Gentry Underwood, Former Dallasite, Builds App & Gets Acquired For Around $100 Million in <6 Months

Mailbox, the very new and very much beloved iOS email app that everyone is talking about, just announced that they have been bought by Dropbox.  The deal was first covered by the Wall Street Journal earlier today.   Dropbox CEO Drew Houston told the WSJ that his company felt it “could help Mailbox reach a much different audience much faster.”  The most recent blog post from Mailbox alludes to joining forces with Dropbox because of scaling opportunities, sensitive data, and their passion for making work frictionless.

Now, while the high-flying company isn’t from Dallas but rather Palo Alto, the CEO and Co-Founder Gentry Underwood is originally from Dallas.  He grew up in the Park Cities with his family.   Local entrepreneur Trey Bowles knew Underwood back in the day he tells me, “Oh yeah, Gentry, we grew up together. He’s a great guy.”

I have a call into Gentry now and will update the post when I hear back.

What is most amazing about this story is the blazing speed at which it went from idea to acquisition, or “whiteboard to wire” as I’ve heard.  Let me show you by way of bullets how the company took the world by storm in less than 6 months:

  • Orchestra, the Mailbox parent company, had raised $5.3 million Series A round that was announced late last year in November.
  • The news of Orchestra’s new, sexy email app started to leak into the world in December of 2012.
  • In January of this year, the company launched their digital reservation system and almost immediately had 70,000 people waiting in line to just download the app.
  • On February 7th, Mailbox launches in the Apple App Store and the reservation count jumps to over 250,000 people “in line”.
  • Shortly thereafter in February, Forbes posts a prophetic premonition of a Mailbox acquisition – but not by Dropbox, but rather Google or Apple.
  • Just last week at SXSWi, Underwood reveals that over 500,000 people are using the application on their iPhones, 1.25m+ people have reserved their spots “in line”, and that they are processing over 50 million email messages a day – just 3 weeks after actually launching.
  • Today, March 15th, the company announces their acquisition by Dropbox – a cloud-storage company valued at over $4 billion.   TechCrunch is reporting Mailbox sold for about $100 million.

I cannot say much more than this was near flawless execution by an incredibly passionate and driven team.   Bravo Gentry and team!  Come back to Dallas soon and tell us more about it (wink!).

Eric VanderSchaaf

Eric is the Editor of LAUNCH DFW and an avid proponent/supporter of the DFW Startup Community. In addition to running this site, Eric is the Executive Vice President of Business Development at Senico, a company that builds amazing technology products for itself and others.