Mar 23, 2018 - Economy & Business

Dropbox valuation buzz is as much about timing as dollars

Dropbox raised $756 million in its IPO, pricing shares at $21. That's above its already-increased offering range, and indications are that it will open trading today much higher.

But most of the attention so far is on a fully-diluted IPO valuation ($9.23 billion) that falls a little short of Dropbox's last private-market valuation.

Both tweets have merit, but let's address Hunter's (since it's aimed at folks like me).

Yes, this will be a huge return for the Series A investors and a decent one for the Series B investors (using $21 as baseline). But beyond the numbers of Series C shares is that many LPs in Series A and B funds have been sitting on inflated paper valuations for more than four years (since general protocol is to mark to the most recent primary round). And those valuations have potentially impacted allocations, not to mention expectations. Moreover, many employees have had inflated expectations of their own (no matter what 409a valuation is tied to their shares).

Bottom line: The long-hold unicorn trend can have investment consequences beyond the calculator's +/- function.

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