Where it's based: San Francisco
When it was founded: 2007
Why it's Fierce: Dropbox is quickly and quietly working to merge two disparate worlds: The desktop world and the mobile world. The company's cloud-based file storage and synch service allows users to save a document onto their desktop computer and access that exact same file from their smartphone--all without uploading, downloading or sideloading.
Dropbox works through a program users install onto their Windows, Mac or Linux computer--the program essentially creates a new desktop folder that users can put files into. That folder is linked to Dropbox's cloud-based servers, which automatically save everything users put into their Dropbox and make it available via the Web or to any other computer or iOS- or Android-powered smartphone linked to that user's account.
Perhaps most importantly, Dropbox's service has sparked a cottage industry of smartphone apps built to manipulate files in users' Dropbox--the company's website lists more than 100 apps designed to open and edit Dropbox files from a variety of locations, including iPhone and Android phones.
After less than three years, Dropbox--which comprises 50 employees and $7.2 million in venture funding from the likes of Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners, Y Combinator and others--now counts more than 25 million registered users who save around 200 million files daily. The company offers 2 GB of free storage, and charges a monthly fee for additional cloud space.
What's next: "We're never done making Dropbox simpler and more intuitive. We're also excited to create a more powerful platform so developers can build Dropbox into thousands of other mobile apps," said Will Stockwell, Dropbox's mobile team lead.