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Dropbox secretly acquires Zulip, work chat technology

March 17, 2014


Dropbox and Zulip, sitting in a tree

According to a leaked email, Dropbox had acquired Zulip, a startup not launched yet in public beta, that has been quietly building a workplace chat product. The story was first reported by tech writer, Sarah Perez who acquired an email Zulip sent to their few customers asking them to keep the secret of the acquisition.

Alas, there are no secrets on the internets. Zulip founders assert that nothing significant would change for now, as they focused on integrating with Dropbox. This acquisition could be Dropbox’s edge in the newly crowded world of cloud storage, making it more relevant to the business world.

Prior to acquisition, it appears the company was gearing up to go head to head with workplace chat clients like Yammer, and while they have not launched publicly, the founders hail from Oracle, MIT and other high brow backgrounds.

Zulip allows team members to conduct private conversations, search all messages, drag and drop files, and more, which could expand Dropbox’s footprint in the business world (although they have no comment on the topic).

Zulip’s email to customers:

Psst… hey, you! Yeah, you, the one using Zulip.

We have some news for you, but you gotta keep it secret. Can you do that? Alright, sweet.

Here’s the deal: Dropbox is acquiring Zulip. We’re incredibly excited about working with an awesome group of people on a problem with huge scale, at a company that’s as passionate as we are about helping people work together efficiently.

We couldn’t have gotten here without your support, enthusiasm, and evangelism — so, thank you!

But enough about us: what does this mean for the service you’ve come to love and enjoy?

For our customers, tomorrow it’s business as usual at Zulip. Please use all of the same channels to reach us with questions. As we make progress on integrating with Dropbox, I’m sure that we’ll have more announcements about what the product roadmap looks like going forward.

Again, please don’t share this news. We intend to announce this publicly in a few weeks, but wanted to give you folks a heads-up since you’ve supported us from the beginning.

Thanks again for your support, and if you find yourself in San Francisco, come and say hi!

From all of us here at Zulip,

Jeff, Waseem, Jessica, Tim, Luke, Zev, Leo, Allen, acrefoot, Steve, and Jason

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

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