Is Dropbox planning an email service?
Dropbox said on Friday that it has acquired Orchestra Inc., the company behind the popular Mailbox app for iOS. In fact, when visiting the Mailbox website, Dropbox has already slapped on its copyright date along the bottom and its contact information on the Contact page. That's not too shabby given Mailbox actually launched just weeks ago.
"Since launching last month, our service capacity has grown 2000x and we’re already delivering more than 60 million emails a day," said Mailbox developer Orchestra in a blog. "That’s mind-bending growth for only a few weeks, and we’re just getting started."
Teaming up with Dropbox means the service can be scaled up a lot faster. Mailbox can add support for more email providers and mobile devices, and load up the user with a host of new features. But the acquisition doesn't mean Mailbox will be assimilated into the Dropbox collective. Mailbox will still serve as a standalone app, but will now be backed by the Dropbox service.
"After spending time with Gentry, Scott, and the team, it became clear that their calling was the same as ours at Dropbox—to solve life’s hidden problems and reimagine the things we do every day," Dropbox said in a blog. "We all quickly realized that together we could save millions of people a lot of pain."
"Dropbox doesn’t replace your folders or your hard drive: it makes them better," the company said. "The same is true with Mailbox. It doesn’t replace your email: it makes it better."
As for additional details on how Mailbox and Dropbox will work together, or how much Dropbox paid in the Mailbox acquisition, all that is unknown at this point. "No one will tell us the price of the sale, but it's safe to say that Orchestra investors are very, very happy with it," adds Business Insider who spoke to one of the original Orchestra investors.
"The early data was super exciting and they've had a lot of interesting offers from people who wanted to invest in them, or present other strategic opportunities," said Saar Gur of Charles River Ventures. "As they spent more time with the Dropbox guys, there was a very strange and uncanny alignment of values. Those values of craftsmanship, ease of use, but [the Mailbox cofounders also admired] how Dropbox has built trust with customers through their ability to protect their most valuable data. Mailbox had a similar sensibility."
He goes on to explain that the Mailbox app caches and stores email, but there's no easy way to quickly scale to millions of email accounts using a 14-man crew. Sure, they could have raised money and invested in "world class" engineering to accommodate the growing user base, but Dropbox had already overcome similar hurdles during its growing pains.
Scott Cannon and Gentry Underwood raised $5.5 million in venture capital funding from Charles River Ventures and others to develop the email management app Mailbox. It's billed as a "completely redesigned inbox that makes email light, fast, and mobile-friendly." Users can swipe messages into an archive or trash, scan an entire conversation at once, snooze emails until later, and more.