Dropbox has made a significant move into the AI space with the launch of Dropbox Ventures, a $50 million venture fund focused on AI startups. Along with financial support, Dropbox Ventures will provide mentorship to startups working on AI-powered products that shape the future of work, according to Sateesh Srinivasan, Vice President and General Manager at Dropbox. The company aims to advance the AI ecosystem and support the next generation of startups that are leading the way in transforming the modern work experience through AI.
The venture capital (VC) industry has been increasingly investing in AI, especially in generative AI, with AI startups receiving over $52 billion in funding across more than 3,300 deals in the past year alone, according to GlobalData. Corporate initiatives have been a significant source of this funding, as companies like Salesforce, Workday, and OpenAI have established large funds to invest in AI startups.
In line with its focus on AI, Dropbox has also introduced new AI-powered features to its cloud storage product. One of these features is Dropbox Dash, a universal search bar that can search across tools, content, and apps from third-party platforms such as Google Workspace, Microsoft Outlook, Salesforce, and Notion. Dash is designed to help users find and organize various types of content, and it will learn and improve based on customer usage. In the future, Dash will leverage generative AI to provide answers and surface relevant content from personal and company information.
Another AI innovation from Dropbox is Dropbox AI, which utilizes an OpenAI model via OpenAI’s API. Dropbox AI can summarize and extract information from files stored in a Dropbox account, generate summaries from documents, provide video previews, and even answer questions in a chatbot-like manner. Currently, Dropbox AI works with file previews but will soon expand to cover folders and entire Dropbox accounts.
Srinivasan emphasized that these AI-powered features are examples of how AI and machine learning can enhance the way customers work. Dropbox envisions AI applications across its entire portfolio to reimagine user experiences. The company believes that there is a need for an organizational layer across all aspects of the cloud world, and Dropbox aims to fulfil that need as a self-organizing digital container.
With its venture fund and AI-focused features, Dropbox is positioning itself at the forefront of the AI revolution, aiming to support startups and provide innovative AI-powered solutions to improve the work experience for its customers.
To allay concerns voiced about the unpredictability of AI, Dropbox reaffirmed its commitment to building AI technologies “so that they’re as fair and reliable as possible.” Of course, the words of a corporation don’t carry the same weight as, say, an independent audit, but take them for what they’re worth.
Dropbox Dash is currently available in English to select customers in beta. Dropbox AI for file previews is in Alpha, and available in the U.S. to all Dropbox Pro customers ahead of a rollout to select Dropbox Teams.