pCloud: The Swiss-Bulgarian Dropbox Challenger Says It’s Now Profitable
The developed in Bulgarian cloud storage company pCloud says it had reached a break even and is already profitable. The startup should have achieved that with a team of under 40 people, tells us CEO Tunio Zafer, and an investment of $3M. The twisting point in the story is that the major competitor Dropbox announced per filling IPO prospectus last year that it may never be profitable despite its 11M paying customers and half a billion users.
Financial reports and statements of the registered in Switzerland pCloud are not available. “For now, we can only say we have reached profitability,” Zafer says.
Five years and 9M users
From its very early days on, pCloud relies on its speed, and security through encryption as USP. It’s CTO Anton Titov, is a well known and proven IT infrastructure expert in Bulgaria with a long story on the global stage. Among the cloud platform’s key features are that it acts more like an external hard drive that doesn’t leave any trails on the user device, but also the encryption during transfer which adds an additional layer of security. Files are also synced continuously between multiple devices.
The company also started to develop its brand for enterprise clients – pCloud business relatively early and even said the first and only $3M investment it received in 2015 was set to go to the business platform development. Currently, the company states it has 9M users and under 32 employees. In its first around two years of operations, the company managed to attract around 3M users.
We cannot find any information regarding the number of paying customers of the company. We know, however, that the startup provides 10GB free storage for end customers, and then charges up to €8 monthly for extra volume. The company also has premium life-time plans reaching €350. pCloud has partnered with Bulgarian telecom operator Vivacom a couple of years ago and offers additional service to all (around 3M) Vivacom’s mobile service clients.
The prominent competition
On the global cloud storage stage which is estimated to be around .. there’s a lot of prominent competition. The list includes, among others… Ready? Dropbox, IBM Corporation, VMware, Google, Oracle Corporation, Rackspace Hosting, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Corporation, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company, EMC Corporation, Red Hat. While Dropbox and Google might be the most familiar brands for end consumers, all mentioned players offer in one way or another cloud storage for enterprise clients.
Dropbox is probably the most comparable to pCloud company. According to its IPO prospectus last year, however, the company expected it may never reach profitability. As of 2018 Dropbox had 11M paying subscribers, that accounted for 90% of its $1.1B revenue, and 500M registered users on the service. For the company, it all looked well between 2015 and 2016 as it doubled its paying customers and revenue, and even got cash-flow positive. But it recorded a loss of $110M just a year after it had started investing in its product development.
“I’m glad to see that it’s still possible to build an alternative product with some differentiating features. pCloud will probably never be as big as Dropbox, but it is an interesting company to follow,” concludes TechCrunch senior contributor Romain Dillet. Among the most interesting features of pCloud are powerful multimedia features, excellent value subscription plans, tight security, and sharing capabilities, reviewers state.
Stay tuned as we’ve asked for a detailed conversation with pCloud on how they did the magic.