Dropbox opens UK outpost ahead of Tech City hackathon

US cloud storage giant Dropbox today announced that it is "doubling down" on the UK and opening an office in London, claiming that one in four UK internet users now use its service.

Dropbox enables users to share the files and put documents, photos, and other digital products into a central location and work on or share the items from any connected device.

The UK branch, based in Fitzrovia, just a stone's throw from main rival Box, will be headed up by Mark Van der Linden, where he led Google for Work in Benelux.

The UK office is the company's sixth geographical outpost, with others in the US, Japan, Ireland, Israel and Australia.

Dropbox said it will start with a "small team" in London but it refused to say exactly how many staff it will hire in the city. It was also unable to provide any images of its new UK office.

In a post on the company's blog, Johann Butting, who works in sales and operations for Dropbox in San Francisco, California, wrote: "We've hopped the pond! Dropbox has set up shop in London, one of the world's greatest technology hubs.

"We've had fantastic growth in the UK already -- one in four UK Internet users has a Dropbox account -- and it's one of our fastest-growing markets. On the business side, we estimate that 5 million UK companies will be using at least one cloud service by this time next year. In fact, the number of UK teams with Dropbox for Business doubled in the past year -- and we're proud to have industry leaders like Pipers Design and Hailo using Dropbox for Business to collaborate and boost productivity."

The San Francisco-headquartered company boasts 300 million users worldwide, with 120 million of those in Europe. It also has 100,000 paying business customers using Dropbox for Business, despite some critics arguing that it's a consumer product that lacks enterprise-grade security.

The firm, which has a $10 billion valuation (£660 billion) did not reveal how many business customers it has in the UK but it did say it is signing up more businesses in the UK than it is in the US, although this is possibly because it is already well established in the US where as it's only just starting to make inroads in the UK.

Shoreditch hackathon

To coincide with the office launch, Dropbox is hosting a hackathon in Shoreditch Studios, the heart of London's Tech City, this weekend. The company has invited 250 software developers to the event where it wants them to build products and services on top of the Dropbox API.

Butting said: "It's our first event of its kind in Europe, and we're thrilled about the overwhelming response we've received from the local developer community. With talent like the team that built the Marvel app in attendance, we can't wait to see what everyone will create.

"We look forward to meeting more users, companies, and developers in person this weekend, and in the months and years to come. If you'd like to help us do great things in London, give us a shout."

The following prizes will be awarded after the hackathon:

Overall Winner: best project! (£1000 cash + prizes!)

Dropbox Star: most creative use of a Dropbox API

London Local: best use of local APIs or emphasis on London

Best Design: most beautifully designed app

Cool Tech: best technical achievement


Sam Shead

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