree of risk. In addition to the other information set forth in this Annual Report, you should carefully consider the risks and uncertainties described below, together with all of the other information in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and related notes, before making a decision to invest in our Class A common stock. Our business, results of operations, financial condition, or prospects could also be harmed by risks and uncertainties that are not presently known to us or that we currently believe are not material. If any of the risks actually occur, our business, results of operations, financial condition, and prospects could be materially and adversely affected. In that event, the market price of our Class A common stock could decline, and you could lose all or part of your investment. In addition, the impacts of COVID-19 and any worsening of the economic environment may exacerbate the risks described below, any of which could have a material impact on us. This situation is changing rapidly and additional impacts may arise that we are not currently aware of.
Risks Related to Our Business and Operations
Our business depends on our ability to retain and upgrade paying users, and any decline in renewals or upgrades could adversely affect our future results of operations.
Our business depends upon our ability to maintain and expand our relationships with our users. Our business is subscription-based, and paying users are not obligated to and may not renew their subscriptions after their existing subscriptions expire. As a result, we cannot provide assurance that paying users will renew their subscriptions utilizing the same tier of our products or upgrade to premium offerings. Renewals of subscriptions to our platform may decline or fluctuate because of several factors, such as dissatisfaction with our products, support, pricing, or mix of features, a user no longer having a need for our products, the availability of competitive products that are, or are perceived to be, less expensive, shifts in the mix of monthly and annual subscriptions or the impact of catastrophic events, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, on our paying users. In addition, some paying users downgrade or do not renew their subscriptions.
We encourage paying users to upgrade to our premium offerings by recommending additional features and through in-product prompts and notifications. We are focused on increasing recurring revenue and we believe that users that subscribe to our premium paid offerings demonstrate a propensity to retain and expand their deployments over time. We seek to expand within organizations through viral means by adding new users, having workplaces purchase additional products, or expanding the use of Dropbox into other departments within a workplace. We often see enterprise IT decision-makers deciding to adopt Dropbox after noticing substantial organic adoption by individuals and teams within the organization. If our paying users cancel their subscriptions or fail to renew, or if we fail to upgrade our paying users to premium offerings or expand within organizations, our business, results of operations, and financial condition may be harmed. Furthermore, we have and may continue to see an increase in customers opting for our monthly plans rather than our annual plans, including from users who upgrade to paid plans using mobile devices. As a result, if more of our users subscribe to our paid plans through mobile devices or otherwise opt for monthly plans, subscription renewals may fluctuate or decline.
Although it is important to our business that our users renew their subscriptions after their existing subscriptions expire and that we expand our commercial relationships with our users, given the volume of our users, we do not actively monitor the retention rates of our individual users. As a result, we may be unable to address any retention issues with specific users in a timely manner, which could harm our business.
Our future growth could be harmed if we fail to attract new users or convert registered users to paying users.
We must continually add new users to grow our business beyond our current user base and to replace users who choose not to continue to use our platform. Historically, our revenue has been driven by our self-serve model, and we generate more than 90% of our revenue from self-serve channels. Any decrease in user satisfaction with our products or support could harm our brand, word-of-mouth referrals, and ability to grow.
Additionally, many of our users initially access our platform free of charge. We strive to demonstrate the value of our platform to our registered users, thereby encouraging them to convert to paying users through in-product prompts and notifications, and time-limited trials of paid subscription plans. As of December 31, 2021, we served over 700 million registered users but only 16.79 million paying users. The actual number of unique users is lower than we report as one person may register more than once for our platform. As a result, we have fewer unique registered users that we may be able to convert to paying users. A majority of our registered users may never convert to a paid subscription to our platform, and failure to convert users to a paid subscription will restrict our ability to grow our revenue.
In addition, our user growth rate has and may continue to slow in the future as our market penetration rates increase and we turn our focus to converting registered users to paying users rather than growing the total number of registered users. The availability of less expensive and bundled competitive products also has and may continue to slow our user growth rate and negatively impact our ability to convert registered users to paying users. If we are not able to continue to expand our user base or fail to convert our registered users to paying users, demand for our paid services and our revenue may grow more slowly than expected or decline. Furthermore, catastrophic events that financially impact our registered users and other prospective paying users, may cause these users to delay or reduce technology spending, which may impact our ability to convert registered users or otherwise attract new paying users.
Our business could be damaged, and we could be subject to liability, if there is any unauthorized access to our data or our users’ content, including through privacy and data security breaches or incidents.
The use of our platform involves the transmission, storage, and processing of user content, some of which may be considered personal, confidential, or sensitive information of users or their organizations. We also process, store and transmit our own data as part of our business and operations. This data may include personal, confidential, or sensitive information. We face security threats from malicious third parties that could obtain unauthorized access to our systems, infrastructure, and networks. We anticipate that these threats will continue to grow in scope and complexity over time. For example, in 2016, we learned that an old set of Dropbox user credentials for approximately 68 million accounts was released. These credentials consisted of email addresses and passwords protected by cryptographic techniques known as hashing and salting. Hashing and salting can make it more difficult to obtain the original password, but may not fully protect the original password from being obtained. We believe these Dropbox user credentials were obtained in 2012 and related to a security incident we disclosed to users. In response, we notified all existing users we believed to be affected and completed a password reset for anyone who had not updated their password since mid-2012. We responded to this event by expanding our security team and data monitoring capabilities and continuing to work on features such as two-factor authentication to increase protection of user information. While we believe our corrective actions will reduce the likelihood of similar incidents occurring in the future, third parties might use techniques that we are unable to defend against to compromise and infiltrate our systems, infrastructure, and networks.
Emerging and evolving cybersecurity threats such as the attack on SolarWinds and the Log4j vulnerablity reported in December 2021 pose unique challenges and involve sophisticated threat actors. Computer malware, ransomware, cyber viruses, social engineering (phishing attacks), denial of service or other attacks, employee theft or misuse and increasingly sophisticated network attacks have become more prevalent, particularly against cloud services. In this fast-changing threat environment, we are continuously assessing our security posture, including through the use of penetration testing and red team exercises, to identify gaps, threats, and vulnerabilities and we are actively taking additional and ongoing steps that are intended to strengthen our cybersecurity capabilities and mitigate the risk of a breach or incident. If we fail to respond appropriately to any identified gaps, threats or vulnerabilities, including by providing adequate funding and prioritizing strategic initiatives, or if we fail to adequately identify the gaps, threats or vulnerabilities, we face greater risk that an unauthorized party will obtain access to or disrupt our systems or networks obtain access to data or content that we or third parties on which we rely store or otherwise process. Notwithstanding our efforts, we may fail to detect the existence of security breaches or incidents, including breaches or compromise of user content, and be unable to prevent unauthorized access to user content. The techniques used to obtain unauthorized access to, and to disable or degrade service, or sabotage systems change frequently and are often not recognized until launched against a target. They may originate from less regulated or remote areas around the world, or from state-sponsored actors. If our security measures are breached or compromised or we, our systems or networks, or those of third parties on which we rely otherwise are subject to a security breach or incident, or our users’ content is otherwise accessed, misused, modified, rendered unavailable, destroyed, or otherwise processed through unauthorized means, or if any such actions are believed to occur, our platform may be perceived as insecure, and we may lose existing users or fail to attract and retain new users. Moreover, public announcements concerning any cybersecurity-related incidents and steps we may take to respond to or remediate any such incidents could be perceived by securities analysts or investors to be negative, and such perception could, among other things, have an adverse effect on the price of our Class A common stock.
We may rely on third parties when deploying our infrastructure, and in doing so, expose it to security risks outside of our direct control. We rely on outside vendors and contractors to perform services necessary for the operation of the business, and they may fail to adequately secure our user and company content data. This risk may increase when vendors and contractors work remotely, including as part of our shift to Virtual First.
In addition, certain developers or other partners who create applications that integrate with our platform, may receive or store information provided by us or by our users through these applications. If these third parties or developers fail to adopt or
adhere to adequate data security practices, or in the event of a breach or other compromise of their networks or systems, our data or our users' data may be improperly accessed, used, or disclosed.
Third parties may attempt to compromise our employees and their privileged access into internal systems to gain access to accounts, our information, our networks, or our systems or those of third parties on which we rely. Employee error, malfeasance, or other errors in the storage, use, transmission, or other processing of personal information could result in an actual or perceived breach of user privacy. These risks may be heightened as we transition to a Virtual First and increasingly distributed workforce. In addition, our users may also disclose or lose control of their passwords, or use the same or similar passwords on third parties’ systems, which could lead to unauthorized access to their accounts on our platform.
Any unauthorized or inadvertent access to, or an actual or perceived security breach of or incident impacting, our systems, infrastructure, or networks or of third parties on which we rely could result in an actual or perceived loss of, or unauthorized access to or disclosure, modification, misuse, loss, corruption, unavailability, or destruction of, our data or our users’ content, regulatory investigations, proceedings, and orders, claims, demands, and litigation, indemnity obligations, damages, penalties, fines, and other costs in connection with actual and alleged contractual breaches, violations of applicable laws and regulations or other actual or asserted obligations, and other liabilities. Any such incident could also materially damage our reputation and market position and harm our business, results of operations, and financial condition, including reducing our revenue, causing us to issue credits to users, negatively impacting our ability to accept and process user payment information, eroding our users’ trust in our services and payment solutions, subjecting us to costly user notification or remediation, harming our ability to retain users, harming our brand, or increasing our cost of acquiring new users. We maintain errors, omissions, and cyber liability insurance policies covering certain security and privacy damages. However, we cannot be certain that our coverage will be adequate for liabilities actually incurred or that insurance will continue to be available to us on economically reasonable terms, or at all. Further, if a high-profile security breach or incident occurs with respect to another content collaboration solutions provider, our users and potential users could lose trust in the security of content collaboration solutions providers generally, which could adversely impact our ability to retain users or attract new ones.
We have a limited history of operating with a Virtual First workforce and the long-term impact on our financial results and business operations are uncertain.
In October 2020, we announced a Virtual First work model pursuant to which remote work has become the primary experience for all of our employees and our intention is for our workforce continue being more distributed over time. However, we have a limited history of operating with a Virtual First workforce and, although we anticipate that our shift to a Virtual First work model will have a long-term positive impact on our financial results and business operations, the impact remains uncertain. Additionally, there is no guarantee that we will realize any anticipated benefits to our business, including any cost savings, operational efficiencies, or productivity.
Our continuing shift to Virtual First could make it increasingly difficult to manage our business and adequately oversee our employees and business functions, potentially resulting in harm to our company culture, increased employee attrition, and the loss of key personnel, as well as potentially negatively impacting product research and development and the growth of our business. We may also experience an increased risk of privacy and data security breaches and incidents involving our data or our users’ content. Any of these factors could adversely affect our financial condition and operating results.
In addition, as we continue our shift to Virutal First, we will need less office space than we are currently contractually committed to leasing and as a result, we have recorded and may in the future record impairment charges related to the office spaces we no longer expect to need, which has impacted and may in the future impact our ability to achieve GAAP profitability in future periods. Furthermore, any prolonged recessionary period and industry shifts towards remote work, including as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, may prevent us from finding subtenants for our unused office space on favorable terms or at all. In the event that we are unable to sublease our space on favorable terms or at all, or if we are able to sublease space but our subtenants fail to make lease payments to us or otherwise default on their obligations to us, we may generate less sublease income than we have currently estimated, continue to incur substantial payment obligations under our leases and incur additional or higher impairment charges than we have currently estimated, any of which could materially and adversely affect our business, cash flows, results of operations, profitability, and financial condition.
We operate in competitive markets, and we must continue to compete effectively.
The market for content collaboration platforms is competitive and rapidly changing. Certain features of our platform compete in the cloud storage market with products offered by Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Google, and Adobe and in the content collaboration market with products offered by Microsoft, Atlassian, Slack, and Google. On a more limited basis, we
compete with Box in the cloud storage market for deployments by large enterprises and with Adobe and DocuSign in the e-signature market. We also compete with smaller private companies that offer point solutions in the cloud storage market or the content collaboration market. We believe the principal competitive factors in our markets include the following:
•ease of adoption and use;
•scale of user network;
•features and platform experience
•security and privacy
•accessibility across several devices, operating system, and applications;
•continued innovation; and
With the introduction of new technologies and market entrants, we expect competition to intensify. Many of our actual and potential competitors or alliances among competitors benefit from competitive advantages over us, such as greater name recognition, longer operating histories, more varied products and services, larger marketing budgets, more established marketing relationships, access to larger user bases, major distribution agreements with hardware manufacturers and resellers, and greater financial, technical, and other resources. Some of our competitors may make acquisitions or enter into strategic relationships to offer a broader range of products and services than we do. These combinations may make it more difficult for us to compete effectively. We expect these trends to continue as competitors attempt to strengthen or maintain their market positions.
Demand for our platform is also sensitive to price. Many factors, including our marketing, user acquisition and technology costs, and our current and future competitors’ pricing and marketing strategies, can significantly affect our pricing strategies. Certain of our competitors offer, or may in the future offer, lower-priced or free products or services that compete with our platform or may bundle and offer a broader range of products and services.
Similarly, certain competitors may use marketing strategies that enable them to acquire users at a lower cost than us. There can be no assurance that we will not be forced to engage in price-cutting initiatives or to increase our marketing and other expenses to attract and retain users in response to competitive pressures, either of which could materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
Our business depends upon the interoperability of our platform across devices, operating systems, and third-party applications that we do not control.
One of the most important features of our platform is its broad interoperability with a range of diverse devices, operating systems, and third-party applications. Our platform is accessible from the web and from devices running Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, WindowsMobile, and Linux. We also have integrations with Microsoft, Adobe, Apple, Salesforce, Atlassian, Slack, BetterCloud, Google, IBM, Cisco, VMware, Okta, Symantec, Palo Alto Networks, Zoom, and a variety of other productivity, collaboration, data management, and security vendors. We are dependent on the accessibility of our platform across these third-party operating systems and applications that we do not control. Several of our competitors own, develop, operate, or distribute operating systems, app stores, third-party datacenter services, and other software, and also have material business relationships with companies that own, develop, operate, or distribute operating systems, applications markets, third-
party datacenter services, and other software that our platform requires in order to operate. Moreover, some of these competitors have inherent advantages developing products and services that more tightly integrate with their software and hardware platforms or those of their business partners.
Third-party services and products are constantly evolving, and we may not be able to modify our platform to assure its compatibility with that of other third parties following development changes. In addition, some of our competitors may be able to disrupt the operations or compatibility of our platform with their products or services, or exert strong business influence on our ability to, and terms on which we, operate and distribute our platform. For example, we currently offer products that directly compete with several large technology companies that we rely on to ensure the interoperability of our platform with their products or services. We also rely on these companies to make our mobile applications available through their app stores. As our respective products evolve, we expect this level of competition to increase. Should any of our competitors modify their products or standards in a manner that degrades the functionality of our platform or gives preferential treatment to competitive products or services, whether to enhance their competitive position or for any other reason, the interoperability of our platform with these products could decrease and our business, results of operations, and financial condition could be harmed.
Our business could be harmed by any significant disruption of service on our platform or loss of content.
Our brand, reputation, and ability to attract, retain, and serve our users are dependent upon the reliable performance of our platform, including our underlying technical infrastructure. Our users rely on our platform to store digital copies of their valuable content, including financial records, business information, documents, photos, and other important content. Our technical infrastructure may not be adequately designed with sufficient reliability and redundancy to avoid performance delays or outages that could be harmful to our business, and turnover in our personnel, may additionally impact our ability to respond to any such delays or outages. If our platform is unavailable when users attempt to access it, or if it does not load as quickly as they expect, users may not use our platform as often in the future, or at all.
As our user base and the amount and types of information stored, synced, and shared on our platform continues to grow, we will need an increasing amount of technical infrastructure, including network capacity and computing power, to continue to satisfy the needs of our users. The vast majority of user content is stored at our own custom-built infrastructure in co-location facilities that we directly lease and operate. As we add to our infrastructure, we may move or transfer additional content.
Further, as we continue to grow and scale our business to meet the needs of our users, we may overestimate or underestimate our infrastructure capacity requirements, which could adversely affect our results of operations. The costs associated with leasing and maintaining our custom-built infrastructure in co-location facilities and third-party datacenters already constitute a significant portion of our capital and operating expenses. We continuously evaluate our short- and long-term infrastructure capacity requirements to ensure adequate capacity for new and existing users while minimizing unnecessary excess capacity costs. If we overestimate the demand for our platform and therefore secure excess infrastructure capacity, our operating margins could be reduced. If we underestimate our infrastructure capacity requirements, we may not be able to service the expanding needs of new and existing users, and our hosting facilities, network, or systems may fail. Additionally, our ability to accurately perform capacity planning is dependent on the reliability of the global supply chain for hardware, network, and platform infrastructure equipment. Due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to competition for a limited supply of such equipment, our global supply chain for datacenter equipment has experienced challenges, and such challenges could impact our infrastructure capacity. Our datacenter equipment is primarily manufactured by third-party manufacturers, some of which utilize certain components for which there are few qualified suppliers. Prolonged disruptions at these suppliers could lead to a disruption in our ability to manufacture datacenter equipment on time to meet demand. Furthermore, our competitors use some of the same suppliers and their demand for hardware components can affect the capacity available to us resulting in inadequate datacenter capacity. Furthermore, our efforts to mitigate such disruptions and compete for such equipment may impact the timing and magnitude of our infrastructure spending, resulting in unexpected increases in shorter-term or longer-term costs than originally projected.
In addition, the datacenters that we use are vulnerable to damage or interruption from human error, intentional bad acts, security breaches and incidents, including computer malware, ransomware, cyber viruses, social engineering (phishing attacks), denial of service or other attacks, employee theft or misuse and other network attacks, earthquakes, floods, fires, war, terrorist attacks, power losses, hardware failures, systems failures, telecommunications failures, and similar events, any of which could disrupt our service, destroy user content, or prevent us from being able to continuously back up or record changes in our users’ content. In the event of significant physical damage to one of these datacenters, it may take a significant period of time to achieve full resumption of our services, and our disaster recovery planning may not account for all eventualities. Damage or interruptions to these datacenters could harm our platform and business.
We generate revenue from sales of subscriptions to our platform, and any decline in demand for our platform or for content collaboration solutions in general could negatively impact our business.
We generate, and expect to continue to generate, revenue from the sale of subscriptions to our platform. As a result, widespread acceptance and use of content collaboration solutions in general, and our platform in particular, is critical to our future growth and success. If the content collaboration market fails to grow or grows more slowly than we currently anticipate, or if the current shift to remote or distributed work does not materialize into a longer-term trend, demand for our platform could be negatively affected.
Changes in user preferences for content collaboration may have a disproportionately greater impact on us than if we offered multiple platforms or disparate products. Demand for content collaboration solutions in general, and our platform in particular, is affected by a number of factors, many of which are beyond our control. Some of these potential factors include:
•awareness of the content collaboration category generally;
•availability of products and services that compete with ours;
•the impact, scale, and duration, of trends towards or away from remote or distributed work;
•ease of adoption and use;
•features and platform experience;
•security and privacy;
•customer support; and
The content collaboration market is subject to rapidly changing user demand and trends in preferences. If we fail to successfully predict and address these changes and trends, meet user demands, or achieve more widespread market acceptance of our platform, our business, results of operations, and financial condition could be harmed.
Failure to respond to rapid technological changes, extend our platform, or develop new features or products may harm our ability to compete effectively which would adversely affect our business.
The content collaboration market is characterized by rapid technological change and frequent new product and service introductions. Our ability to grow our user base and increase revenue from existing users will depend heavily on our ability to enhance and improve our platform, introduce new features and products, increase our strategic partnerships with third parties, and interoperate across an increasing range of devices, operating systems, and third-party applications. Users may require features and capabilities that our current platform does not have. In addition, while we believe current trends towards remote or distributed work will prove to be significant and long lasting, and that these trends will open up increased market opportunities for us, such trends or opportunities may not materialize or, if they do, we may not be able to develop new features or products, or enhance our existing offerings, sufficiently to take advantage of them. We invest significantly in research and development, and our goal is to focus our spending on measures that improve quality and ease of adoption and create organic user demand for our platform. For example, in 2020, we introduced Dropbox Passwords and Vault to provide additional security features for our users to safely store and access content on our platform. More recently, in 2021 we launched Dropbox Transfer as a way for users to safely and securely send large files, Dropbox Shop which allows creators to easily sell content directly to their customers, and Dropbox Capture which allows users to visually present their work through easy-to-take screen recordings, GIFs, and screenshots. There is no assurance that our enhancements to our platform or our new product experiences, partnerships, features, or capabilities will be compelling to our users or gain market acceptance. If our research and development investments do not accurately anticipate user demand, we are unsuccessful in establishing or maintaining our strategic partnerships, or if we fail to develop our platform in a manner that satisfies user preferences in a timely and cost-effective manner, we may fail to retain our existing users or increase demand for our platform.
The introduction of new products and services by competitors or the development of entirely new technologies to replace existing offerings could make our platform obsolete or adversely affect our business, results of operations, and financial condition. We may experience difficulties with software development, design, or marketing that could delay or prevent our development, introduction, or implementation of new product experiences, features, or capabilities. We also may experience broad-based business or economic disruptions that could adversely affect the productivity of our employees and result in delays in the development or implementation process. For example, as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are temporarily requiring substantially all of our employees to work remotely, which may lead to disruptions and decreased productivity that could result in delays in our product development process. The risk of such disruptions and decreased productivity may persist as we continue to transition to a Virtual First workforce. We have in the past experienced delays in our internally planned release dates of new features and capabilities, and there can be no assurance that new product experiences, features, or capabilities will be released according to schedule. Any delays could result in adverse publicity, loss of revenue or market acceptance, or claims by users brought against us, all of which could have a material and adverse effect on our reputation, business, results of operations, and financial condition. Moreover, new features may require substantial investment, and we have no assurance that such investments will be successful. If users do not widely adopt our new product experiences, features, and capabilities, we may not be able to realize a return on our investment. If we are unable to develop, license, or acquire new features and capabilities to our platform on a timely and cost-effective basis, or if such enhancements do not achieve market acceptance, our business, results of operations, and financial condition could be adversely affected.
The full extent of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business is currently unknown, but it may adversely affect our financial results as well as our business operations.
Although we did not experience material impacts to our financial condition and results of operations during the year ended December 31, 2021, as a result of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, the full extent of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our financial results and business operations are currently unknown and cannot be estimated with any degree of certainty. Impacts to our financial results may include, without limitation, (1) negative impacts to our current and prospective users’ purchases or renewals of paid licenses for access to our platform, delays or defaults on payment obligations, which could negatively affect our revenues and cash flows, (2) modifications to net payment terms or invoice frequency, which could negatively affect our cash flows, (3) fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, which have and may in the future negatively impact our results of operations and cash flows, and (4) decreases in interest rates, which have and may continue to reduce interest income. Impacts to our business operations may include, without limitation, (1) disruptions to our sales operations and marketing efforts, (2) negative impacts to the financial condition or operations of our vendors and business partners, as well as disruptions to the supply chain of hardware needed to offer our services, (3) disruptions to our ability to conduct product development and other important business activities, and (4) potential postponement or cancellation of previously planned investments or other initiatives. In addition, economic effects related to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as ongoing supply chain disruption, a competitive labor market and labor shortages have impacted, and may continue to impact, us and our customers and vendors. Accordingly, the COVID-19 pandemic may have a negative impact on our financial results as well as our business operations, the magnitude and duration of which we are currently unable to predict. Additionally, concerns over the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have caused extreme volatility in financial and other capital markets which may adversely impact our stock price.
We have seen, and expect to continue to see, cost savings from the shift to remote work for all of our employees as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in areas that include events, travel, utilities, and other benefits. Although we anticipate that some of these cost savings will continue beyond the resolution of the COVID-19 pandemic as result of our continuing shift to a Virtual First work model, we expect that some expenses in these areas will increase relative to current levels as we become more able to offer our employees opportunities for in-person collaboration, and this may impact our rate of profitability in future periods.
We may not successfully manage our growth or successfully execute our plan for future growth.
The growth and expansion of our business, including the introduction of new features and products, places a continuous significant strain on our management, operational, and financial resources. As we introduce new products and features, and our user base and third-party relationships expand, our information technology systems, organizational structures, and internal controls and procedures may not be adequate to support our operations. In addition, we face challenges of integrating, developing, and motivating an increasingly distributed employee base in various countries around the world. These challenges may be heightened as we transition to a Virtual First workforce and seek to align our resources in order to create a more nimble and streamlined organization. Certain members of our management do not have prior experience managing a public company, which may affect how they manage our growth. Managing our growth will also require significant expenditures and allocation of valuable management resources.
In addition, the expansion of our business may make it difficult to evaluate our future prospects. Our ability to forecast our future results of operations is subject to a number of uncertainties, including our ability to effectively plan for and model future growth. We have encountered in the past, and may encounter in the future, risks and uncertainties frequently experienced by growing companies in rapidly changing industries. If we fail to achieve the necessary level of efficiency in our organization as it grows, or if we are not able to accurately forecast future growth, our business, results of operations, and financial condition could be harmed.
We depend on our key personnel and other highly qualified personnel, and if we fail to attract, integrate, and retain our personnel, and maintain our unique corporate culture, our business could be harmed.
We depend on the continued service and performance of our key personnel. In particular, Andrew W. Houston, our Chief Executive Officer and one of our co-founders, is critical to our vision, strategic direction, culture, and offerings. From time to time, there have been changes in our management team resulting from the hiring or departure of our executives, and there may be additional changes in the future. While we seek to manage these transitions carefully, such changes may result in a loss of institutional knowledge and may cause disruptions to our business. If we fail to successfully integrate new key personnel into our organization or if key employees are unable to successfully transition into new roles, our business could be adversely affected.
All of our officers and key personnel are at-will employees. In addition, many of our key technologies and systems are custom-made for our business by our key personnel. The loss of key personnel, including key members of our management team, as well as certain of our key marketing, sales, product development, or technology personnel, could disrupt our operations and have an adverse effect on our ability to grow our business. In addition, while we believe our Virtual First strategy will give us the opportunity to realign our resources in order to create a more nimble and streamlined organization, we can provide no assurance that we will be able to successfully execute on these plans, and failure to successfully manage these transitions may cause disruptions to our business. Additionally, we will need to adapt and respond to frequently changing circumstances that may impact our workforce, such as natural disasters or pandemics (including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic), or our ability to maintain an effective workforce may be impacted.
To execute our business plan, we must attract and retain highly qualified personnel. Competition for these employees is intense and has recently intensified as a result of industry trends and we may not be successful in attracting and retaining qualified personnel. We have experienced, and we may continue experience, difficulty in hiring and retaining highly skilled employees with appropriate qualifications. As we transition to a Virtual First workforce, our recent hires and planned hires may not become as productive as we expect, and we may be unable to hire, integrate, or retain sufficient numbers of qualified individuals. Many of the companies with which we compete for experienced personnel have greater resources than we have. In addition, in making employment decisions, particularly in the internet and high-technology industries, job candidates often consider the value of the equity they are to receive in connection with their employment. Employees may be more likely to leave us if the shares they own or the shares underlying their equity incentive awards have significantly appreciated or significantly reduced in value. Many of our employees may receive significant proceeds from sales of our equity in the public markets, which may reduce their motivation to continue to work for us. If we fail to attract new personnel, or fail to retain and motivate our current personnel, our business and growth prospects could be harmed.
Additionally, if we do not maintain and continue to develop our corporate culture as we grow and evolve, it could harm our ability to foster the innovation, creativity, and teamwork we believe that we need to support our growth. Additions of executive-level management, significant numbers of new and remote employees, our January 2021 workforce reduction and higher employee turnover could significantly and adversely impact our culture, as could our transition to a Virtual First workforce.
Our lack of a significant outbound sales force may limit the potential growth of our business.
Historically, our business model has been driven by organic adoption and viral growth, with more than 90% of our revenue generated from self-serve channels. As a result, we do not have a significant outbound sales force, which has enabled us to be more efficient with our sales and marketing spend. Furthermore, as part of our workforce reduction in January 2021 we have reduced the size of our outbound sales force to simplify and drive further efficiencies in our outbound sales operations. Although we believe our business model can continue to scale without a large outbound sales force, our word-of-mouth and user referral marketing model may not continue to be as successful as we anticipate, and our limited experience selling directly to large organizations through our outbound sales force may impede our future growth. As we continue to scale our business, an enhanced sales infrastructure could assist in reaching larger organizations and growing our revenue. Identifying and recruiting additional qualified sales personnel and training them would require significant time, expense, and attention, and would
significantly impact our business model. Further, adding more sales personnel would change our cost structure and results of operations, and we may have to reduce other expenses in order to accommodate a corresponding increase in sales and marketing expenses. If our limited outbound sales force and lack of experience selling and marketing to large organizations prevents us from reaching larger organizations and growing our revenue, and if we are unable to hire, develop, and retain talented sales personnel in the future, our business, results of operations, and financial condition could be adversely affected.
We may expand sales to large organizations, which could lengthen sales cycles and result in greater deployment challenges.
As our business evolves, we may need to invest more resources into sales to large organizations. Large organizations may undertake a significant evaluation and negotiation process, which can lengthen our sales cycle. We may also face unexpected deployment challenges with large organizations or more complicated deployment of our platform. Large organizations may demand more configuration and integration of our platform or require additional security management or control features. We may spend substantial time, effort, and money on sales efforts to large organizations without any assurance that our efforts will produce any sales. Additionally, our ability to sell via an outbound sales force has been, and may continue to be, impeded by catastrophic events, including public health epidemics such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, that limit our ability to travel or meet in person, as well as the reduction in the size of our outbound sales force as part of our workforce reduction in January 2021. As a result, sales to large organizations may lead to greater unpredictability in our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
Any failure to offer high-quality customer support may harm our relationships with our users and our financial results.
We have designed our platform to be easy to adopt and use with minimal to no support necessary. Any increased user demand for customer support could increase costs and harm our results of operations. In addition, as we continue to grow our operations and support our global user base, we need to be able to continue to provide efficient customer support that meets our customers’ needs globally at scale. Paying users receive additional customer support features and the number of our paying users has grown significantly, which will put additional pressure on our support organization. For example, the number of paying users has grown from 8.81 million as of December 31, 2016, to 16.79 million as of December 31, 2021. If we are unable to provide efficient customer support globally at scale, our ability to grow our operations may be harmed and we may need to hire additional support personnel, which could harm our results of operations. Our new user signups are highly dependent on our business reputation and on positive recommendations from our existing users. Any failure to maintain high-quality customer support, or a market perception that we do not maintain high-quality customer support, could harm our reputation, business, results of operations, and financial condition.
Our business depends on a strong brand, and if we are unable to maintain and enhance our brand, our ability to expand our base of users will be impaired and our business, results of operations, and financial condition will be harmed.
We believe that our brand identity and awareness have contributed to our success and have helped fuel our efficient go-to-market strategy. We also believe that maintaining and enhancing the Dropbox brand is critical to expanding our base of users. We anticipate that, as our market becomes increasingly competitive, maintaining and enhancing our brand may become increasingly difficult and expensive. Any unfavorable publicity or consumer perception of our platform or the providers of content collaboration solutions generally could adversely affect our reputation and our ability to attract and retain users. Additionally, if we fail to promote and maintain the Dropbox brand, our business, results of operations, and financial condition will be materially and adversely affected.
We are continuing to expand our operations outside the United States, where we may be subject to increased business and economic risks that could impact our results of operations.
We have paying users across 180 countries and approximately half of our revenue in the year ended December 31, 2021 was generated from paying users outside the United States. We expect to continue to expand our international operations, which may include employees working in new jurisdictions and providing our platform in additional languages. Any new markets or countries into which we attempt to sell subscriptions to our platform may not be receptive. For example, we may not be able to expand further in some markets if we are unable to satisfy certain government- and industry-specific requirements. In addition, our ability to manage our business and conduct our operations internationally requires considerable management attention and resources and is subject to the particular challenges of supporting a rapidly growing business in an environment of multiple languages, cultures, customs, legal and regulatory systems, alternative dispute systems, and commercial markets. International expansion has required, and will continue to require, investment of significant funds and other resources. Operating internationally subjects us to new risks and may increase risks that we currently face, including risks associated with:
•compliance with applicable international laws, regulations, and standards including laws and regulations with respect to privacy, data protection, consumer protection, and unsolicited email, and the risk of penalties to our users and individual members of management or employees if our practices are deemed to be out of compliance;
•recruiting and retaining talented and capable employees outside the United States, and maintaining our company culture across all of our locations, including as we shift to Virtual First and an increasingly distributed workforce;
•providing our platform and operating our business across a significant distance, in different languages and among different cultures, including the potential need to modify our platform and features to ensure that they are culturally appropriate and relevant in different countries;
•management of an employee base in jurisdictions that may not give us the same employment and retention flexibility as does the United States;
•operating in jurisdictions that do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as does the United States;
•compliance by us and our business partners with anti-corruption laws, import and export control laws, tariffs, trade barriers, economic sanctions, and other regulatory limitations on our ability to provide our platform in certain international markets;
•foreign exchange controls that might require significant lead time in setting up operations in certain geographic territories and might prevent us from repatriating cash earned outside the United States;
•political and economic instability;
•changes in diplomatic and trade relationships, including the imposition of new trade restrictions, trade protection measures, import or export requirements, trade embargoes and other trade barriers;
•double taxation of our international earnings and potentially adverse tax consequences due to changes in the income and other tax laws of the United States or the international jurisdictions in which we operate;
•higher costs of doing business internationally, including increased accounting, travel, infrastructure, and legal compliance costs; and
•the impact of natural disasters and public health epidemics on employees, travel and the global economy, including the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.
Compliance with laws, regulations, and standards applicable to our global operations substantially increases our cost of doing business in international jurisdictions. We may be unable to keep current with changes in laws, regulations, or standards as they change. Although we have implemented policies and procedures designed to support compliance with these laws, regulations, and standards there can be no assurance that we will always maintain compliance or that all of our employees, contractors, partners, and agents will comply. Any violations could result in regulatory investigations and enforcement actions, fines, civil and criminal penalties, damages, injunctions, restrictions on our ability to conduct business, or reputational harm. If we are unable comply with these laws and regulations or manage the complexity of our global operations successfully, our business, results of operations, and financial condition could be adversely affected.
We depend on our infrastructure and third-party datacenters, and any disruption in the operation of these facilities or failure to renew the services could adversely affect our business.
We host our services and serve all of our users using a combination of our own custom-built infrastructure that we lease and operate in co-location facilities and third-party datacenter services such as Amazon Web Services. While we typically control and have access to the servers we operate in co-location facilities and the components of our custom-built infrastructure that are located in those co-location facilities, we control neither the operation of these facilities nor our third-party service providers. Furthermore, we have no physical access or control over the services provided by Amazon Web Services.
Datacenter leases and agreements with the providers of datacenter services expire at various times. The owners of these datacenters and providers of these datacenter services may have no obligation to renew their agreements with us on commercially reasonable terms, or at all. Problems faced by datacenters, with our third-party datacenter service providers, with the telecommunications network providers with whom we or they contract, or with the systems by which our telecommunications providers allocate capacity among their users, including us, could adversely affect the experience of our users or result in unexpected increases in our costs. Our third-party datacenter operators could decide to close their facilities or cease providing services without adequate notice. In addition, any financial difficulties, such as bankruptcy, faced by our third-party datacenter operators or any of the service providers with whom we or they contract may have negative effects on our business, the nature and extent of which are difficult to predict.
If the datacenters and service providers that we use are unable to keep up with our growing needs for capacity, or if we are unable to renew our agreements with datacenters, and service providers on commercially reasonable terms, we may be required to transfer servers or content to new datacenters or engage new service providers, and we may incur significant costs, and possible service interruption in connection with doing so. Any changes in third-party service levels at datacenters or any real or perceived errors, defects, disruptions, or other performance problems with our platform could harm our reputation and may result in damage to, or loss or compromise of, our users’ content. Interruptions in our platform might, among other things, reduce our revenue, cause us to issue refunds to users, subject us to potential liability, harm our reputation, or decrease our renewal rates.
We have relationships with third parties to provide, develop, and create applications that integrate with our platform, and our business could be harmed if we are unable to continue these relationships.
We use software and services licensed and procured from third parties to develop and offer our platform. We may need to obtain future licenses and services from third parties to use intellectual property and technology associated with the development of our platform, which might not be available to us on acceptable terms, or at all. Any loss of the right to use any software or services required for the development and maintenance of our platform could result in delays in the provision of our platform until equivalent technology is either developed by us, or, if available from others, is identified, obtained, and integrated, which could harm our platform and business. Any errors or defects in third-party software or services could result in errors or a failure of our platform, which could harm our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
We also depend on our ecosystem of developers to create applications that will integrate with our platform. As of December 31, 2021, Dropbox was receiving over 75 billion API calls per month, and just under 1,000,000 developers had registered and built applications on our platform. Our reliance on this ecosystem of developers creates certain business risks relating to the quality of the applications built using our APIs, service interruptions of our platform from these applications, lack of service support for these applications, and possession of intellectual property rights associated with these applications.
We may not have the ability to control or prevent these risks. As a result, issues relating to these applications could adversely affect our business, brand, and reputation.
Our use of open source software could negatively affect our ability to offer and sell subscriptions to our platform and subject us to possible litigation.
A portion of the technologies we use incorporates open source software, and we may incorporate open source software in the future. Open source software is generally licensed by its authors or other third parties under open source licenses. These licenses may subject us to certain unfavorable conditions, including requirements that we offer our platform that incorporates the open source software for no cost, that we make publicly available source code for modifications or derivative works we create based upon, incorporating or using the open source software, or that we license such modifications or derivative works under the terms of the particular open source license. Additionally, if a third-party software provider has incorporated open source software into software that we license from such provider, we could be required to disclose any of our source code that incorporates or is a modification of our licensed software. If an author or other third party that distributes open source software that we use or license were to allege that we had not complied with the conditions of the applicable license, we could be required to incur significant legal expenses defending against those allegations and could be subject to significant damages, enjoined from offering or selling our solutions that contained the open source software, and required to comply with the foregoing conditions. Any of the foregoing could disrupt and harm our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
Our ability to sell subscriptions to our platform could be harmed by real or perceived material defects or errors in our platform.
The software technology underlying our platform is inherently complex and may contain material defects or errors, particularly when first introduced or when new features or capabilities are released. We have from time to time found defects or errors in our platform, and new defects or errors in our existing platform or new software may be detected in the future by us or our users. There can be no assurance that our existing platform and new software will not contain defects. Any real or perceived errors, failures, vulnerabilities, or bugs in our platform could result in negative publicity or lead to data security, access, retention, or other performance issues, all of which could harm our business. The costs incurred in correcting such defects or errors may be substantial and could harm our results of operations and financial condition. Moreover, the harm to our reputation and legal liability related to such defects or errors may be substantial and could harm our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
We also utilize hardware purchased or leased and software and services licensed from third parties on our platform. Any defects in, or unavailability of, our or third-party software, services, or hardware that cause interruptions to the availability of our services, loss of data, or performance issues could, among other things:
•cause a reduction in revenue or delay in market acceptance of our platform;
•require us to issue refunds to our users or expose us to claims for damages;
•cause us to lose existing users and make it more difficult to attract new users;
•divert our development resources or require us to make extensive changes to our platform, which would increase our expenses;
•increase our technical support costs; and
•harm our reputation and brand.
We have acquired, and may in the future acquire, other businesses, and we may also receive offers to be acquired, any of which could require significant management attention, disrupt our business, or dilute stockholder value.
As part of our business strategy, we have acquired, and may in the future acquire, other companies, employee teams, or technologies to complement or expand our products, obtain personnel, or otherwise grow our business. For example, in the first fiscal quarter of 2021, we acquired DocSend, a secure document sharing platform, to expand our content collaboration capabilities to include additional business critical workflows. Additionally, in the fourth fiscal quarter of 2021, we acquired Command E, a universal search and productivity company, to enhance our search capability. The pursuit of acquisitions may divert the attention of management and cause us to incur various expenses in identifying, investigating, and pursuing suitable acquisitions, whether or not they are consummated.
We have limited experience making acquisitions. We may not be able to find suitable acquisition candidates and we may not be able to complete acquisitions on favorable terms, if at all, and even if we are able to identify suitable acquisition candidates, we may not be able to receive approval from the applicable competition authorities, or such target may be acquired by another company, including one of our competitors. If we do complete acquisitions, we may not ultimately strengthen our competitive position or achieve the anticipated benefits from such acquisitions, due to a number of factors, including:
•acquisition-related costs, liabilities, or tax impacts, some of which may be unanticipated;
•difficulty integrating and retaining the personnel, intellectual property, technology infrastructure, and operations of an acquired business;
•ineffective or inadequate, controls, procedures, or policies at an acquired business;
•multiple product lines or services offerings, as a result of our acquisitions, that are offered, priced, and supported differently;
•potential unknown liabilities or risks associated with an acquired business, including those arising from existing contractual obligations or litigation matters;
•inability to maintain relationships with key customers, suppliers, and partners of an acquired business;
•lack of experience in new markets, products or technologies;
•diversion of management's attention from other business concerns; and
•use of resources that are needed in other parts of our business.
In addition, a significant portion of the purchase price of companies we acquire may be allocated to acquired goodwill. We review goodwill for impairment at least annually. In the future, if our acquisitions do not yield expected returns, we may be required to record impairment charges based this assessment, which could adversely affect our results of operations.
We may not be able to integrate acquired businesses successfully or effectively manage the combined company following an acquisition. If we fail to successfully integrate acquisitions, or the people or technologies associated with those acquisitions, the results of operations of the combined company could be adversely affected. Any integration process will require significant time, resources, and attention from management, and disrupt the ordinary functioning of our business, and we may not be able to manage the process successfully, which could adversely affect our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
Any acquisition we complete could be viewed negatively by users, developers, partners, or investors, and could have adverse effects on our existing business relationships. In addition, we may not successfully evaluate or utilize acquired technology or accurately forecast the financial impact of an acquisition transaction, including accounting charges.
We may have to pay a substantial portion of our available cash, incur debt, or issue equity securities to pay for any such acquisitions, each of which could affect our financial condition or the value of our capital stock. The sale of equity to finance any such acquisitions could result in dilution to our stockholders. If we incur more debt, it would result in increased fixed obligations and could also subject us to covenants or other restrictions that would impede our ability to flexibly operate our business.
Our business may be significantly impacted by a change in general economic, political, and market conditions, including any resulting effect on consumer or business spending.
Our business may be affected by general economic, political, and market conditions, including any resulting effect on spending by our business and consumer users. Some of our users may view a subscription to our platform as a discretionary purchase, and our paying users may reduce their discretionary spending on our platform during an economic downturn, especially in the event of a prolonged recessionary period. Concerns about inflation, geopolitical issues, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic or a widespread economic slowdown (in the United States or internationally) have and could continue to lead to increased market volatility and economic uncertainty, which could cause current and prospective paying users to delay, decrease, or cancel purchases of our products and services, or delay or default on their payment obligations. As a result, our business, results of operations, and financial condition may be significantly affected by changes in the economy generally.
Our current and future indebtedness may limit our operating flexibility or otherwise affect our business.
Our current indebtedness, including our 2026 Notes, 2028 Notes and our revolving credit facility, place significant restrictions on our business and could have important consequences to our stockholders and effects on our business, as could any future indebtedness.
For example, the terms of our revolving credit and guarantee agreement, as amended, contain a number of covenants that limit our ability and our subsidiaries’ ability to, among other things, incur additional indebtedness, pay dividends, make redemptions and repurchases of stock, make investments, loans and acquisitions, create liens, engage in transactions with affiliates, merge or consolidate with other companies, or sell substantially all of our assets. We are also required to maintain certain financial covenants, including a consolidated leverage ratio incurrence covenant and a minimum liquidity balance.
In addition, such current and future indebtedness could:
•make it more difficult for us to satisfy our debt obligations, including the 2026 Notes and the 2028 Notes;
•increase our vulnerability to general adverse economic and industry conditions;
•require us to dedicate a substantial portion of our cash flow from operations to payments on our indebtedness, thereby reducing the availability of our cash flow to fund working capital and other general corporate purposes;
•limit our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and the industry in which we operate;
•restrict our current and future operations, make it more difficult to successfully execute our business strategy, or restrict us from exploiting business opportunities;
•place us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors that have less indebtedness or are not subject to restrictive covenants;
•restrict or otherwise impact the pace and timing of repurchases under our stock repurchase program; and
•limit our availability to borrow additional funds for working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions, debt service requirements, execution of our business strategy, or other general purposes.
Any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our business, cash flows, results of operations, and financial condition.
Our operations may be interrupted and our business, results of operations, and financial condition could be adversely affected if we default on our leasing or credit obligations.
We finance a significant portion of our expenditures through leasing arrangements, and we may enter into additional similar arrangements in the future. As of December 31, 2021, we had an aggregate of $1,342.0 million of commitments to settle contractual obligations. In particular, we utilize both finance and operating leases to finance some of our equipment, datacenters and offices. In addition, we may draw upon our revolving credit facility to finance our operations or for other corporate purposes. If we default on these leasing or credit obligations, our leasing partners and lenders may, among other things:
•require repayment of any outstanding lease obligations;
•terminate our leasing arrangements;
•terminate our access to the leased datacenters we utilize;
•stop delivery of ordered equipment;
•sell or require us to return our leased equipment;
•require repayment of any outstanding amounts drawn on our revolving credit facility;
•terminate our revolving credit facility; or
•require us to pay significant fees, penalties, or damages.
If some or all of these events were to occur, our operations may be interrupted and our ability to fund our operations or obligations, as well as our business, results of operations, and financial condition, could be adversely affected. In particular, if the debt under our revolving credit facility were to be accelerated, we may not have sufficient cash or be able to borrow sufficient funds to refinance the debt or sell sufficient assets to repay the debt, which could immediately materially and adversely affect our business, cash flows, results of operations, and financial condition. Even if we were able to obtain new financing, it may not be on commercially reasonable terms or on terms that are acceptable to us.
Risks Related to Our Financial Performance or Results
Our revenue growth rate has declined in recent periods and may continue to slow in the future.
We have experienced significant revenue growth in prior periods. However, our rates of revenue growth have slowed and may continue to slow in future periods. Many factors may contribute to declines in our growth rates, including higher market penetration, increased competition, particularly from the availability of less expensive and bundled competitive products, slowing demand for our platform, a decrease in the growth of the overall content collaboration market, a failure by us to continue capitalizing on growth opportunities, the impact of catastrophic events on economic conditions or on our current and prospective paying users, and the maturation of our business, among others. You should not rely on the revenue growth of any prior quarterly or annual period as an indication of our future performance. If our growth rates decline further, investors’ perceptions of our business and the trading price of our Class A common stock could be adversely affected.
We have a history of net losses, we may increase expenses in the future, and we may not be able to achieve or maintain profitability.
We incurred net losses on an annual basis from our inception until 2020. We incurred net losses of $256.3 million and $52.7 million in the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. While we have been profitable on a GAAP basis in prior fiscal quarters, 2021 was our first profitable full fiscal year, however we may not achieve or maintain profitability in future periods. We generated net income of $335.8 million in the year ended December 31, 2021 and we had an accumulated deficit of $2,739.4 million as of December 31, 2021. As we strive to grow our business, expenses may increase, particularly as we continue to make investments to scale our business. For example, we will need an increasing amount of technical infrastructure to continue to satisfy the needs of our user base. Our research and development expenses may also increase as we plan to continue to hire employees for our engineering, product, and design teams to support these efforts. These investments may not result in increased revenue or growth in our business or our revenue may not grow to the extent we expect and expense growth may outpace revenue. Further, we have created mobile applications and mobile versions of Dropbox that are distributed to users primarily through app stores operated by Apple and Google, each of whom charge us in-application purchase fees. As a result, if more of our users subscribe to our products through mobile applications, these fees may have an adverse impact on our results of operations. In addition, although we anticipate that our shift to a Virtual First work model will have a long-term positive impact on our financial results and business operations, the impact remains uncertain. We have incurred impairment charges related to our facilities and may incur additional or unanticipated expense related to subleasing our facilities, including lower than anticipated sublease income that may result in additional or higher impairment charges than we have currently estimated, particularly if we are unable to sublease our unused office space on favorable terms or at all or if our subtenants fail to make lease payments to us in connection with our shift to a Virtual First model. We may also encounter unforeseen or unpredictable factors, including unforeseen operating expenses, complications, or delays, which may result in increased costs, or cause us to generate less sublease income than we have currently estimated. Furthermore, it is difficult to predict the size and growth rate of our market, user demand for our platform or for any new features or products we develop, user adoption and renewal of our platform or of any new features or products we develop, the entry of competitive products and services, or the success of existing competitive products and services. As a result, we may not achieve or maintain profitability in future periods. If we fail to grow our revenue sufficiently to keep pace with our investments and other expenses, our results of operations and financial condition would be adversely affected.
Servicing our 2026 Notes and 2028 Notes may require a significant amount of cash, and we may not have sufficient cash flow or the ability to raise the funds necessary to satisfy our obligations under the 2026 Notes or 2028 Notes.
Our ability to make scheduled payments of the principal of, to pay interest on or to refinance our indebtedness, including the 2026 Notes and 2028 Notes, or to make cash payments in connection with any conversion of the 2026 Notes, 2028 Notes or upon any fundamental change if holders of the applicable series of notes require us to repurchase their notes for cash, depends on our future performance, which is subject to economic, financial, competitive and other factors beyond our control. Our business may not generate cash flow from operations in the future sufficient to service our indebtedness and make necessary capital expenditures. If we are unable to generate such cash flow, we may be required to adopt one or more alternatives, such as selling assets, restructuring indebtedness or obtaining additional equity capital on terms that may be onerous or highly dilutive. Our ability to refinance our indebtedness will depend on the capital markets and our financial condition at such time. We may not be able to engage in any of these activities or engage in these activities on desirable terms, which could result in a default on our debt obligations, which would materially and adversely impact our business, financial condition and operating results.
Our quarterly results may fluctuate significantly and may not fully reflect the underlying performance of our business.
Our quarterly results of operations, including our revenue, gross margin, operating margin, profitability, cash flow from operations, and deferred revenue, may vary significantly in the future and period-to-period comparisons of our results of operations may not be meaningful. Accordingly, the results of any one quarter should not be relied upon as an indication of future performance. For example, while we have been profitable on a GAAP basis in prior fiscal quarters, our quarterly operating results have fluctuated in the past and will fluctuate in the future. Our quarterly results of operations may fluctuate as a result of a variety of factors, many of which are outside of our control, and as a result, may not fully reflect the underlying performance of our business. Fluctuation in quarterly results may negatively impact the value of our securities. Factors that may cause fluctuations in our quarterly results of operations include, without limitation, those listed below:
•our ability to retain and upgrade paying users;
•our ability to attract new paying users and convert registered to paying users;
•the timing of expenses and recognition of revenue;
•the amount and timing of operating expenses related to the maintenance and expansion of our business, operations, and infrastructure, as well as entry into operating and finance leases;
•the timing of expenses related to acquisitions;
•any large indemnification payments to our users or other third parties;
•changes in our pricing policies or those of our competitors;
•the timing and success of new product feature and service introductions by us or our competitors;
•network outages or actual or perceived security breaches;
•changes in the competitive dynamics of our industry, including consolidation among competitors;
•changes in laws and regulations that impact our business;
•general economic and market conditions;
•catastrophic events, including earthquakes, fires, floods, tsunamis, or other weather events, power loss, telecommunications failures, software or hardware malfunctions, cyber-attack, war, or terrorist attacks, and pandemics such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic;
•changes in reserves or other non-cash credits or charges, such as the impairment charges related to certain of our unused office space in connection with our shift to a Virtual First work model and releases of deferred tax asset valuation allowances; and
•any other impacts of shifting our operations to a Virtual First work model.
Our results of operations may not immediately reflect downturns or upturns in sales because we recognize revenue from our users over the term of their subscriptions with us.
We recognize revenue from subscriptions to our platform over the terms of these subscriptions. Our subscription arrangements generally have monthly or annual contractual terms, and we also have a small percentage of multi-year contractual terms. Amounts that have been billed are initially recorded as deferred revenue until the revenue is recognized. As a result, a large portion of our revenue for each quarter reflects deferred revenue from subscriptions entered into during previous quarters, and downturns or upturns in subscription sales, or renewals and potential changes in our pricing policies may not be reflected in our results of operations until later periods. Our subscription model also makes it difficult for us to rapidly increase our revenue through additional sales in any period, as subscription revenue from new users is recognized over the applicable subscription term. By contrast, a significant majority of our costs are expensed as incurred, which occurs as soon as a user starts using our platform. As a result, an increase in users could result in our recognition of more costs than revenue in the earlier portion of the subscription term. We may not attain sufficient revenue to maintain positive cash flow from operations or achieve profitability in any given period.
Our results of operations, which are reported in U.S. dollars, could be adversely affected if currency exchange rates fluctuate substantially in the future.
We conduct our business across 180 countries around the world. As we continue to expand our international operations, we will become more exposed to the effects of fluctuations in currency exchange rates. This exposure is the result of selling in multiple currencies and operating in foreign countries where the functional currency is the local currency. In 2021, 30% of our sales were denominated in currencies other than U.S. dollars. Our expenses, by contrast, are primarily denominated in U.S. dollars. As a result, any increase in the value of the U.S. dollar against these foreign currencies, including those resulting from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, could cause our revenue to decline relative to our costs, thereby decreasing our gross margins. Our results of operations are primarily subject to fluctuations in the Euro and British pound sterling. Because we conduct business in currencies other than U.S. dollars, but report our results of operations in U.S. dollars, we also face translation exposure to fluctuations in currency exchange rates, which could hinder our ability to predict our future results and earnings and could materially impact our results of operations. We do not currently maintain a program to hedge exposures to non-U.S. dollar currencies.
We are subject to counterparty risk with respect to the convertible note hedge transactions.
In connection with the pricing of the 2026 Notes and 2028 Notes, we entered into convertible note hedge transactions with certain financial institutions or affiliates of financial institutions, which we refer to as the “option counterparties,” and we will be subject to the risk that one or more of such option counterparties may default under the convertible note hedge transactions. Our exposure to the credit risk of the option counterparties will not be secured by any collateral. If any option counterparty becomes subject to insolvency proceedings, we will become an unsecured creditor in those proceedings with a claim equal to our exposure at that time under the convertible note hedge transaction. Our exposure will depend on many factors but, generally, the increase in our exposure will be correlated to the increase in the market price of our Class A common stock and in the volatility of the market price of our Class A common stock. In addition, upon a default by the option counterparty, we may suffer adverse tax consequences and dilution with respect to our Class A common stock. We can provide no assurance as to the financial stability or viability of any option counterparty.
Our ability to use our net operating loss carryforwards and certain other tax attributes may be limited.
As of December 31, 2021, we had $623.8 million of federal, $352.1 million of state, and $310.1 million of foreign net operating loss carryforwards available to reduce future taxable income. Of our federal net operating loss carryforwards, $5.1 million will begin to expire in 2032 and $618.7 million will carryforward indefinitely, while state net operating losses begin to expire in 2029. As of December 31, 2021, we had research credit carryforwards of $246.1 million and $130.0 million for federal and state income tax purposes. The federal credit carryforwards will begin to expire in 2031. The state research credits have no expiration date. We also had $3.6 million of state enterprise zone credit carryforwards as of December 31, 2021, which will begin to expire in 2023 and $0.6 million of foreign tax credit carryforwards as of December 31, 2021, which will carryforward indefinitely. It is possible that we will not generate taxable income in time to use these net operating loss carryforwards before their expiration or at all. Under Sections 382 and 383 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Code, if a corporation undergoes an “ownership change,” the corporation’s ability to use its pre-change net operating loss carryforwards and other pre-change attributes, such as research tax credits, to offset its post-change income may be limited. In general, an “ownership change” will occur if there is a cumulative change in our ownership by “5-percent stockholders” that exceeds 50 percentage points over a rolling three-year period. Similar rules and other limitations may apply under state tax laws. We have determined that we have experienced multiple ownership changes and, as a result, the annual utilization of our net operating loss carryforwards and other pre-change attributes will be subject to limitation. However, we do not expect that the annual limitations will significantly impact our ability to utilize our net operating loss or tax credit carryforwards prior to expiration.
Our operating results may be harmed if we are required to collect sales or other related taxes for our subscription services in jurisdictions where we have not historically done so.
We collect sales and value-added tax as part of our subscription agreements in a number of jurisdictions. One or more states or countries may seek to impose incremental or new sales, use, or other tax collection obligations on us, including for past sales by us or our resellers and other partners. A successful assertion by a state, country, or other jurisdiction that we should have been or should be collecting additional sales, use, or other taxes on our services could, among other things, result in
substantial tax liabilities for past sales, create significant administrative burdens for us, discourage users from purchasing our platform, or otherwise harm our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
Our results of operations and financial condition could be materially affected by the enactment of legislation implementing changes in the U.S. or foreign taxation of international business activities or the adoption of other tax reform policies.
On January 1, 2022, a provision of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (“TCJA”) went into effect which eliminates the option to deduct research and development costs in the year incurred and instead requires taxpayers to amortize such costs over five years and 15 years for domestic and foreign costs, respectively. Congress has proposed tax legislation to delay the effective date of this change to later years, but it is uncertain whether the proposed delay will ultimately be enacted into law. If no new legislation is passed, the provision is expected to adversely impact cash flows from operations beginning in 2022.
In October 2021, an update to the Build Back Better Act (the “Bill”) was released. The Bill, as revised, includes, but is not limited to, (1) reducing benefits included in the Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income (“GILTI”) regime and Foreign-Derived Intangible Income (“FDII”) deductions, (2) amending the Base Erosion and Anti-Abuse Tax (“BEAT”) tax rates from 10% up to 18% through 2025, and (3) delaying the capitalization of research expenditures to take effect in 2022. If enacted, certain proposed changes could have an adverse impact on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flow.
On June 5, 2021 the G7 Finance Ministers announced an agreement in which the participating countries committed to new taxing rights that allow countries to reallocate some portion of profits of large multinational companies with global revenues exceeding EUR20 billion to markets where sales arise (“Pillar One”), as well as enact a global minimum tax rate of at least 15% for multinationals with global revenue exceeding EUR750 million (“Pillar Two”). The meeting marked an early test of whether the US position on the OECD's Inclusive Framework “Taxation of the Digital Economy” project would provide momentum to finding a common base for agreement. On December 8, 2021, the OECD released Pillar Two model rules for implementation of a 15% global minimum tax, after previously announcing in October 2021 that 137 member jurisdictions have politically committed to the potential changes to the international corporate tax system.
In 2018, the European Commission (“EC”) introduced proposals addressing taxation of digital businesses operating within the European Union (“EU”) but has not reached an agreement on a sales tax with a scope limited to digital advertising services. As a result, certain countries, including the UK, Italy and France, unilaterally moved to introduce their own digital service tax. In January 2021, the EC released an Inception Impact Assessment to inform stakeholders about proposed legislative changes to the taxation of the digital economy. It is intended that the new initiative will help mitigate potential distortions and fragmentation of tax rules arising in the EU single market by designing a single set of rules which is consistent with the Digital Services Act package and the EC's digital strategy. In June 2021, as part of the OECD-IF's Pillar Two, there was an agreement to support efforts through the G20/OECD-IF and provide for appropriate coordination between the application of the new international tax rules and the removal of all digital services taxes, and other similar measures, on all companies.
In October 2021, an agreement was reached between the U.S. and a number of countries (France, Spain, Italy, Austria and the UK, and followed subsequently by Turkey and India) that unilateral measures introduced would be “rolled-back” once the OECD-IF led Pillar I comes into effect and that no further unilateral measures would be introduced by these countries. Additionally, the agreement reached by the parties stated that to the extent that unilateral measures generate taxable sums during an “interim period” (as defined under the agreements) that exceed the taxable sums that would be generated by Pillar I, any excess tax can be credited against the Pillar I Amount A tax when that comes into effect. The concept of an EU Digital Levy was fully dropped in December 2021 by the EU Commission.
Due to the increasing focus by government taxing authorities on multinational companies, the tax laws of certain countries in which we do business could change on a prospective or retroactive basis, and any such changes could increase our liabilities for taxes, interest and penalties, lead to higher effective tax rates, and harm our cash flows, results of operations and financial condition.
We have publicly disclosed market opportunity estimates, growth forecasts, and key metrics, including the key metrics included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, which could prove to be inaccurate, and any real or perceived inaccuracies may harm our reputation and negatively affect our business.
Market opportunity estimates and growth forecasts are subject to significant uncertainty and are based on assumptions and estimates that may not prove to be accurate. The estimates and forecasts we disclose relating to the size and expected growth of our target market may prove to be inaccurate. Even if the markets in which we compete meet the size estimates and growth we have forecasted, our business could fail to grow at similar rates, if at all. We also rely on assumptions and estimates to calculate
certain of our key metrics, such as annual recurring revenue, paying users, average revenue per paying user and free cash flow. We regularly review and may adjust our processes for calculating our key metrics to improve their accuracy. Our key metrics may differ from estimates published by third parties or from similarly titled metrics of our competitors due to differences in methodology. We have found that aggregate user activity metrics are not leading indicators of revenue or conversion. For that reason, we do not comprehensively track user activity across the Dropbox platform for financial planning and forecasting purposes. If investors or analysts do not perceive our metrics to be accurate representations of our business, or if we discover material inaccuracies in our metrics, our reputation, business, results of operations, and financial condition would be harmed.
Risks Related to Legal and Regulatory Compliance
We are subject to a variety of U.S. and international laws that could subject us to claims, increase the cost of operations, or otherwise harm our business due to changes in the laws, changes in the interpretations of the laws, greater enforcement of the laws, or investigations into compliance with the laws.
We are subject to compliance with various laws, including those covering copyright, indecent content, child protection, consumer protection, and similar matters. There have been instances where improper or illegal content has been stored on our platform without our knowledge. As a service provider, we do not regularly monitor our platform to evaluate the legality of content stored on it. While to date we have not been subject to material legal or administrative actions as result of this content, the laws in this area are currently in a state of flux and vary widely between jurisdictions. Accordingly, it may be possible that in the future we and our competitors may be subject to legal actions, along with the users who uploaded such content. In addition, regardless of any legal liability we may face, our reputation could be harmed should there be an incident generating extensive negative publicity about the content stored on our platform. Such publicity could harm our business and results of operations.
We are also subject to consumer protection laws that may impact our sales and marketing efforts, including laws related to subscriptions, billing, and auto-renewal. These laws, as well as any changes in these laws, could adversely affect our self-serve model and make it more difficult for us to retain and upgrade paying users and attract new ones. Additionally, we have in the past, are currently, and may from time to time in the future become the subject of inquiries and other actions by regulatory authorities as a result of our business practices, including our policies and practices around subscriptions, billing, auto-renewal, intermediary liability, privacy, and data protection. Consumer protection laws may be interpreted or applied by regulatory authorities in a manner that could require us to make changes to our operations or incur fines, penalties or settlement expenses, which may result in harm to our business, results of operations, and brand.
Our platform depends on the ability of our users to access the internet and our platform has been blocked or restricted in some countries for various reasons. For example, our platform is blocked in the People’s Republic of China. If we fail to anticipate developments in the law, or fail for any reason to comply with relevant law, our platform could be further blocked or restricted and we could be exposed to significant liability that could harm our business.
We are also subject to various U.S. and international anti-corruption laws, such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the U.K. Bribery Act, and Irish Criminal Justice (Corruption Offences) Act 2018, as well as other similar anti-bribery and anti-kickback laws and regulations. These laws and regulations generally prohibit companies and their employees and intermediaries from authorizing, offering, or providing improper payments or benefits to officials and other recipients for improper purposes. Although we take precautions to prevent violations of these laws, our exposure for violating these laws increases as we continue to expand our international presence and any failure to comply with such laws could harm our reputation and our business.
We are subject to export and import control laws and regulations that could impair our ability to compete in international markets or subject us to liability if we violate such laws and regulations.
We are subject to U.S. export controls and sanctions regulations that prohibit the shipment or provision of certain products and services to certain countries, governments, and persons targeted by U.S. sanctions. While we take precautions to prevent our products and services from being exported in violation of these laws, including implementing IP address blocking, we may have experienced violations in the past and we cannot guarantee that the precautions we take will prevent future violations of export control and sanctions laws. For example, in 2017, we discovered that our platform had been accessed by certain users in apparent violation of United States sanctions regulations. We filed an Initial Voluntary Self Disclosure in October 2017 with the Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, and a Final Voluntary Self Disclosure with OFAC in February 2018. In October 2018, OFAC notified us that it had completed its review of these matters and closed its review with the issuance of a Cautionary Letter. No monetary penalties were assessed with respect to the 2018 filing. If in the future we are found to be in
violation of U.S. sanctions or export control laws, it could result in substantial fines and penalties for us and for the individuals working for us, particularly in light of warning letters we previously received from OFAC.
In addition, various countries regulate the import and export of certain encryption and other technology, including import and export permitting and licensing requirements, and have enacted laws that could limit our ability to distribute our products or could limit our users’ ability to access our platform in those countries. Changes in our platform or client-side software, or future changes in export and import regulations may prevent our users with international operations from deploying our platform globally or, in some cases, prevent the export or import of our platform to certain countries, governments, or persons altogether. Any change in export or import regulations, economic sanctions or related legislation, or change in the countries, governments, persons or technologies targeted by such regulations, could result in decreased use of our platform by, or in our decreased ability to export or sell subscriptions to our platform to, existing or potential users with international operations. Any decreased use of our platform or limitation on our ability to export or sell our products would likely adversely affect our business, results of operations, and financial results.
Our actual or perceived failure to comply with privacy, data protection, and information security laws, regulations, and obligations could harm our business.
We receive, store, process, and use personal information and other user content. There are numerous federal, state, local, and international laws and regulations regarding privacy, data protection, information security, and the storing, sharing, use, processing, transfer, disclosure, and protection of personal information and other content, the scope of which are changing, subject to differing interpretations, and may be inconsistent among countries, or conflict with other rules. We also post privacy policies and are subject to contractual obligations to third parties related to privacy, data protection, and information security. We strive to comply with applicable laws, regulations, policies, and other legal obligations relating to privacy, data protection, and information security to the extent possible. However, the regulatory framework for privacy and data protection worldwide is, and is likely to remain, uncertain for the foreseeable future, and it is possible that these or other actual or alleged obligations may be interpreted and applied in a manner that is inconsistent from one jurisdiction to another and may conflict with other rules or our practices.
We also expect that there will continue to be new laws, regulations, and industry standards concerning privacy, data protection, and information security proposed and enacted in various jurisdictions. For example, in May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, went into effect in the EU. The GDPR imposed more stringent data protection requirements and provides greater penalties for noncompliance than previous data protection laws.
Additionally, although we have self-certified under the U.S.-EU and U.S.-Swiss Privacy Shield Frameworks with regard to our transfer of certain personal data from the European Economic Area ("EEA") and Switzerland to the United States, on July 16, 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union ("CJEU") invalidated Decision 2016/1250 on the adequacy of the protection provided by the U.S.-EU Privacy Shield Framework, and on September 8, 2020, the Swiss Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner announced that it no longer considers the U.S.-Swiss Privacy Shield adequate for the purposes of transfers of personal data from Switzerland to the U.S. While we rely on additional legal mechanisms to transfer data from the EEA and Switzerland to the United States, there is some regulatory uncertainty surrounding the future of data transfers from these locations to the United States, and we are closely monitoring regulatory developments in this area. In its decision invalidating the U.S.-EU Privacy Shield Framework, the CJEU also imposed additional obligations on companies relying on standard contractual clauses approved by the European Commission (“SCCs”) to transfer personal data. The CJEU decision may result in European data protection regulators applying differing standards for, and requiring additional measures in connection with, transfers of personal data from the EEA and Switzerland to the United States. The European Commission issued revised SCCs in June 2021 that are required to be implemented. The revised SCCs and other developments relating to cross-border data transfer may require us to implement additional contractual and technical safeguards for any personal data transferred out of the EEA and Switzerland, which may increase our costs, lead to increased regulatory scrutiny or liability, necessitate additional contractual negotiations, and adversely impact our business, results of operations, and financial results.
Additionally, several states in the U.S. have begun enacting new data privacy laws. For example, CCPA, which affords consumers expanded privacy protections, went into effect on January 1, 2020. However, certain aspects of the CCPA and its enforcement remain uncertain. Additionally, a new privacy law, the California Privacy Rights Act ("CPRA"), which will go into effect on January 1, 2023, significantly modified the CCPA, potentially resulting in further uncertainty and requiring us to incur additional costs and expenses. The effects of the CCPA and the CPRA remain far-reaching, and depending on final regulatory guidance and other related developments, potentially may require us to modify our data processing practices and policies and to incur substantial costs and expenses in an effort to comply. The enactment of the CCPA has prompted similar legislative developments in other states, such as Virginia, which in March 2021 enacted a Consumer Data Protection Act that
will go into effect January 1, 2023, and Colorado, which in June 2021 enacted a Colorado Privacy Act that will go into effect July 1, 2023. Similar laws are being considered by other state legislatures. These developments create the potential for a patchwork of overlapping but different state laws. Similarly, a number of legislative proposals in the European Union, the United States, at both the federal and state level, as well as other jurisdictions could impose new obligations in areas affecting our business. In addition, some countries are considering or have passed legislation implementing data protection requirements or requiring local storage and processing of data, or similar requirements, that could increase the cost and complexity of delivering our services.
With laws and regulations such as the GDPR in the EU and the California Consumer Privacy Act in the U.S. imposing new and relatively burdensome obligations, and with substantial uncertainty over the interpretation and application of these and other laws and regulations, we may face challenges in addressing their requirements and making necessary changes to our policies and practices, and may incur significant costs and expenses in an effort to do so. Any failure or perceived failure by us to comply with our privacy policies, our privacy-related obligations to users or other third parties, or any of our other legal obligations relating to privacy, data protection, or information security may result in governmental investigations or enforcement actions, litigation, claims, or public statements against us by consumer advocacy groups or others, and could result in significant liability or cause our users to lose trust in us, which could have an adverse effect on our reputation and business.
Furthermore, the costs of compliance with, and other burdens imposed by, the laws, regulations, and policies that are applicable to the businesses of our users may limit the adoption and use of, and reduce the overall demand for, our services. In addition to government regulation, self-regulatory standards, industry-specific regulations and other industry standards or requirements may legally or contractually apply to us or be argued to apply to us, or we may elect to comply with, or to facilitate our customers’ compliance with, such regulations, standards, requirements, or other actual or asserted obligations. If we are unable or are perceived to be unable to comply with any of these regulations, standards, requirements, or other actual or asserted obligations, if we are unable to maintain certifications or standards relevant to our customers, or if our customers are unable to obtain regulatory approval to use our services where required, our business may be harmed. In addition, an inability to satisfy the standards of certain government agencies that our customers may expect may have an adverse impact on our business and results.
Additionally, if third parties we work with, such as vendors or developers, violate applicable laws or regulations or our policies, such violations may also put our users’ content at risk and could in turn have an adverse effect on our business. Any significant change to applicable laws, regulations, or industry practices regarding the collection, use, retention, security, or disclosure of our users’ content, or regarding the manner in which the express or implied consent of users for the collection, use, retention, or disclosure of such content is obtained, could increase our costs and require us to modify our services and features, possibly in a material manner, which we may be unable to complete, and may limit our ability to store and process user data or develop new services and features.
Our business could be adversely impacted by changes in internet access for our users or laws specifically governing the internet.
Our platform depends on the quality of our users’ access to the internet. Certain features of our platform require significant bandwidth and fidelity to work effectively. Internet access is frequently provided by companies that have significant market power that could take actions that degrade, disrupt or increase the cost of user access to our platform, which would negatively impact our business. We could incur greater operating expenses and our user acquisition and retention could be negatively impacted if network operators:
•implement usage-based pricing;
•discount pricing for competitive products;
•otherwise materially change their pricing rates or schemes;
•charge us to deliver our traffic at certain levels or at all;
•throttle traffic based on its source or type;
•implement bandwidth caps or other usage restrictions; or
•otherwise try to monetize or control access to their networks
On June 11, 2018, the repeal of the Federal Communications Commission’s, or FCC, “net neutrality” rules took effect and returned to a “light-touch” regulatory framework. The prior rules were designed to ensure that all online content is treated the same by internet service providers and other companies that provide broadband services. Additionally, California and a number of other states are considering or have enacted legislation or executive actions that would regulate the conduct of broadband providers. We cannot predict whether the FCC order or state initiatives will be modified, overturned, or vacated by legal action of the court, federal legislation, or the FCC. With the repeal of net neutrality rules in effect, we could incur greater operating expenses, which could harm our results of operations. As the internet continues to experience growth in the number of users, frequency of use, and amount of data transmitted, the internet infrastructure that we and our users rely on may be unable to support the demands placed upon it. The failure of the internet infrastructure that we or our users rely on, even for a short period of time, could undermine our operations and harm our results of operations.
In addition, there are various laws and regulations that could impede the growth of the internet or other online services, and new laws and regulations may be adopted in the future. These laws and regulations could, in addition to limiting internet neutrality, involve taxation, tariffs, privacy, data protection, content, copyrights, distribution, electronic contracts and other communications, consumer protection, and the characteristics and quality of services, any of which could decrease the demand for, or the usage of, our platform. Legislators and regulators may make legal and regulatory changes, or interpret and apply existing laws, in ways that require us to incur substantial costs, expose us to unanticipated civil or criminal liability, or cause us to change our business practices. These changes or increased costs could materially harm our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
We are currently, and may be in the future, party to intellectual property rights claims and other litigation matters and, if resolved adversely, they could have a significant impact on our business, results of operations, or financial condition.
We own a large number of patents, copyrights, trademarks, domain names, and trade secrets and, from time to time, are subject to litigation based on allegations of infringement, misappropriation or other violations of intellectual property, or other rights. As we face increasing competition and gain an increasingly high profile, the possibility of intellectual property rights claims, commercial claims, and other assertions against us grows. We have in the past been, are currently, and may from time to time in the future become, a party to litigation and disputes related to our intellectual property, our business practices, transactions involving our securities and our platform. For example, we were recently subject to a number of putative class action lawsuits in state and federal court alleging federal securities law violations in connection with our IPO. Although the lawsuits in both the federal and state courts have since been dismissed, we may not be successful in an appeal proceeding or in winning dismissal of an amended complaint. The costs of supporting litigation and dispute resolution proceedings are considerable, and there can be no assurances that a favorable outcome will be obtained. Our business, results of operations, and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected by such costs and any unfavorable outcomes in current or future litigation. We may need to settle litigation and disputes on terms that are unfavorable to us, or we may be subject to an unfavorable judgment that may not be reversible upon appeal. The terms of any settlement or judgment may require us to cease some or all of our operations or pay substantial amounts to the other party. With respect to any intellectual property rights claim, we may have to seek a license to continue practices found to be in violation of third-party rights, which may not be available on reasonable terms and may significantly increase our operating expenses. A license to continue such practices may not be available to us at all, and we may be required to develop alternative non-infringing technology or practices or discontinue the practices. The development of alternative, non-infringing technology or practices could require significant effort and expense.
Our failure to protect our intellectual property rights and proprietary information could diminish our brand and other intangible assets.
We rely and expect to continue to rely on a combination of patents, patent licenses, trade secrets, domain name protections, trademarks, and copyright laws, as well as confidentiality and license agreements with our employees, consultants, and third parties, to protect our intellectual property and proprietary rights. In the United States and abroad, we have over 1,400 issued patents and more than 350 pending patent applications. However, third parties may knowingly or unknowingly infringe our proprietary rights, third parties may challenge our proprietary rights, pending and future patent, trademark, and copyright applications may not be approved, and we may not be able to prevent infringement without incurring substantial expense. We have also devoted substantial resources to the development of our proprietary technologies and related processes. In order to protect our proprietary technologies and processes, we rely in part on trade secret laws and confidentiality agreements with our employees, consultants, and third parties. These agreements may not effectively prevent disclosure of confidential information and may not provide an adequate remedy in the event of unauthorized disclosure of confidential information. In addition, others may independently discover our trade secrets, in which case we would not be able to assert trade secret rights, or develop
similar technologies and processes. Further, laws in certain jurisdictions may afford little or no trade secret protection, and any changes in, or unexpected interpretations of, the intellectual property laws in any country in which we operate may compromise our ability to enforce our intellectual property rights. Costly and time-consuming litigation could be necessary to enforce and determine the scope of our proprietary rights. If the protection of our proprietary rights is inadequate to prevent use or appropriation by third parties, the value of our platform, brand, and other intangible assets may be diminished and competitors may be able to more effectively replicate our platform and its features. Any of these events could materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
Risks Related to Ownership of Our Class A Common Stock
The trading price of our Class A common stock may be volatile, and you could lose all or part of your investment.
The trading price of our Class A common stock may be volatile and could be subject to fluctuations in response to various factors, some of which are beyond our control. Factors that could cause fluctuations in the trading price of our Class A common stock include the following:
•price and volume fluctuations in the overall stock market from time to time;
•volatility in the trading prices and trading volumes of technology stocks;
•changes in operating performance and stock market valuations of other technology companies generally, or those in our industry in particular;
•sales of shares of our Class A common stock by us or our stockholders;
•failure of securities analysts to maintain coverage of us, changes in financial estimates by securities analysts who follow our company, or our failure to meet these estimates or the expectations of investors;
•the financial projections we may provide to the public, any changes in those projections, or our failure to meet those projections;
•announcements by us or our competitors of new products, features, or services;
•the public’s reaction to our press releases, other public announcements, and filings with the SEC;
•rumors and market speculation involving us or other companies in our industry;
•actual or anticipated changes in our results of operations or fluctuations in our results of operations;
•actual or anticipated changes in our key metrics;
•actual or anticipated developments in our business, our competitors’ businesses or the competitive landscape generally;
•actual or perceived breaches of, or failures related to, privacy, data protection or data security;
•litigation involving us, our industry, or both, or investigations by regulators into our operations or those of our competitors;
•developments or disputes concerning our intellectual property or other proprietary rights;
•announced or completed acquisitions of businesses, products, services, or technologies by us or our competitors;
•new laws or regulations or new interpretations of existing laws or regulations applicable to our business;
•changes in accounting standards, policies, guidelines, interpretations, or principles;
•any significant change in our management; and
•general economic conditions and slow or negative growth of our markets and catastrophic events, including earthquakes, fires, floods, tsunamis, or other weather events, power loss, telecommunications failures, software or hardware malfunctions, cyber-attack, war, or terrorist attacks, and pandemics such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, in the past, following periods of volatility in the overall market and the market price of a particular company’s securities, securities class action litigation has often been instituted against these companies. For example, we were recently subject to a number of putative class action lawsuits in state and federal court alleging federal securities law violations in connection with our IPO. Although the lawsuits in both the federal and state courts have since been dismissed, we may not be successful in an appeal proceeding or in winning dismissal of an amended complaint. This recent litigation, and any securities litigation that may be instituted against us in the future, could result in substantial costs and a diversion of our management’s attention and resources.
The multi-class structure of our common stock has the effect of concentrating voting control with those stockholders who held our capital stock prior to the completion of our IPO, and it may depress the trading price of our Class A common stock.
Our Class A common stock has one vote per share, our Class B common stock has ten votes per share, and our Class C common stock has no voting rights, except as otherwise required by law. As of December 31, 2021, our directors, executive officers and holders of more than 5% of our common stock, and their respective affiliates, held in the aggregate 78.9% of the voting power of our capital stock, with Mr. Houston holding approximately 72.8% of the voting power of our capital stock. We are including Mr. Houston's Co-Founder Grant in this calculation since the shares underlying such grant are legally issued and outstanding shares of our Class A common stock and Mr. Houston is able to vote these shares prior to their vesting. Because of the ten-to-one voting ratio between our Class B and Class A common stock, the holders of our Class B common stock collectively will continue to control a majority of the combined voting power of our common stock and therefore be able to control all matters submitted to our stockholders for approval so long as the shares of Class B common stock represent at least 9.1% of all outstanding shares of our Class A and Class B common stock. This concentrated control will limit or preclude other stockholders' ability to influence corporate matters for the foreseeable future, including the election of directors, amendments of our organizational documents, and any merger, consolidation, sale of all or substantially all of our assets, or other major corporate transaction requiring stockholder approval. In addition, this may prevent or discourage unsolicited acquisition proposals or offers for our capital stock that other stockholders may feel are in their best interests as one of our stockholders.
Future transfers or sales by holders of Class B common stock will generally result in those shares converting to Class A common stock, except for certain transfers described in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, including transfers effected for estate planning purposes where sole dispositive power and exclusive voting control with respect to the shares of Class B common stock is retained by the transferring holder and transfers between our co-founders. In addition, each outstanding share of Class B common stock held by a stockholder who is a natural person, or held by the permitted entities or permitted transferees of such stockholder (as described in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation), will convert automatically into one share of Class A common stock upon the death of such natural person. In the event of Mr. Houston's death or permanent and total disability, shares of Class B common stock held by Mr. Houston, his permitted entities or permitted transferees will convert to Class A common stock, provided that the conversion will be deferred for nine months, or up to 18 months if approved by a majority of our independent directors, following his death or permanent and total disability. Transfers between our co-founders are permitted transfers and will not result in conversion of the shares of Class B common stock that are transferred; however, upon the death or total and permanent disability of the transferring co-founder, the transferred shares would convert to Class A common stock following the deferral period of nine months, or up to 18 months if approved by a majority of our independent directors. The conversion of Class B common stock to Class A common stock will have the effect, over time, of increasing the relative voting power of those individual holders of Class B common stock who retain their shares in the long term.
In addition, because our Class C common stock carries no voting rights (except as otherwise required by law), if we issue Class C common stock in the future, the holders of Class B common stock may be able to elect all of our directors and to determine the outcome of most matters submitted to a vote of our stockholders for a longer period of time than would be the case if we issued Class A common stock rather than Class C common stock in such transactions.
Additionally, in July 2017, FTSE Russell and Standard & Poor’s announced that they would cease to allow most newly public companies utilizing dual or multi-class capital structures to be included in their indices. Affected indices include the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500, S&P MidCap 400, and S&P SmallCap 600, which together make up the S&P Composite 1500. Although we have since met the requirements to be included, and are now included, in an FTSE Russell index, our multi-class capital structure still makes us ineligible for inclusion in any of the above listed S&P indices, and as a result, mutual funds,
exchange-traded funds, and other investment vehicles that attempt to passively track these S&P indices will not be investing in our stock. It is as of yet unclear what effect, if any, these policies will have on the valuations of publicly traded companies excluded from one or more of these indices, but it is possible that they may depress these valuations compared to those of other similar companies that are included.
Substantial future sales could depress the market price of our Class A common stock.
The market price of our Class A common stock could decline as a result of a large number of sales of shares of such stock, and the perception that these sales could occur may also depress the market price of our Class A common stock.
In addition, we have filed registration statements to register shares reserved for future issuance under our equity compensation plans. As a result, subject to the satisfaction of applicable exercise periods, the shares issued upon exercise of outstanding stock options or upon settlement of outstanding RSU awards are available for immediate resale in the United States in the open market.
Sales of our shares may make it more difficult for us to sell equity securities in the future at a time and at a price that we deem appropriate. These sales also could cause the trading price of our Class A common stock to fall and make it more difficult for you to sell shares of our Class A common stock.
Transactions relating to our 2026 Notes and 2028 Notes may dilute the ownership interest of stockholders, or may otherwise depress the price of our common stock.
If the 2026 Notes or the 2028 Notes are converted by holders of such series, we have the ability under the applicable indenture to deliver cash, common stock, or any combination of cash or common stock, at our election upon conversion of the applicable series of convertible notes. If we elect to deliver common stock upon conversion of the 2026 Notes or the 2028 Notes, it would dilute the ownership interests of existing stockholders. Any sales in the public market of the Class A common stock issuable upon such conversion could adversely affect prevailing market prices of our Class A common stock. In addition, certain holders of the 2026 Notes or the 2028 Notes may engage in short selling to hedge their position in the convertible notes. Anticipated future conversions of the 2026 Notes or 2028 Notes into shares of our Class A common stock could depress the price of our Class A common stock.
Delaware law and provisions in our restated certificate of incorporation and restated bylaws could make a merger, tender offer, or proxy contest difficult, thereby depressing the market price of our Class A common stock.
Our status as a Delaware corporation and the anti-takeover provisions of the Delaware General Corporation Law may discourage, delay, or prevent a change in control by prohibiting us from engaging in a business combination with an interested stockholder for a period of three years after the person becomes an interested stockholder, even if a change of control would be beneficial to our existing stockholders. In addition, our restated certificate of incorporation and restated bylaws contain provisions that may make the acquisition of our company more difficult, including the following:
•any transaction that would result in a change in control of our company requires the approval of a majority of our outstanding Class B common stock voting as a separate class;
•our multi-class common stock structure, which provides our holders of Class B common stock with the ability to significantly influence the outcome of matters requiring stockholder approval, even if they own significantly less than a majority of the shares of our outstanding Class A common stock, Class B common stock, and Class C common stock;
•when the outstanding shares of Class B common stock represent less than a majority of the total combined voting power of our Class A and Class B common stock, or the Voting Threshold Date, our Board of Directors will be classified into three classes of directors with staggered three-year terms, and directors will only be able to be removed from office for cause;
•until the Class B common stock, as a class, converts to Class A common stock, any amendments to our restated certificate of incorporation will require the approval of two-thirds of the combined vote of our then-outstanding shares of Class A common stock and Class B common stock; and following the conversion of our Class B common stock, as a class, to Class A common stock, certain amendments to our amended and restated certificate of incorporation will require the approval of two-thirds of our then outstanding voting power;
•our amended and restated bylaws will provide that approval of stockholders holding two-thirds of our outstanding voting power voting as a single class is required for stockholders to amend or adopt any provision of our bylaws;
•after the Voting Threshold Date our stockholders will only be able to take action at a meeting of stockholders, and will not be able to take action by written consent for any matter;
•until the Voting Threshold Date, our stockholders will be able to act by written consent only if the action is first recommended or approved by the Board of Directors;
•vacancies on our Board of Directors will be able to be filled only by our Board of Directors and not by stockholders;
•only the chairman of our Board of Directors, our chief executive officer, a majority of our Board of Directors, or, until the Class B common stock, as a class, converts to Class A common stock, a stockholder holding thirty percent of the combined voting power of our Class A and Class B common stock are authorized to call a special meeting of stockholders;
•certain litigation against us may be required to be brought in Delaware;
•our restated certificate of incorporation authorizes undesignated preferred stock, the terms of which may be established and shares of which may be issued, without the approval of the holders of Class A common stock; and
•advance notice procedures apply for stockholders to nominate candidates for election as directors or to bring matters before an annual meeting of stockholders.
These anti-takeover defenses could discourage, delay, or prevent a transaction involving a change in control of our company. These provisions could also discourage proxy contests and make it more difficult for stockholders to elect directors of their choosing and to cause us to take other corporate actions they desire, any of which, under certain circumstances, could limit the opportunity for our stockholders to receive a premium for their shares of our capital stock, and could also affect the price that some investors are willing to pay for our Class A common stock.
Our amended and restated bylaws designate a state or federal court located within the State of Delaware as the exclusive forum for substantially all disputes between us and our stockholders, and also provide that the federal district courts will be the exclusive forum for resolving any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act, each of which could limit our stockholders’ ability to choose the judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers, or employees.
Our amended and restated bylaws provide that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the sole and exclusive forum for (1) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (2) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers, or other employees to us or our stockholders, (3) any action arising pursuant to any provision of the Delaware General Corporation Law, or the certificate of incorporation or the amended and restated bylaws, or (4) any other action asserting a claim that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine shall be the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware (or, if the Court of Chancery does not have jurisdiction, the federal district court for the District of Delaware), in all cases subject to the court having jurisdiction over indispensable parties named as defendants.
Our amended and restated bylaws also provide that the federal district courts of the United States of America will be the exclusive forum for resolving any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act, or a Federal Forum Provision.
Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in any of our securities shall be deemed to have notice of and consented to this provision. These exclusive-forum provisions may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum of its choosing for disputes with us or our directors, officers, or other employees, which may discourage lawsuits against us and our directors, officers, and other employees.
If we face relevant litigation and are unable to enforce these provisions, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving the dispute in other jurisdictions, which could harm our results of operations.
We cannot guarantee that our stock repurchase program will be fully implemented or that it will enhance long-term stockholder value
In February 2020, our Board of Directors approved a stock repurchase program for the repurchase of up to $600 million of the outstanding shares of our Class A common stock, in February 2021 our Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of up to an additional $1 billion of the outstanding shares of our Class A common stock and in February 2022 our Board of Directors further authorized the repurchase of up to an additional $1.2 billion of the outstanding shares of our Class A common stock. The repurchase program does not have an expiration date and we are not obligated to repurchase a specified number or dollar value of shares. Share repurchases will be made from time to time in private transactions or open market purchases, as permitted by securities laws and other legal requirements. Although we have previously announced an intention to increase the pace of our share repurchases, any share repurchases remain subject to the circumstances in place at that time, including prevailing market prices. As a result, there can be no guarantee around the timing of our share repurchases, or that the volume of such repurchases will increase. The stock repurchase program could affect the price of our Class A common stock, increase volatility and diminish our cash reserves. Our repurchase program may be suspended or terminated at any time and, even if fully implemented, may not enhance long-term stockholder value.
We do not intend to pay dividends for the foreseeable future.
We have never declared nor paid cash dividends on our capital stock. We currently intend to retain any future earnings to finance the operation and expansion of our business and fund our stock repurchase program, and we do not expect to declare or pay any dividends in the foreseeable future. As a result, stockholders must rely on sales of their Class A common stock after price appreciation as the only way to realize any future gains on their investment. In addition, our revolving credit facility contains restrictions on our ability to pay dividends.
General Risk Factors
Our business could be disrupted by catastrophic events.
Occurrence of any catastrophic event, including earthquake, fire, flood, tsunami, or other weather event, power loss, telecommunications failure, software or hardware malfunctions, cyber-attack, war, or terrorist attack, could result in lengthy interruptions in our service or result in unexpected increases in our costs. Further, outbreaks of pandemic diseases, such as COVID-19, or the fear of such events, have resulted in responses, including government-imposed travel restrictions, grounding of flights, and shutdown of workplaces. As a result, we are conducting business with substantial modifications, including modifications to employee travel and employee work locations. These modifications may disrupt important business operations, such as our product development and sales and marketing activities, and the productivity of our employees.
Additionally, our U.S. headquarters and some of the datacenters we utilize are located in the San Francisco Bay Area, a region known for seismic activity, and our insurance coverage may not compensate us for losses that may occur in the event of an earthquake or other significant natural disaster. In addition, acts of terrorism could cause disruptions to the internet or the economy as a whole. Even with our disaster recovery arrangements, our service could be interrupted. If our systems were to fail or be negatively impacted as a result of a natural disaster or other event, our ability to deliver products to our users would be impaired, we could lose critical data and we may be subject to increased costs. If we are unable to develop adequate plans to mitigate the impact of a disaster or to ensure that our business functions continue to operate during and after a disaster, and successfully execute on those plans in the event of a disaster or emergency, our business, results of operations, financial condition, and reputation would be harmed.
We may have exposure to greater than anticipated tax liabilities, which could adversely impact our results of operations.
While to date we have not incurred significant income taxes in operating our business, we are subject to income taxes in the United States and various jurisdictions outside of the United States. Our effective tax rate could fluctuate due to changes in the mix of earnings and losses in countries with differing statutory tax rates. Our tax expense could also be impacted by changes in non-deductible expenses, changes in excess tax benefits of stock-based compensation, changes in the valuation of deferred tax assets and liabilities and our ability to utilize them, the applicability of withholding taxes and effects from acquisitions.
Our tax provision could also be impacted by changes in accounting principles, changes in U.S. federal, state, or international tax laws applicable to corporate multinationals such as the recent legislation enacted in the United States, other fundamental law changes currently being considered by many countries, and changes in taxing jurisdictions’ administrative interpretations, decisions, policies, and positions. Additionally, the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development
has released guidance covering various topics, including digital economy, transfer pricing, country-by-country reporting, and definitional changes to permanent establishment that could ultimately impact our tax liabilities.
We are subject to review and audit by U.S. federal, state, local, and foreign tax authorities. Such tax authorities may disagree with tax positions we take and if any such tax authority were to successfully challenge any such position, our financial results and operations could be materially and adversely affected. We may also be subject to additional tax liabilities due to changes in non-income-based taxes resulting from changes in federal, state, or international tax laws, changes in taxing jurisdictions’ administrative interpretations, decisions, policies, and positions, results of tax examinations, settlements or judicial decisions, changes in accounting principles, changes to the business operations, including acquisitions, as well as the evaluation of new information that results in a change to a tax position taken in a prior period.
If we fail to maintain an effective system of disclosure controls and internal control over financial reporting, our ability to produce timely and accurate financial statements or comply with applicable regulations could be impaired.
We are subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and the rules and regulations of the applicable listing standards of the Nasdaq Global Select Market, or Nasdaq. We expect that the requirements of these rules and regulations will continue to increase our legal, accounting, and financial compliance costs, make some activities more difficult, time-consuming and costly, and place significant strain on our personnel, systems, and resources.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires, among other things, that we maintain effective disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting. We are also required to provide an annual management report on the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures over financial reporting. We are continuing to develop and refine our disclosure controls and other procedures that are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by us in the reports that we will file with the SEC is recorded, processed, summarized, and reported within the time periods specified in SEC rules and forms and that information required to be disclosed in reports under the Exchange Act is accumulated and communicated to our principal executive and financial officers. We are also continuing to improve our internal control over financial reporting. In order to maintain and improve the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting, we have expended, and anticipate that we will continue to expend, significant resources, including accounting-related costs and significant management oversight. In addition, our independent registered public accounting firm is required to audit the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting pursuant to Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act annually. Testing, or the subsequent testing by our independent registered public accounting firm, may reveal material weaknesses or significant deficiencies. If material weaknesses are identified or we are not able to comply with the requirements of Section 404 in a timely manner, our reported financial results could be materially misstated, we could receive an adverse opinion regarding our internal control over financial reporting from our independent registered public accounting firm, we could be subject to investigations or sanctions by regulatory authorities and we could incur substantial expenses.
Our current controls and any new controls that we develop may become inadequate because of changes in conditions in our business. Additionally, to the extent we acquire other businesses, the acquired company may not have a sufficiently robust system of internal controls and we may uncover new deficiencies. Weaknesses in our disclosure controls and internal control over financial reporting may be discovered in the future. Any failure to develop or maintain effective controls or any difficulties encountered in their implementation or improvement that could harm our results of operations or cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations and may result in a restatement of our financial statements for prior periods. Any failure to implement and maintain effective internal control over financial reporting also could adversely affect the results of periodic management evaluations and annual independent registered public accounting firm attestation reports regarding the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting that are required to be included in our periodic reports that will be filed with the SEC. Ineffective disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting could also cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial and other information, which would likely have a negative effect on the trading price of our Class A common stock. In addition, if we are unable to continue to meet these requirements, we may not be able to remain listed on Nasdaq.
Our reported results of operations may be adversely affected by changes in accounting principles generally accepted in the United States.
Generally accepted accounting principles in the United States are subject to interpretation by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, or FASB, the SEC, and various bodies formed to promulgate and interpret appropriate accounting principles. A change in these principles or interpretations could have a significant effect on our reported results of operations, and may even affect the reporting of transactions completed before the announcement or effectiveness of a change. It is difficult to
predict the impact of future changes to accounting principles or our accounting policies, any of which could negatively affect our results of operations.
We may need additional capital, and we cannot be certain that additional financing will be available on favorable terms, or at all.
Historically, we have funded our operations and capital expenditures primarily through equity issuances, cash generated from our operations, and debt financing for capital purchases. Although we currently anticipate that our existing cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments, amounts available under our existing credit facilities, and cash flow from operations will be sufficient to meet our cash needs for the foreseeable future, we may require additional financing. We evaluate financing opportunities from time to time, and our ability to obtain financing will depend, among other things, on our development efforts, business plans, operating performance, and condition of the capital markets at the time we seek financing. We cannot assure you that additional financing will be available to us on favorable terms when required, or at all. If we raise additional funds through the issuance of equity or equity-linked or debt securities, those securities may have rights, preferences or privileges senior to the rights of our Class A common stock, and our stockholders may experience dilution.
Our Class A common stock market price and trading volume could decline if securities or industry analysts do not publish research or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business.
The trading market for our Class A common stock will depend in part on the research and reports that securities or industry analysts publish about us or our business. The analysts’ estimates are based upon their own opinions and are often different from our estimates or expectations. If one or more of the analysts who cover us downgrade our Class A common stock or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, the price of our securities would likely decline. If few securities analysts commence coverage of us, or if one or more of these analysts cease coverage of us or fail to publish reports on us regularly, demand for our securities could decrease, which might cause the price and trading volume of our Class A common stock to decline.
ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
ITEM 2. PROPERTIES
Our corporate headquarters are located in San Francisco, California, pursuant to operating leases that expire in 2033. We lease additional offices in San Francisco and around the world, including in Austin, Texas; New York, New York; Mountain View, California; Seattle, Washington; Dublin, Ireland; and Sydney, Australia. We have data center co-location facilities in California, Oregon, Texas, and Virginia. We believe that these facilities are generally suitable to meet our needs.
ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
We are currently involved in, and may in the future be involved in, legal proceedings, claims, and government investigations in the ordinary course of business, including legal proceedings with third parties asserting infringement of their intellectual property rights.
We are currently involved in four putative class action lawsuits alleging violations of the federal securities laws that were filed on August 30, 2019, September 5, 2019, September 13, 2019, and October 3, 2019, in the Superior Court of the State of California, San Mateo County, against the Company, certain of its officers and directors, underwriters of its IPO, and Sequoia Capital XII, L.P. and certain of its affiliated entities (collectively, the “Dropbox Defendants”). On October 4, 2019, two putative class action lawsuits alleging violations of the federal securities laws were filed against the Dropbox Defendants in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The six lawsuits each make the same or similar allegations of violations of federal securities laws, for allegedly making materially false and misleading statements in, or omitting material information from, our IPO registration statement. The plaintiffs seek unspecified monetary damages and other relief.
On March 2, 2020, the Federal Plaintiffs filed a consolidated class action complaint. On April 16, 2020, the Dropbox Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the federal consolidated class action complaint. On October 21, 2020, the federal court issued an order granting our motion to dismiss the Federal Plaintiffs’ complaint with leave to amend setting a deadline of January 6, 2021 for the Federal Plaintiffs to file any amended complaint. The federal court extended this deadline to February 22, 2021 to provide time for the parties to explore resolving the case. On February 11, 2021, the parties attended mediation and reached a settlement in principle for an immaterial amount subject to final documentation and preliminary and final approval by the court. On July 22, 2021, the Court held a preliminary settlement approval hearing. On August 3, 2021, the Court entered an order preliminarily approving the settlement and providing for notice to the class. The Court held a hearing for final approval of the settlement on December 2, 2021. On December 8, 2021, the Court entered an order approving the settlement and dismissing the case. Accordingly, the federal securities litigation is now resolved.
On May 11, 2020, the Dropbox Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the consolidated state court case based on the exclusive federal forum provisions contained in our amended and restated bylaws. On December 4, 2020, the state court issued an order granting our motion to dismiss the consolidated state court case. On December 15, 2020, the State Plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal of this order, and on December 8, 2021, the State Plaintiffs filed their opening brief. Dropbox filed its responding appellate brief on February 4, 2022. We believe the appeal and claims are without merit and we intend to vigorously defend against them.
Future litigation may be necessary, among other things, to defend ourselves or our users by determining the scope, enforceability, and validity of third-party proprietary rights or to establish our proprietary rights. The results of any current or future litigation cannot be predicted with certainty, and regardless of the outcome, litigation can have an adverse impact on us because of defense and settlement costs, diversion of management resources, and other factors.
ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
Market Information for Class A Common Stock
Our Class A common stock has been listed on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol "DBX" since March 23, 2018.
Holders of Record
As of February 15, 2022, we had 764 holders of record of our Class A and Class B common stock, respectively, and no holders of our Class C common stock. The actual number of stockholders is greater than this number of record holders and includes stockholders who are beneficial owners, but whose shares are held in street name by brokers and other nominees.
We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our capital stock. We currently intend to retain any future earnings and do not expect to pay any dividends in the foreseeable future. Any future determination to declare cash dividends will be made at the discretion of our Board of Directors, subject to applicable laws, and will depend on a number of factors, including our financial condition, results of operations, capital requirements, contractual restrictions, general business conditions, and other factors that our Board of Directors may deem relevant. In addition, the terms of our revolving credit facility place certain limitations on the amount of cash dividends we can pay, even if no amounts are currently outstanding.
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
The following table presents information with respect to our repurchases of Class A common stock during the quarter ended December 31, 2021.
Total Number of Shares Purchased (in millions)(1)
Average Price Paid per Share(2)
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Programs
Approximate Dollar Value of Shares that May Yet Be Purchased Under Publicly Announced Programs
|October 1 - 31||2.68 ||$||29.55 ||2.68 ||$||559.38 |
|November 1 - 30|
|$||26.63 ||3.71||$||460.47 |
|December 1 - 31||4.80||$||24.39 ||4.80||$||343.49 |
|Total||12.31 ||$||26.37 ||11.19 |
(1) On February 20, 2020, we announced that our Board of Directors approved a stock repurchase program for the repurchase of up to $600 million of the Company's outstanding shares of Class A common stock. On February 18, 2021, we announced that our Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of an additional $1 billion of the outstanding shares of our Class A common stock. We completed the February 2020 authorization of $600 million during the three months ended March 31, 2021 and continued stock repurchases under the February 2021 authorization. On February 11, 2022, our Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of an additional $1.2 billion of the outstanding shares of our Class A common stock. Under this program, shares may be repurchased, subject to general business and market conditions and other investment opportunities, through open market purchases or privately held negotiated transactions, including through Rule 10b5-1 plans, in each case as permitted by securities laws and other legal requirements. The repurchase program does not have an expiration date. See Note 12 "Stockholders' (Deficit) Equity" of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional information related to share repurchases.
(2) Average price paid per share includes costs associated with the repurchases.
(3) Includes 1,117,743 shares of restricted common stock delivered by certain employees upon vesting of restricted stock awards to satisfy tax withholding requirements.
Stock Performance Graph
This performance graph shall not be deemed “soliciting material” or to be “filed” with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, for purposes of Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, or otherwise subject to the liabilities under that Section, and shall not be deemed to be incorporated by reference into any of our filings under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act.
The following graph compares (i) the cumulative total stockholder return on our Class A common stock from March 23, 2018 (the date our Class A common stock commenced trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market) through December 31, 2021 with (ii) the cumulative total return of the Standard & Poor's 500 Index and the Nasdaq Computer Index over the same period, assuming the investment of $100 in our common stock and in both of the other indices on March 23, 2018 and the reinvestment of dividends. The graph uses the closing market price on March 23, 2018 of $28.48 per share as the initial value of our common stock. As discussed above, we have never declared or paid a cash dividend on our common stock and do not anticipate declaring or paying a cash dividend in the foreseeable future.
*Returns are based on historical results and are not necessarily indicative of future performance. See the disclosure in Part I, Item 1A, “Risk Factors.”
Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities
ITEM 6. Reserved
ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and related notes thereto included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. This discussion contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual results could differ materially from those discussed below. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, those identified below and those discussed in the section titled “Risk Factors” included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. For a comparison of our results of operations for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 see Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020, filed with the SEC on February 19, 2021.
Our modern economy runs on knowledge. Today, knowledge lives in the cloud as digital content, and Dropbox is where businesses and individuals can create, access, and share this content globally. We serve more than 700 million registered users across 180 countries.
Since our founding in 2007, our market opportunity has grown as we’ve expanded from keeping files in sync to keeping teams in sync. In a world where using technology at work can be fragmented and distracting, Dropbox makes it easy to focus on the work that matters.
By solving these universal problems, we’ve become invaluable to our users. The popularity of our platform drives viral growth, which has allowed us to scale rapidly and efficiently. We’ve built a thriving global business with 16.79 million paying users.
Our Subscription Plans
We generate revenue from individuals, families, teams, and organizations by selling subscriptions to our platform, which serve the varying needs of our diverse customer base. Subscribers can purchase individual licenses through our Plus and Professional plans, or purchase multiple licenses through our Family plan or our Standard, Advanced, and Enterprise team plans. Each team or family represents a separately billed deployment that is managed through a single administrative dashboard. Teams must have a minimum of three users, but can also have more than tens of thousands of users. Families can have up to six users. Customers can choose between an annual or monthly plan, with a small number of large organizations on multi-year plans. A majority of our customers opt for our annual plans, although we have seen and may continue to see an increase in customers opting for our monthly plans. Our customer base is highly diversified, and in the periods presented, no customer accounted for more than 1% of our revenue. We typically bill our customers at the beginning of their respective terms and recognize revenue ratably over the term of the subscription period. International customers can pay in U.S. dollars or a select number of foreign currencies.
Our premium subscription plans, such as Professional and Advanced, provide more functionality than other subscription plans and have higher per user prices. Our Standard and Advanced subscription plans offer robust capabilities for businesses, and the vast majority of Dropbox Business teams purchase our Standard or Advanced subscription plans. While our Enterprise subscription plan offers more opportunities for customization, companies can subscribe to any of these team plans for their business needs.
In the first quarter of 2021, we acquired DocSend, a secure document sharing and analytics company. The combination of DocSend with our other product offerings helps customers across industries manage end-to-end document workflows—from content collaboration to sharing and e-signature—giving them more control over their business results.
DocSend offers paid subscription plans, including a personal plan designed for individuals and Standard, Advanced, and Enterprise plans designed for business users and teams. Similar to Dropbox plans, pricing of DocSend's plans is based on the number of licenses purchased. Customers can choose between an annual or monthly plan, with a small number of large organizations on multi-year plans. We typically bill DocSend customers at the beginning of their respective terms and recognize revenue ratably over the subscription period. DocSend primarily sells within the United States, and the majority of sales are in U.S. dollars.
We also offer HelloSign as our e-signature solution. HelloSign has several product lines, and the pricing and revenue generated from each product line varies, with some product lines priced based on the number of licenses purchased (similar to Dropbox plans), while others are priced based on a customer’s transaction volume. Depending on the product purchased, teams must have a minimum number of licenses, but can also have hundreds of users. Customers can choose between an annual or
monthly plan, with a small number of large organizations on multi-year plans. We typically bill HelloSign customers at the beginning of their respective terms and recognize revenue ratably over the subscription period. We sell HelloSign products globally and sell primarily in U.S. dollars.
Our Business Model
Drive new signups
We acquire users efficiently and at relatively low costs through word-of-mouth referrals, direct in-product referrals, and sharing of content. Anyone can create a Dropbox account for free through our website or app and be up and running in minutes. These users often share and collaborate with other non-registered users, attracting new signups into our network.
Increase conversion of registered users to our paid subscription plans
We generate over 90% of our revenue from self-serve channels—users who purchase a subscription through our app or website. To grow our recurring revenue base, we actively encourage our registered users to convert to one of our paid plans based on the functionality that best suits their needs. We do this via in-product prompts and notifications, time-limited free trials of paid subscription plans, email campaigns, and lifecycle marketing. Together, these enable us to generate increased recurring revenues from our existing user base.
Upgrade and expand existing customers
We offer a range of paid subscription plans, from Plus, Professional, and Family for individuals to Standard, Advanced, and Enterprise for teams. We analyze usage patterns within our network and run hundreds of targeted marketing campaigns to encourage paying users to upgrade their plans. We prompt individual subscribers who collaborate with others on Dropbox to purchase our Standard or Advanced plans for a better team experience, and we also encourage existing Dropbox Business teams to purchase additional licenses or to upgrade to premium subscription plans. We also aim to offer additional products that expand our content collaboration capabilities, such as through our acquisitions of HelloSign in 2019 and DocSend in 2021.
Although we did not experience material impacts to our financial condition and results of operations during the year ended December 31, 2021, as a result of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen and may continue to see impacts to certain components of results of operations, as described below. However, the full extent of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our operational and financial performance will continue to depend on certain developments, including the duration and spread of the outbreak, new information about additional variants, the availability and efficacy of vaccine distributions, additional or renewed actions by government authorities and private businesses to contain the pandemic or respond to its impact and altered consumer behavior, the pace of reopening, impact on our customers and our sales cycles, impact on our business operations, impact on our customer, employee or industry events, and effect on our vendors, all of which are uncertain and cannot be predicted. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has created economic uncertainty, including disruptions of the supply chain globally and labor shortages, which may adversely impact us directly or indirectly as a result of the effects on our customers and vendors. Accordingly, the full extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic may impact our business, financial condition or results of operations remains uncertain, but may include, without limitation, impacts to our paying user growth as well as disruptions to our business operations as a result of travel restrictions, shutdown of workplaces and potential impacts to our vendors.
Additionally, our results of operations and cash flows are subject to fluctuations due to changes in foreign currency exchange rates relative to U.S. dollars, our reporting currency, as well as changes in interest rates. Volatile market conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic has, at times, and may in the future negatively impact our results of operations and cash flows, due to (i) a weakening of foreign currencies relative to the U.S. dollar, which may cause our revenues to decline relative to our costs, and (ii) government-initiated reductions in interest rates or maintaining low interest rates, which may reduce our interest income. Conversely, we have seen and may continue to see cost savings from the shift to remote work for all of our employees in areas including events, travel, utilities, and other benefits. We may continue to experience certain of these cost savings beyond the resolution of the COVID-19 pandemic as we shift to our Virtual First work model, as described below. Due to our subscription-based business model, the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic may not be fully reflected in our results of operations until future periods, if at all.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have led us to reimagine the way we work, resulting in our announcement in October 2020 of our shift to a Virtual First work model pursuant to which remote work has become the primary experience for all of our employees. As a result, we expect that our workforce will continue becoming more distributed over time, although we will continue to offer our employees opportunities for in-person collaboration in all locations we currently have offices, either through our existing real-estate, or new on-demand, flexible spaces, which are known as "Dropbox Studios". Consistent with this strategy, we have retained a portion of our office space while the remainder will be subleased. In the fourth quarter of 2021, we executed a partial termination of our headquarters head lease and the related sublease for the space. See Note 9, "Leases" for additional information. We recorded impairment charges of $31.3 million during the year ended December 31, 2021 related to the continued adoption of Virtual First, including impairment related to real estate assets acquired as part of our acquisition of DocSend. We recorded an impairment charge of $398.2 million in the year ended December 31, 2020. See Note 9, "Leases" for additional information. We may incur additional charges depending on the continued recovery of the global real estate market. In addition to generating sublease income, we expect that as a result of our shift to Virtual First we will continue to see certain savings that we experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in areas, including reductions in facilities related costs and depreciation expense due to the impairment charges related to the continued adoption of Virtual First.
Reduction in Force
On January 13, 2021, we announced a reduction of our global workforce by approximately 11% to streamline our team structure in support of our business priorities. As a result, during the year ended December 31, 2021, we incurred $14.3 million of expenses related to severance, benefits, and other related items. We do not expect to incur additional expenses of any significance related to our reduction in force in future periods.
Key Business Metrics
We review a number of operating and financial metrics, including the following key metrics to evaluate our business, measure our performance, identify trends affecting our business, formulate business plans, and make strategic decisions.
Total annual recurring revenue
We primarily focus on total annual recurring revenue (“Total ARR”) as the key indicator of the trajectory of our business performance. Total ARR represents the amount of revenue that we expect to recur annually, enables measurement of the progress of our business initiatives, and serves as an indicator of future growth. In addition, Total ARR is less subject to variations in short-term trends that may not appropriately reflect the health of our business, however the changes in ARR throughout the year could be subject to seasonality. Total ARR is a performance metric and should be viewed independently of revenue and deferred revenue, and is not intended to be a substitute for, or combined with, any of these items.
Total ARR consists of contributions from all of our revenue streams, including subscriptions and add-ons. We calculate Total ARR as the number of users who have active paid licenses for access to our platform as of the end of the period, multiplied by their annualized subscription price to our platform. We include ARR related to acquired companies in our total ARR in the period of the acquisition. We adjust the exchange rates used to calculate Total ARR on an annual basis at the beginning of each fiscal year.
We experienced an increase in ARR during the year ended December 31, 2021, as compared to the year ended December 31, 2020. The increase in ARR was primarily driven by an increase in paying users across our product portfolio, as well as an increased mix of sales going to our higher-priced subscription plans. In addition, we acquired DocSend in the first quarter of 2021, resulting in a benefit to Total ARR.
The below tables set forth our Total ARR using the exchange rates set at the beginning of each year, as well as on a constant currency basis relative to the exchange rates used in 2021.
|As of December 31,|
|Total ARR ||$||2,261 ||$||2,022 |
|As of December 31,|
|Total ARR ||$||2,261 ||$||2,052 |
Revaluing our ending Total ARR for fiscal 2021 using exchange rates set at the beginning of fiscal 2022, Total ARR at the end of fiscal 2021 would be $2,250 million.
We define paying users as the number of users who have active paid licenses for access to our platform as of the end of the period. One person would count as multiple paying users if the person had more than one active license. For example, a 50-person Dropbox Business team would count as 50 paying users, and an individual Dropbox Plus user would count as one paying user. If that individual Dropbox Plus user was also part of the 50-person Dropbox Business team, we would count the individual as two paying users.
We have experienced growth in the number of paying users across our products, with the majority of paying users for the periods presented coming from our self-serve channels.
We define DocSend paying users as the number of users who have active paid licenses for access to our platform as of the end of the period. DocSend users have been included as paying users since our acquisition of DocSend in 2021.
HelloSign has several product lines and the pricing and revenue generated from each product line varies, with some product lines priced based on the number of licenses purchased (similar to Dropbox plans), while others are priced based on a customer’s transaction volume. For purposes of HelloSign results, we include as paying users either (i) the number of users who have active paid licenses for access to the HelloSign platform as of the period end for those products that are priced based on the number of licenses purchased (which is the same method we use to evaluate existing Dropbox plans) or (ii) the number of customers for those products that are priced based on transaction volumes.
The below table sets forth the number of paying users as of December 31, 2021 and 2020:
| ||As of December 31,|
| ||(In millions)|
|Paying users||16.79 ||15.48 |
Average revenue per paying user
We define average revenue per paying user, or ARPU, as our revenue for the period presented divided by the average paying users during the same period. For interim periods, we use annualized revenue, which is calculated by dividing the revenue for the particular period by the number of days in that period and multiplying this value by 365 days. Average paying users are calculated based on adding the number of paying users as of the beginning of the period to the number of paying users as of the end of the period, and then dividing by two.
We experienced an increase in our average revenue per paying user for the year ended December 31, 2021, compared to the year ended December 31, 2020 primarily due to an increased mix of sales toward our higher-priced subscription plans and the acquisition of DocSend, as well as favorable foreign exchange rates across multiple currencies.
The below table sets forth our ARPU for the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020:
| ||Year ended December 31,|
|ARPU||$||133.73 ||$||128.50 |
Non-GAAP Financial Measure
In addition to our results determined in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, we believe that free cash flow, or FCF, a non-GAAP financial measure, is useful in evaluating our liquidity.
Free cash flow
We define FCF as GAAP net cash provided by operating activities less capital expenditures. We believe that FCF is a liquidity measure and that it provides useful information regarding cash provided by operating activities and cash used for investments in property and equipment required to maintain and grow our business. FCF is presented for supplemental informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for financial information presented in accordance with GAAP. FCF has limitations as an analytical tool, and it should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for analysis of other GAAP financial measures, such as net cash provided by operating activities. Some of the limitations of FCF are that FCF does not reflect our future contractual commitments, excludes investments made to acquire assets under finance leases, includes capital expenditures, and may be calculated differently by other companies in our industry, limiting its usefulness as a comparative measure.
Our FCF increased for the year ended December 31, 2021, compared to the year ended December 31, 2020, primarily due to an increase in cash provided by operating activities, which was driven by increased subscription sales, as a majority of our paying users are invoiced in advance, and a decrease in capital expenditures as a result of decreased spend on office build-outs.
We expect our FCF to generally increase in future periods as we increase subscription sales and reduce our capital expenditures as we shift to a Virtual First environment. Although we expect to continue to purchase infrastructure equipment to support our user base, we anticipate that our capital expenditures related to building out our office spaces will continue to decline in future periods. The timing of our operating expenses as described below, may result in FCF to vary from period to period as a percentage of revenue.
The following is a reconciliation of FCF to the most comparable GAAP measure, net cash provided by operating activities:
| ||Year ended December 31,|
| ||(In millions)|
|Net cash provided by operating activities||$||729.8 ||$||570.8 |
|Free cash flow||$||707.7 ||$||490.7 |
Components of Our Results of Operations
We generate revenue from sales of subscriptions to our platform.
Revenue is recognized ratably over the related contractual term generally beginning on the date that our platform is made available to a customer. Our subscription agreements typically have monthly or annual contractual terms, although a small percentage have multi-year contractual terms. Our agreements are generally non-cancelable. We typically bill in advance for monthly contracts and annually in advance for contracts with terms of one year or longer. Amounts that have been billed are initially recorded as deferred revenue until the revenue is recognized.
Our revenue is driven primarily by conversions and upsells to our paid plans. We also generate revenue from transaction-based products and fees from the referral of users to our partners. We generate over 90% of our revenue from self-serve channels. No customer represented more than 1% of our revenue in the periods presented.
Cost of revenue and gross margin
Cost of revenue. Our cost of revenue consists primarily of expenses associated with the storage, delivery, and distribution of our platform for both paying users and free users. These costs, which we refer to as infrastructure costs, include depreciation of our servers located in co-location facilities that we lease and operate, rent and facilities expense for those datacenters, network and bandwidth costs, support and maintenance costs for our infrastructure equipment, and payments to third-party datacenter service providers. Cost of revenue also includes costs, such as salaries, bonuses, employer payroll taxes and benefits, travel-related expenses, and stock-based compensation, which we refer to as employee-related costs, for employees whose primary responsibilities relate to supporting our infrastructure and delivering user support. Other non-employee costs included in cost of revenue include credit card fees related to processing customer transactions, and allocated overhead, such as facilities, including rent, utilities, depreciation on leasehold improvements and other equipment shared by all departments, and shared information technology costs. In addition, cost of revenue includes amortization of developed technologies, professional fees related to user support initiatives, and property taxes related to the datacenters.
We plan to continue increasing the capacity and enhancing the capability and reliability of our infrastructure to support user growth and increased use of our platform. We expect that cost of revenue will increase in absolute dollars in future periods.
Gross margin. Gross margin is gross profit expressed as a percentage of revenue. Our gross margin may fluctuate from period to period based on the timing of additional capital expenditures and the related depreciation expense, or other increases in our infrastructure costs, as well as revenue fluctuations. We generally expect our gross margin to remain relatively constant in both the near term and the long term.
Research and development. Our research and development expenses consist primarily of employee-related costs for our engineering, product, and design teams, compensation expenses related to key personnel from acquisitions and allocated overhead. These groups are responsible for the design, development, testing, delivery of new technologies and features, and support of our self-serve platform. We continue to focus our product development efforts on adding new features and enhancing the functionality and ease of use of our offerings. Additionally, research and development expenses include internal development-related third-party hosting fees. We have expensed almost all of our research and development costs as they were incurred.
We plan to continue hiring employees for our engineering, product, and design teams to support our research and development efforts. We expect that research and development costs will increase in absolute dollars in future periods and fluctuate from period to period as a percentage of revenue.
Sales and marketing. Our sales and marketing expenses relate to both self-serve and outbound sales activities, and consist primarily of employee-related costs, brand marketing costs, lead generation costs, sponsorships and allocated overhead. Sales commissions earned by our outbound sales team and the related payroll taxes, as well as commissions earned by third-party resellers that we consider to be incremental and recoverable costs of obtaining a contract with a customer, are deferred and are typically amortized over an estimated period of benefit of five years. Additionally, sales and marketing expenses include non-employee costs related to app store fees, fees payable to third-party sales representatives and amortization of acquired customer relationships.
We plan to continue to invest in sales and marketing to grow our user base and increase our brand awareness, including marketing efforts to continue to drive our self-serve business model. We expect that sales and marketing expenses will generally increase in absolute dollars in future periods and fluctuate from period to period as a percentage of revenue. The trend and timing of sales and marketing expenses will depend in part on the timing of marketing campaigns.
General and administrative. Our general and administrative expenses consist primarily of employee-related costs for our legal, finance, human resources, and other administrative teams, as well as certain executives. In addition, general and administrative expenses include allocated overhead, outside legal, accounting and other professional fees, and non-income-based taxes.
We expect to incur additional general and administrative expenses to support the growth of the Company. General and administrative expenses include the recognition of stock-based compensation expense related to the grant of restricted stock
made to our co-founder. We expect that general and administrative expenses will fluctuate in absolute dollars in future periods and will generally decrease as a percentage of revenue.
Interest income (expense), net
Interest income (expense), net consists primarily of interest income earned on our money market funds classified as cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments, partially offset by interest expense related to our finance lease obligations for infrastructure and amortization of debt issuance costs.
Other income, net
Other income, net consists of other non-operating gains or losses, including those related to equity investments, disposal of assets, lease arrangements, which include sublease income, foreign currency transaction gains and losses, and realized gains and losses related to our short-term investments.
Benefit from (provision for) income taxes
Provision for income taxes consists primarily of U.S. federal and state income taxes and income taxes in certain foreign jurisdictions in which we conduct business. For the periods presented, the difference between the U.S. statutory rate and our effective tax rate is primarily due to changes to the valuation allowance on deferred tax assets. Our effective tax rate is also impacted by earnings realized in foreign jurisdictions with statutory tax rates lower than the federal statutory tax rate. We maintain a full valuation allowance on our net deferred tax assets for federal and state as we have concluded that it is not more likely than not that the deferred assets will be realized.
Results of Operations
The following tables set forth our results of operations for the periods presented and as a percentage of our total revenue for those periods:
| ||Year ended December 31,|
| ||(In millions)|
|Revenue||$||2,157.9 ||$||1,913.9 |
Cost of revenue(1)
|444.2 ||414.6 |
|Gross profit||1,713.7 ||1,499.3 |
|Research and development||755.9 ||727.5 |
|Sales and marketing||427.5 ||422.8 |
|General and administrative||224.6 ||227.8 |
Impairment related to real estate assets(2)
|31.3 ||398.2 |
|Total operating expenses||1,439.3 ||1,776.3 |
|Income (loss) from operations||274.4 ||(277.0)|
|Interest (expense) income, net||(5.2)||1.7 |
|Other income, net||30.1 ||25.1 |
|Income (loss) before income taxes||299.3 ||(250.2)|
Benefit from (provision for) income taxes(3)
|Net income (loss)||$||335.8 ||$||(256.3)|
(1)Includes stock-based compensation as follows:
| ||Year ended December 31,|
| ||(In millions)|
|Cost of revenue||$||23.2 ||$||17.1 |
|Research and development||190.1 ||174.1 |
|Sales and marketing||25.0 ||33.7 |
General and administrative(4)
|48.8 ||36.6 |
|Total stock-based compensation||$||287.1 ||$||261.5 |
(2)Includes impairment charges related to real estate assets as a result of our decision to shift to a Virtual First work model. See Note 9 "Leases" for further information.
(3)Fourth quarter and full-year 2021 net income was impacted by a $38.1 million one-time income tax benefit from the release of a valuation allowance on our Irish deferred tax assets.
(4)On March 19, 2020, one of our co-founders resigned as a member of the board and as an officer of the Company, resulting in the reversal of $23.8 million in stock-based compensation expense. Of the total amount reversed, $21.5 million related to expense recognized prior to December 31, 2019. See Note 12 "Stockholders' (Deficit) Equity" for further information.
The following table sets forth our results of operations for each of the periods presented as a percentage of revenue:
| ||Year ended December 31,|
|As a percentage of revenue|
|Revenue||100 ||%||100 ||%|
Cost of revenue
|21 ||22 |
|Gross profit||79 ||78 |
|Research and development||35 ||38 |
|Sales and marketing||20 ||22 |
|General and administrative||10 ||12 |
|Impairment related to real estate assets||1 ||21 |
|Total operating expenses||68 ||93 |
|Income (loss) from operations||13 ||(14)|
|Interest income, net||— ||— |
|Other income, net||1 ||1 |
|Income (loss) before income taxes||14 ||(13)|
|Benefit from (provision for) income taxes||2 ||— |
|Net income (loss)||16 ||%||(13)||%|
Comparison of the year ended December 31, 2021 and 2020
| ||Year ended|
| || |
| ||2021||2020||$ Change||% Change|
| ||(In millions)|| || |
|Revenue||$||2,157.9 ||$||1,913.9 ||$||244.0 ||13 ||%|
Revenue increased $244.0 million or 13% during the year ended December 31, 2021, as compared to the year ended December 31, 2020. The increase in revenue was driven primarily by an increase in paying users, an increased mix of sales towards our higher-priced subscription plans and favorable foreign exchange rates across multiple currencies.
Cost of revenue, gross profit, and gross margin
| ||Year ended|
| || |
| ||2021||2020||$ Change||% Change|
| ||(In millions)|| || |
|Cost of revenue||$||444.2 ||$||414.6 ||$||29.6 ||7 ||%|
|Gross profit||1,713.7 ||1,499.3 ||214.4 ||14 ||%|
|Gross margin||79 ||%||78 ||%|
Cost of revenue increased $29.6 million or 7% during the year ended December 31, 2021, as compared to the year ended December 31, 2020, primarily due to increases of $14.4 million in infrastructure costs due to an increase in depreciation expense, $8.1 million in credit card transaction fees due to higher sales and $6.3 million in employee-related costs. These increases were offset by a decrease of $3.4 million in allocated overhead, which includes facilities-related costs for our corporate headquarters.
Our gross margin increased from 78% during the year ended December 31, 2020 to 79% during the year ended December 31, 2021, primarily due to a 13% increase in revenue during the period, which was offset by a lower percentage increase in our cost of revenue described above.
Research and development
| ||Year ended|
| || |
| ||2021||2020||$ Change||% Change|
| ||(In millions)|| || |
|Research and development||$||755.9 ||$||727.5 ||$||28.4 ||4 ||%|
Research and development expenses increased $28.4 million or 4% during the year ended December 31, 2021, as compared to the year ended December 31, 2020, primarily due to an increase of $45.4 million in employee-related costs. This increase was offset by a decrease of $20.8 million in allocated overhead, which includes facilities-related costs for our corporate headquarters.
Sales and marketing
| ||Year ended|
| || |
| ||2021||2020||$ Change||% Change|
| ||(In millions)|| || |
|Sales and marketing||$||427.5 ||$||422.8 ||$||4.7 ||1 ||%|
Sales and marketing expenses increased $4.7 million or 1% during the year ended December 31, 2021, as compared to the year ended December 31, 2020, primarily due to $33.7 million related to brand and other marketing related expenses primarily due to our marketing campaigns during the second half of 2021, $6.9 million in app store fees due to increased sales, and $1.5 million in amortization of intangible assets due to our acquisition of DocSend. These increases were offset by decreases of $26.2 million in allocated overhead, which includes facilities-related costs for our corporate headquarters and $12.0 million in employee-related costs driven by a reduction in headcount including the impact of our reduction in force in the first quarter of 2021.
General and administrative
| ||Year ended|
| || |
| ||2021||2020||$ Change||% Change|
| ||(In millions)|| || |
|General and administrative||$||224.6 ||$||227.8 ||$||(3.2)||(1)||%|
General and administrative expense decreased $3.2 million or 1% during the year ended December 31, 2021, as compared to the year ended December 31, 2020, primarily due to decreases of $16.4 million in allocated overhead, which includes facilities-related costs for our corporate headquarters, $2.3 million in non-income-based taxes and $1.7 million in legal fees. These decreases were offset by increases of $15.3 million due to employee-related costs, including $12.2 million in stock-based compensation driven by the resignation of one of the co-founders and the forfeiture of his Co-Founder Grant in the first quarter of 2020 and $1.3 million in software license subscriptions.
Impairment related to real estate assets
| ||Year ended|
| || |
| ||2021||2020||$ Change||% Change|
| ||(In millions)|| || |
Impairment related to real estate assets
|$||31.3 ||$||398.2 ||$||(366.9)||(92)||%|
Impairment related to real estate assets was $31.3 million during the year ended December 31, 2021 as we continued to evaluate the recoverability of our real estate assets as a result of our continued adoption of our Virtual First strategy. Adjustments to market participant assumptions, primarily expected downtime prior to the commencement of future subleases, resulted in the additional impairment losses, as well as impairment related to real estate assets acquired as part of the acquisition of DocSend in the first quarter of 2021.
Interest income, net
Interest income, net decreased $6.9 million during the year ended December 31, 2021, as compared to the year ended December 31, 2020, primarily due to a decrease in interest income from our money market funds and short-term investments as a result of government-initiated interest rate reductions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and an increase in interest expense due to the amortization of debt issuance costs incurred as part of our convertible debt offering during the three months ended March 31, 2021.
Other income, net
Other income, net increased $5.0 million during the year ended December 31, 2021, as compared to the year ended December 31, 2020, primarily due to a $13.6 million gain related to the partial termination of our headquarters head lease and $14.1 million in gains related to the disposal of infrastructure assets. These increases were offset by $17.5 million in gains related to the sale of an equity investment during the year ended December 31, 2020 and decreases of $4.7 million in foreign currency transaction gains.
Benefit from (provision for) income taxes
Benefit from income taxes increased by $42.6 million during the year ended December 31, 2021 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2020, primarily due to tax benefits from the DocSend acquisition and the release of a valuation allowance on Irish deferred tax assets during the year ended December 31, 2021.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
As of December 31, 2021, we had cash and cash equivalents of $533.0 million and short-term investments of $1,185.1 million, which were held for working capital purposes. Our cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments consist primarily of cash, money market funds, corporate notes and obligations, U.S. Treasury securities, certificates of deposit, asset-backed securities, commercial paper, foreign government securities, U.S. agency obligations, supranational securities, and municipal
securities. As of December 31, 2021, we had $201.4 million of our cash and cash equivalents held by our foreign subsidiaries. We do not expect to incur material taxes in the event we repatriate any of these amounts.
Since our inception, we have financed our operations primarily through cash generated from our operations, the issuance of the Notes and equity issuances, and finance leases to finance infrastructure-related assets in co-location facilities that we directly lease and operate. We enter into finance leases in part to better match the timing of payments for infrastructure-related assets with that of cash received from our paying users. In our business model, some of our registered users convert to paying users over time, and consequently there is a lag between initial investment in infrastructure assets and cash received from some of our users.
In February 2021, we issued approximately $1.4 billion in aggregate principal amount of convertible senior notes, comprised of $695.8 million in aggregate principal amount of 2026 Notes and $693.3 million in aggregate principal amount of 2028 Notes. The net proceeds from the issuance of the 2026 Notes and 2028 Notes were $684.8 million, net of debt issuance costs, and $682.3 million, net of debt issuance costs, respectively. The 2026 Notes mature on March 1, 2026 and the 2028 Notes mature on March 1, 2028. The Notes of each series will not bear regular interest and the principal will not accrete. The Notes of each series may bear special interest as the remedy relating to the Company’s failure to comply with certain of its reporting obligations. These Notes can be converted or repurchased prior to maturity if certain conditions are met.
Our principal uses of cash in recent periods have been funding our operations, repurchases of our Class A common stock, purchases of short-term investments, the satisfaction of tax withholdings in connection with the settlement of restricted stock units and awards, making principal payments on our finance lease obligations, and capital expenditures. In February 2020, our Board of Directors approved a stock repurchase program for the repurchase of up to $600 million of the outstanding shares of our Class A common stock. In February 2021, our Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of up to an additional $1 billion of the outstanding shares of our Class A common stock. In February 2022, our Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of up to an additional $1.2 billion of the outstanding shares of our Class A common stock. Share repurchases will be made from time to time in private transactions or open market purchases as permitted by securities laws and other legal requirements and will be subject to a review of the circumstances in place at that time, including prevailing market prices. The program does not obligate us to repurchase any specific number of shares and has no specified time limit; it may be discontinued at any time. During the year ended December 31, 2021, we repurchased and subsequently retired 41.1 million shares of our Class A common stock for an aggregate amount of $1,058.6 million. This includes $200.0 million used to repurchase 8.6 million shares of our Class A common stock in conjunction with the issuance of the Notes, which was outside of our stock repurchase program. The pace of our share repurchases may vary due to various circumstances, including market conditions and our stock price.
In April 2017, we entered into a $600.0 million credit facility with a syndicate of financial institutions, which was subsequently amended in February 2018 and February 2021. Pursuant to the terms of the revolving credit facility, we may issue letters of credit under the revolving credit facility, which reduce the total amount available for borrowing under such facility. The revolving credit facility terminates on April 4, 2022. In February 2018, we amended our revolving credit facility to, among other things, permit us to make certain investments, enter into an unsecured standby letter of credit facility, and increase our standby letter of credit sublimit to $187.5 million. We also increased our borrowing capacity under the revolving credit facility from $600.0 million to $725.0 million. In February 2021, we amended our revolving credit facility to decrease our borrowing capacity from $725.0 million to $500.0 million. We may from time to time request increases in the borrowing capacity under the revolving credit facility of up to $250.0 million, provided no event of default has occurred or is continuing or would result from such increase.
Interest on borrowings under the revolving credit facility accrues at a variable rate tied to SOFR, the prime rate, or the federal funds effective rate at our election. Interest is payable quarterly in arrears. Pursuant to the terms of the revolving credit facility, we are required to pay an annual commitment fee that accrues at a rate of 0.20% per annum on the unused portion of the borrowing commitments under the revolving credit facility. In addition, we are required to pay a fee in connection with letters of credit issued under the revolving credit facility that accrues at a rate of 1.375% per annum on the amount of such letters of credit outstanding. There is an additional fronting fee of 0.125% per annum multiplied by the average aggregate daily maximum amount available under all letters of credit.
The revolving credit facility contains customary conditions to borrowing, events of default, and covenants, including covenants that restrict our ability to incur indebtedness, grant liens, make distributions to our holders or our subsidiaries’ equity interests, make investments, or engage in transactions with our affiliates. In addition, the revolving credit facility contains financial covenants, including a consolidated leverage ratio incurrence covenant and a minimum liquidity balance. We were in compliance with all covenants under the revolving credit facility as of as of December 31, 2021.
As of December 31, 2021, we had no amounts outstanding under the revolving credit facility and an aggregate of $52.2 million in letters of credit issued under the revolving credit facility. Our total available borrowing capacity under the revolving credit facility was $447.8 million as of December 31, 2021.
We believe our existing cash and cash equivalents, together with our short-term investments, cash provided by operations and amounts available under the revolving credit facility, will be sufficient to meet our needs for the foreseeable future. In addition to the convertible notes discussed above, as of December 31, 2021, we have cash commitments due to additional known contractual obligations.
The following table presents cash commitments due to known contractual obligations as of December 31, 2021:
|1 - 3 years||3 - 5 years||More than|
Operating lease commitments(1)
|$||931.6 ||$||116.2 ||$||187.4 ||$||146.8 ||$||481.2 |
Finance lease commitments(2)
|298.9 ||127.2 ||151.2 ||20.5 ||— |
|111.5 ||47.9 ||45.3 ||0.7 ||17.6 |
|Total contractual obligations||$||1,342.0 ||$||291.3 ||$||383.9 ||$||168.0 ||$||498.8 |
(1)Consists of future non-cancelable minimum rental payments under operating leases for our offices and data centers, excluding rent payments from our sub-tenants and variable operating expenses with terms of 14 years or less. As of December 31, 2021, we are entitled to non-cancelable rent payments from our sub-tenants of $76.3 million, which will be collected over the next 9 years.
(2)Consists of future non-cancelable minimum rental payments under finance leases primarily for our infrastructure with terms of 4 years or less.
(3)Consists of commitments to third-party vendors for services related to our infrastructure, infrastructure warranty contracts, and asset retirement obligations for office modifications with terms of 14 years or less.
Our future capital requirements will depend on many factors including our revenue growth rate, subscription renewal activity, billing frequency, the timing and extent of spending to support further infrastructure development and research and development efforts, the timing and extent of additional capital expenditures to invest in collaboration spaces, our ability to sublease space at office locations where we have unused spaces, the satisfaction of tax withholding obligations for the release of restricted stock units and awards, the expansion of sales and marketing and international operation activities, the introduction of new product capabilities and enhancement of our platform, the continuing market acceptance of our platform, and the volume and timing of our share repurchases. We have and may in the future enter into arrangements to acquire or invest in complementary businesses, services, and technologies, including intellectual property rights. We may be required to seek additional equity or debt financing. In the event that additional financing is required from outside sources, we may not be able to raise it on terms acceptable to us or at all. If we are unable to raise additional capital when desired, our business, results of operations, and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.
Our cash flow activities were as follows for the periods presented:
| ||Year ended December 31,|
| ||(In millions)|
|Net cash provided by operating activities||$||729.8 ||$||570.8 |
|Net cash used in investing activities||(524.8)||(233.6)|
|Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities||16.2 ||(577.7)|
|Effect of exchange rate changes on cash and cash equivalents||(3.1)||4.1 |
|Net (decrease) increase in cash and cash equivalents||$||218.1 ||$||(236.4)|
Our largest source of operating cash is cash collections from our paying users for subscriptions to our platform. Our primary uses of cash from operating activities are for employee-related expenditures, infrastructure-related costs, and marketing expenses. Net cash provided by operating activities is impacted by our net income adjusted for certain non-cash items, including depreciation and amortization expenses, stock-based compensation, and impairment related to real estate assets, as well as the effect of changes in operating assets and liabilities.
For the year ended December 31, 2021, net cash provided by operating activities was $729.8 million, which primarily consisted of our net income of $335.8 million, adjusted for stock-based compensation expense of $287.1 million, depreciation and amortization expenses of $151.4 million, impairment related to real estate assets of $31.3 million, and net cash outflow of $93.9 million from operating assets and liabilities. The outflow from operating assets and liabilities was primarily due to the payment of our corporate bonus, key employee holdback payments related to the acquisition of HelloSign, and payment for partial termination of the headquarters head lease.
Net cash used in investing activities is primarily impacted by purchases of short-term investments, purchases of property and equipment to make improvements or modifications to existing and new office spaces, and for purchasing infrastructure equipment in co-location facilities that we directly lease and operate.
For the year ended December 31, 2021, net cash used in investing activities was $524.8 million, which primarily related to $396.1 million in net investment outflows, driven by the purchases of short-term investments, net of sales and maturities and $140.0 million related to cash paid for acquisitions. Additionally, cash paid for capital expenditures during the period was $22.1 million related to our office and datacenter build-outs.
Net cash used in financing activities is primarily impacted by cash used for repurchases of common stock, tax withholding obligations for the release of RSUs and RSAs, and principal payments on finance lease obligations for our infrastructure equipment. Additionally, in connection with the issuance of convertible senior notes, proceeds from the issuance of convertible notes, proceeds from the issuance of warrants, purchases of convertible senior note hedges, and debt issuance costs impacted net cash used in financing activities.
For the year ended December 31, 2021, net cash provided by financing activities was $16.2 million, which primarily consisted of $1,303.0 million in net proceeds from the 2026 Notes and 2028 Notes, offset by offering costs, and the concurrent Note Hedges and Warrants transaction, $1,058.5 million for the repurchase of our common stock, $124.8 million for the satisfaction of tax withholding obligations for the release of restricted stock units and awards, and $110.4 million in principal payments on finance lease obligations.
Significant Impacts of Stock-Based Compensation
In December 2017, the Board of Directors approved a grant to the Company’s co-founders of restricted stock awards (“RSAs”) with respect to 14.7 million shares of Class A Common Stock in the aggregate (collectively, the “Co-Founder Grants”), of which 10.3 million RSAs were granted to Drew Houston, the Company’s co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, and 4.4 million RSAs were granted to Arash Ferdowsi, the Company’s co-founder and former director. These Co-Founder Grants have service-based, market-based, and performance-based vesting conditions. The Co-Founder Grants are excluded from Class A common stock issued and outstanding until the satisfaction of these vesting conditions. The Co-Founder Grants also provide the holders with certain stockholder rights, such as the right to vote the shares with the other holders of Class A common stock and a right to cumulative declared dividends.
In March 2020, one of the Company's co-founders, Mr. Ferdowsi, resigned as a member of the Board of Directors and as an officer of the Company. As of the date of Mr. Ferdowsi’s resignation, none of the Stock Price Targets had been met, resulting in the forfeiture of all of his 4.4 million RSAs. As he did not provide the requisite service associated with the Co-Founder Grants, the Company reversed all stock-based compensation expense that had been recognized from the grant date through March 19, 2020. See Note 12, "Stockholders' (Deficit) Equity" for further information.
The Co-Founder Grants are eligible to vest over the ten-year period following the date the Company’s shares of Class A common stock commenced trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market in connection with the Company’s IPO. The Co-Founder Grants comprise nine tranches that are eligible to vest based on the achievement of stock price goals, each of which are referred to as a Stock Price Target, measured over a consecutive thirty-day trading period during the Performance Period. The Performance Period began on January 1, 2019.
|Company Stock Price|
|Shares Eligible to Vest for|
During the first four years of the Performance Period, no more than 20% of the shares subject to each Co-Founder Grant would be eligible to vest in any calendar year. After the first four years, all shares are eligible to vest based on the achievement of the Stock Price Targets.
The Performance Vesting Condition for the Co-Founder Grants was satisfied on the date the Company’s shares of Class A common stock commenced trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market in connection with the Company’s IPO, which was March 23, 2018.
The Stock Price Target for Mr. Houston's first tranche of the Co-Founder Grant was achieved in the third quarter of 2021. As a result, the first tranche of Mr. Houston's Co-Founder Grant, or 2.1 million shares of Class A common stock, vested in the fourth quarter of 2021. The stock-based compensation expense for Mr. Houston's Co-Founder Grant is recognized utilizing the accelerated attribution method, and therefore no incremental stock-based compensation was recognized. From time to time, directors, officers, and employees of the Company enter into 10b5-1 plans. Mr. Houston adopted a 10b5-1 plan in June 2021, pursuant to which a portion of the shares issued upon achievement of the performance targets under his Co-Founder Award (the "vested shares") were sold to satisfy income taxes related to the vesting of the Co-Founder Award and, as the Company’s share price was below the share price established in Mr. Houston's 10b5-1 plan, the remainder of the vested shares were not sold. If the Company’s share price reaches or exceeds the share price established in Mr. Houston's 10b5-1 plan prior to the date on which the term of such 10b5-1 plan expires, the remainder of the vested shares will be sold.
Critical Accounting Estimates
Our consolidated financial statements and the related notes thereto included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, in the United States. The preparation of consolidated financial statements also requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenue, costs and expenses, and related disclosures. We base our estimates on historical experience and on various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances. Actual results could differ significantly from the estimates made by management. To the extent that there are differences between our estimates and actual results, our future financial statement presentation, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows will be affected.
While our significant accounting policies are more fully described in Note 1 “Description of the Business and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” to our Consolidated Financial Statements in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we believe that the accounting policies described below involve a greater degree of judgment and estimation uncertainty.
Accounting for business combinations requires us to make significant estimates and assumptions. We allocate the purchase consideration to the tangible and intangible assets acquired and liabilities assumed based on their estimated fair values, with the excess recorded to goodwill. Purchase consideration includes assets transferred, liabilities assumed, and/or equity interests issued by us, all of which are measured at their fair value as of the date of acquisition. Critical estimates in valuing certain intangible assets include, but are not limited to, future expected cash flows, expected asset lives, and discount rates. The amounts and useful lives assigned to acquisition-related intangible assets impact the amount and timing of future amortization expense.
During the measurement period, which is not to exceed one year from the acquisition date, we may record adjustments to the assets acquired and liabilities assumed, with the corresponding offset to goodwill. Upon the conclusion of the measurement period, any subsequent adjustments are recorded to earnings.
Impairment related to real estate assets
In accordance with ASC 360, Property, Plant, and Equipment (“ASC 360”), we evaluate our long-lived assets for impairment whenever events and circumstances indicate that the assets might be impaired. When the projected undiscounted cash flows estimated to be generated by those assets are less than their carrying amounts, the assets are adjusted to their estimated fair value and an impairment loss is recorded as a component of operating income.
In the fourth quarter of 2020, as a result of our Virtual First strategy, we reassessed our asset groupings and evaluated the recoverability of our right-of-use and related lease assets, including leasehold improvements, furniture and fixtures, and computer equipment, and determined that the carrying value of the respective assets groups was not fully recoverable. As a result, we utilized discounted cash flow models to estimate the fair value of the assets groups and calculated the corresponding impairment loss. This review required the application of significant judgment in determining market participant assumptions.
During the year ended December 31, 2021, we continued to evaluate the recoverability of our real estate assets and made adjustments to market participant assumptions, primarily expected downtime prior to the commencement of future subleases, and recorded additional impairment losses.
Deferred income tax balances reflect the effects of temporary differences between the financial reporting and tax bases of the Company’s assets and liabilities using enacted tax rates expected to apply when taxes are actually paid or recovered. In addition, deferred tax assets are recorded for net operating loss and credit carryforwards.
A valuation allowance is provided against deferred tax assets unless it is more likely than not that they will be realized based on all available positive and negative evidence. Such evidence, which requires management's judgment, includes, but is not limited to, recent cumulative earnings or losses, expectations of future taxable income by taxing jurisdiction, and the carry-forward periods available for the utilization of deferred tax assets. To the extent sufficient positive evidence becomes available, we may release all or a portion of our valuation allowance in one or more future periods. A release of the valuation allowance, if any, would result in the recognition of certain deferred tax assets and a material income tax benefit for the period in which such release is recorded. Refer to Note 14, “Income Taxes” to the Consolidated Financial Statements in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for more information.
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
See Note 1, “Description of the Business and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for recently adopted accounting pronouncements as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
ITEM 7A. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK
Interest rate risk
We had cash and cash equivalents of $533.0 million and short-term investments of $1,185.1 million as of December 31, 2021. We hold our cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments for working capital purposes. Our cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments consist primarily of cash, money market funds, corporate notes and obligations, U.S. Treasury securities, certificates of deposit, asset-backed securities, commercial paper, foreign government securities, U.S. agency obligations, supranational securities, and municipal securities. The primary objectives of our investment activities are the preservation of capital, the fulfillment of liquidity needs, and the control of cash and investments. We do not enter into investments for trading or speculative purposes. Due to the short-term nature of these instruments, we believe that we do not have any material exposure to changes in the fair value of our investment portfolio as a result of changes in interest rates. Decreases in interest rates, however, would reduce future interest income.
Any borrowings under the revolving credit facility bear interest at a variable rate tied to SOFR, the prime rate, or the federal funds effective rate. As of December 31, 2021, we had no amounts outstanding under the revolving credit facility. We do not have any other long-term debt or financial liabilities with floating interest rates that would subject us to interest rate fluctuations.
As of December 31, 2021, a hypothetical change in interest rates by 100 basis points would not have a significant impact on our cash and cash equivalents or the fair value of our investment portfolio.
Foreign currency exchange risk
Our results of operations and cash flows are subject to fluctuations due to changes in foreign currency exchange rates relative to U.S. dollars, our reporting currency.
Most of our revenue is generated in U.S. dollars, with the remainder generated in Euros, British pounds sterling, Australian dollars, Canadian dollars, and Japanese yen.
Our expenses are generally denominated in the currencies in which our operations are located, which are primarily the United States and, to a lesser extent, Europe and Asia. The functional currency of Dropbox International Unlimited, our international headquarters and largest international entity, is denominated in U.S. dollars. Our results of operations and cash flows are, therefore, subject to fluctuations due to changes in foreign currency exchange rates in ways that are unrelated to our operating performance.
As exchange rates may fluctuate significantly between periods, revenue and operating expenses, when converted into U.S. dollars, may also experience significant fluctuations between periods. Volatile market conditions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic have and may in the future result in significant changes in exchange rates, and in particular a weakening of foreign currencies relative to the U.S. dollar has and may in the future negatively affect our revenue expressed in U.S. dollars. Historically, a majority of our revenue and operating expenses have been denominated in U.S. dollars, Euros, and British pounds sterling. Although we are impacted by the exchange rate movements from a number of currencies relative to the U.S. dollar, our results of operations are particularly impacted by fluctuations in the U.S. dollar-Euro and U.S. dollar-British pounds sterling exchange rates. In the year ended December 31, 2021, 30% of our sales were denominated in currencies other than U.S. dollars. Our expenses, by contrast, are primarily denominated in U.S. dollars. As a result, any increase in the value of the U.S. dollar against these foreign currencies could cause our revenue to decline relative to our costs, thereby decreasing our margins.
We recorded $1.8 million losses and $2.9 million gains in net foreign currency transactions in the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively. A hypothetical 10% change in foreign currency rates would not have resulted in material gains or losses for the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020.
To date, we have not engaged in any hedging activities. As our international operations grow, we will continue to reassess our approach to managing risks relating to fluctuations in currency rates.
ITEM 8. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA
INDEX TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM
To the Stockholders and the Board of Directors of Dropbox, Inc.
Opinion on the Financial Statements
We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Dropbox, Inc. (the Company) as of December 31, 2021 and 2020, the related consolidated statements of operations, comprehensive income (loss), stockholders' (deficit) equity and cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2021, and the related notes (collectively referred to as the “consolidated financial statements”). In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company at December 31, 2021 and 2020, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2021, in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.
We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB), the Company's internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2021, based on criteria established in Internal Control-Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (2013 framework) and our report dated February 18, 2022 expressed an unqualified opinion thereon.
Basis for Opinion
These financial statements are the responsibility of the Company's management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the PCAOB and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.
We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.
Critical Audit Matters
The critical audit matters communicated below are matters arising from the current period audit of the financial statements that were communicated or required to be communicated to the audit committee and that: (1) relate to accounts or disclosures that are material to the financial statements and (2) involved our especially challenging, subjective or complex judgments. The communication of critical audit matters does not alter in any way our opinion on the consolidated financial statements, taken as a whole, and we are not, by communicating the critical audit matters below, providing separate opinions on the critical audit matters or on the accounts or disclosures to which they relate.
|Revenue from Contracts with Customers|
|Description of the Matter|
As described in Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company derives its revenue from subscription fees from customers for access to its platform, which it recognizes ratably over the related contractual term. The Company's revenue recognition process involves several applications responsible for the initiation, processing, and recording of transactions from the Company’s various sales channels, and the calculation of revenue in accordance with the Company’s accounting policy.
Auditing the Company's accounting for revenue from contracts with customers was challenging and complex due to the high volume of individually-low-monetary-value transactions, dependency on the effective design and operation of multiple applications, some of which are specifically designed for the Company’s business, and the use of multiple data sources in the revenue recognition process.
|How We Addressed the Matter in Our Audit|
We obtained an understanding, evaluated the design, and tested the operating effectiveness of internal controls over the Company’s accounting for revenue from contracts with customers. For example, with the assistance of IT professionals, we tested the controls over the initiation and billing of new and recurring subscriptions, the provisioning of customers, and the Company’s cash to billings reconciliation process. We also tested the controls related to the key application interfaces between the provisioning, billing, and accounting systems, which included controls related to access to the relevant applications and data and changes to the relevant systems and interfaces, as well as controls over the configuration of the relevant applications.
To test the Company’s accounting for revenue from contracts with customers, we performed substantive audit procedures that included, among others, testing on a sample basis the completeness and accuracy of the underlying data within the Company’s billing system, performing data analytics by extracting data from the system to evaluate the completeness and accuracy of recorded revenue and deferred revenue amounts, tracing a sample of sales transactions to source data, and testing a sample of cash to billings reconciliations.
Accounting for Acquisition of DocSend, Inc.
|Description of the Matter|
As disclosed in Note 5 to the consolidated financial statements, on March 22, 2021, the Company completed its acquisition of DocSend, Inc. for total consideration of $131.8M. The transaction was accounted for as a business combination in accordance with ASC 805.
Auditing the Company's accounting for its acquisition of DocSend, Inc. was complex due to the significant estimation required by management to determine the fair value of the acquired customer relationship ($8.1M) and developed technology ($11.5M) intangible assets. The Company applied the multi-period excess earnings method to value the customer relationship intangible asset and applied the relief from royalty method to value the developed technology intangible asset. These methods required the development of certain key assumptions, including discount rates, projected revenue growth rates, costs and expenses as a percentage of revenue, and customer attrition rates. These assumptions, taken together, have a significant effect on the estimated fair value of the acquired intangible assets, and could be impacted by future economic and market conditions.
|How We Addressed the Matter in Our Audit|
We obtained an understanding, evaluated the design, and tested the operating effectiveness of internal controls over the Company’s accounting for business combinations. For example, we tested the controls over the recognition and determination of the fair value of acquired intangible assets, including the development and review of the valuation models and underlying assumptions used to develop such estimates.
We reviewed historical results and performed inquiries to validate the completeness of the identified intangible assets. To test the fair value of the customer relationship and developed technology intangible assets, we performed substantive audit procedures that included, among others, involving our valuation specialists to assist with our evaluation of the Company’s selection of valuation methodologies, testing the significant assumptions used to develop the prospective financial information, and testing the completeness and accuracy of the underlying data supporting the significant assumptions and estimates. For example, we compared the significant assumptions to current industry, market and economic trends, and to the historical results of the acquired business. Specifically, when assessing the key assumptions, we focused on discount rates, projected revenue growth rates, costs and expenses as a percentage of revenue, and customer attrition rates.
/s/ Ernst & Young LLP
|We have served as the Company’s auditor since 2013.|
|San Francisco, California|
|February 18, 2022|
REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM
To the Stockholders and the Board of Directors of Dropbox, Inc.
Opinion on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting
We have audited Dropbox, Inc.’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2021, based on criteria established in Internal Control—Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (2013 framework) (the COSO criteria). In our opinion, Dropbox, Inc. (the Company) maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2021, based on the COSO criteria.
We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB), the consolidated balance sheets of the Company as of December 31, 2021 and 2020, the related consolidated statements of operations, comprehensive income (loss), stockholders’ (deficit) equity and cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2021, and the related notes and our report dated February 18, 2022 expressed an unqualified opinion thereon.
Basis for Opinion
The Company’s management is responsible for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting included in the accompanying Management’s Report on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s internal control over financial reporting based on our audit. We are a public accounting firm registered with the PCAOB and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.
We conducted our audit in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects.
Our audit included obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk, and performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. We believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for our opinion.
Definition and Limitations of Internal Control Over Financial Reporting
A company’s internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A company’s internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (1) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (2) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and (3) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.
Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.
/s/ Ernst & Young LLP
San Francisco, California
February 18, 2022
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(In millions, except for par value)
| ||As of December 31,|
|Cash and cash equivalents||$||533.0 ||$||314.9 |
|Short-term investments||1,185.1 ||806.4 |
|Trade and other receivables, net||49.6 ||43.4 |
|Prepaid expenses and other current assets||82.1 ||62.8 |
|Total current assets||1,849.8 ||1,227.5 |
|Property and equipment, net||322.0 ||338.7 |
|Operating lease right-of-use asset||413.9 ||470.5 |
|Intangible assets, net||53.6 ||33.5 |
|Goodwill||356.6 ||236.9 |
|Other assets||95.4 ||80.1 |
|Total assets||$||3,091.3 ||$||2,387.2 |
|Liabilities and stockholders’ (deficit) equity|
|Accounts payable||$||25.7 ||$||18.7 |
|Accrued and other current liabilities||140.8||156.7|
|Accrued compensation and benefits||139.1||113.6|
|Operating lease liability ||78.3 ||88.7 |
|Finance lease obligation ||120.4||99.6|
|Total current liabilities||1,175.8 ||1,087.8 |
|Operating lease liability, non-current||632.0 ||759.6 |
|Finance lease liability, non-current ||167.7||171.6|
|Convertible senior notes, net, non-current ||1,370.3||—|
|Other non-current liabilities||39.4||34.4|