Dropbox Acquires Stealth Messaging Startup Droptalk

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Dropbox has swallowed up another early stage startup, this one a stealthy company called Droptalk which was developing a tool that allowed you to share links privately with friends via a Chrome extension, to be followed by both iOS and Android applications. None of the products were publicly available, as the company had only just launched its browser add-on into a limited beta.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

What made the company appealing to Dropbox (besides, of course, the name!) was that in addition to its web sharing features, the tool also integrated with your cloud storage, so you could see during a conversation who was updating which files or adding files to a shared folder. Combined with a messaging-like interface and plans to take on mobile messaging with a cloud storage component, it’s easy to see why Droptalk may have had some appeal.

droptalk

Droptalk was founded around a year ago by a team of ex-Facebook and LinkedIn engineers who wanted to change the way people communicated with each other and got work done, the company explains in a blog post announcing their acquisition. The idea, like many others that have come before, was to attack the “work email” problem not by reinventing the inbox, but offering better tools for sharing and communication so you didn’t have to lean on email quite so much.

The founding team includes serial entrepreneurs Rakesh Mathur and Ash Bhardwaj and CTO Anand Prakash.

Mathur founded Webaroo and built its SMS-based social messaging platform to over 60 million users over 3 years. He also oversaw the exits of Junglee to Amazon and Snapstick to Rovi. Meanwhile, Bhardwaj brings years of experience, having helped grow Aricent into a $30 billion company, and along with Mathur was instrumental in JustChalo’s recent exit to OpenTable. Prakash also worked at Webaroo, and most recently, LinkedIn.

Rounding out the small team of five were Manveer Chawla, previously of Facebook, and Nirmesh Mehta. All are now joining Dropbox as a part of this deal, and Droptalk itself seems to be shutting down, as it’s no longer accepting beta signups. However, we understand that this deal may be more than just an acqui-hire – it could be that there’s some plan to actually integrate some of the technology Droptalk developed into Dropbox’s core product.

That would make sense given Dropbox’s prior interest in the companies developing tools for work-related communications. For example, earlier this year, it acquired Zulip, another pre-launch, stealth company developing a workplace chat solution. Like Droptalk, Zulip also allowed employees to communicate outside of email, and tapped into users’ online storage.

However, while Zulip had some small amount of seed investment, Droptalk, on the other hand, was fully bootstrapped.

Below, the full text of the company’s blog post announcing the deal:

Droptalk joins Dropbox!

We are thrilled to announce that today Droptalk will be joining Dropbox. About a year ago we set out to end the unnecessary friction around communication and collaboration by killing “the work email.” The world deserves a better way to do business and an integrated sharing product, which our team rapidly created is the answer.

Armed with bootstrap funding and a team of ex-Facebook and LinkedIn engineers we set out to change the way people not only messaged but how they actually got work done across all their devices. With Droptalk all your communications happened in the browser, tablet or phone, eliminating the need for emails. What’s more is anytime you updated your shared folders in the cloud, everyone else in the conversation could see the updated version and go directly to the document or link right in the very same thread.

As part of our transition to Dropbox, we are no longer accepting new beta signups. We would like to thank all the people that took part in our beta and gave us valuable input. We are grateful for your support and we will keep you updated as we join forces with Dropbox to make collaboration easier for everyone.

Our team will be joining Dropbox today. We are again thrilled that we have the opportunity to partner with Dropbox and work together to make life simpler for millions of people around the world. Go Dropbox!

Best,
Anand Prakash, Ash Bhardwaj, Rakesh Mathur, Manveer Chawla, Nirmesh Mehta