I don’t have insider info, but if I were to venture a guess, Any.DO is likely on the short list of the corp dev’s at both Box & Dropbox.
If you’ve been following these two companies’ acquisition paths, you’ve noticed a similar MO… They’ve been bolstering peripheral products.
The reason is the dreaded ‘C’ word… Churn.
If you use either Box or Dropbox, you’d probably agree with me that it’s safe to assume they have (roughly) two user groups: Hardcore everyday users, and sporadic users — that is, folks that sign-up, install, but don’t engage with the storage product on a day-to-day basis… Folks like my dad who uses the free tier and who’s wallet Dropbox (in his case) can’t get into.
Products like email (Mailbox), and Word processing (Box’s Notes) are designed to maintain engagement for the core storage offering which is: 1) Totally unsexy, and 2) Totally forgettable.
What we’re seeing both companies execute is an ‘island strategy’ (although Florida Keys is a more appropriate analogy). Facebook is executing the shit out of it with Instagram, Messenger, Paper, and the app who’s acquisition will make every Jewish mother proud of her son even if he didn’t end-up a lawyer, Whatsapp.
Facebook gets that you won’t forget the core product —the brand — because you’re engaging with it in pieces. Divide oneself and conquer.
Which leads me to Any.DO…
If the idea is to maintain brand engagement through island products that induce engagement a few times a week (better yet, a day), then a To Do List is a no brainer.
With Any.DO, Box/Dropbox would get a team that seems to have the best execution on the market of a To Do list app. And interestingly, Any.DO itself is attempting an island strategy of its own, having expanded to a scheduling app with Cal. I’m sure they have another one or two Any-apps on the whiteboard for 2014.
I’ve always been bearish (frankly, even that’s sugar-coating) about Any.DO’s monetization potential. The numbers never added-up to me. That said, it’s been pretty successful at garnering the press’ attention. Couple that with a team that gets mobile, low (or no revenue) and fairly modest funding (in SV standards), and you got yourself a sensible acquisition strategy.
Feel free to chalk this up as armchair quarterbacking :)