Dropbox takes partner program international

Adam Nelson, head of channel sales and partnerships at Dropbox

Adam Nelson, head of channel sales and partnerships at Dropbox

Online storage and sharing giant Dropbox has expanded its partner program beyond the borders of the United States for the first time, opening the doors for partners in Candaa, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the European Union to resell its Dropbox for Business products.

The expansion comes almost a year after it first launched its partner program in the U.S. It was a launch that paid dividends for Dropbox. Although it does not break out its direct vs. channel sales numbers, the company now has some 750 active partners today ranging from local MSPs all the way up to alliance partners including Dell, said Adam Nelson, head of channel sales and partnerships at Dropbox.

“From day one, we’ve heard requests from companies all over the world to be able to sell Dropbox in their markets. We’ve had thousands of inbound requests from international IT solutions providers, covering 71 countries,” Nelson said. “There’s a lot of opportunity for channel partners internationally. Seventy per cent of our users are outside the U.S.”

The program centres around access to the company’s Dropbox for Business product. Launched in February 2013, Dropbox for Business takes the popular personal file-sharing tool and scales it to business levels, introducing what Nelson calls a “theoretically unlimited” storage cap of 1 TB for the first five users in an organization, with 200 GB for each additional user. The business product also adds additional security features over the personal edition, and a management console for both IT management and solution providers.

Somewhat uniquely for cloud services, the Dropbox program allows partners to retain customer control and to resell the service to customers, earning a discount of between 15 and 25 per cent depending on the partner’s level in the program. The discount remains the same from year one to any subsequent years customers stay in the program, making it a solid recurring revenue opportunity. Nelson said partners have also found it an easy system to support.

“There’s very little training and very little support required because people already know how to use Dropbox,” Nelson said. “It’s very scalable, and very high-margin for partners.”

Entry into the program requires a partner put two staff through the company’s training, which Nelson described as “as minimal as possible.” Partners are then able to buy the service on behalf of customers, provision and manage customers from the company’s self-service portal.

Although the focus is definitely on self-service to facilitate scale, Nelson said the company still attempts to be pretty high-touch with partners, assigning a dedicated partner account manager to each partner in the program. Currently, the company plans to manage its new Canadian partners out of its San Francisco headquarters.

Although Nelson declined to discuss timelines for further expansion, he said the company is definitely looking to expand beyond its current international footprint.

“The approach has been to open up in markets we feel we can service, because we want our partners to be set up for success in every market where we open up,” Nelson said. “But there’s lots of demand in markets we aren’t in yet, so we’re working hard on it.”