Dropbox has acquired Zulip, a stealthy startup that was building a workplace chat product.
The news was originally reported by TechCrunch after Zulip sent an email to customers asking them to stay quiet about the buy-up. In that missive, Zulip’s founders claimed that nothing significant would change for the time being and that the focus going forward is an integration with Dropbox.
Zulip had intended to compete with established workplace messaging providers like Yammer and Convo. On Zulip, employees invited into the pilot could conduct private conversations, drag and drop files, and search through previous messages, among other features.
Zulip had yet to publicly launch but seemed promising. Its founders are primarily ex-Oracle folk, including Jeff Arnold, Waseem Daher, Jessica McKellar, Tim Abbott, and others. The investors include Paul English, a part-time lecturer at the MIT Sloan Entrepreneurship Center, and Meraki cofounders Sanjit Biswas and Hans Robertson (Cisco acquired Meraki for $1.2 billion in November of 2012).
Dropbox’s response to a request for comment: “We have nothing further to share at this time.”
Here’s the full copy of Zulip’s email to its customers, which was recently published on the Pastebin web application:
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