Deal comes months after UK lawyers said 1677 statute couldn’t hold back eSignatures
UPDATED 13:09 28/01/2019 with comment from Dropbox, HelloSign
Dropbox has agreed to buy Bay area-based eSignature specialist HelloSign for a reported $230 million, bringing it into the increasingly competitive eSignature sector alongside rivals like Adobe and DocuSign.
“With over an exabyte of data on our platform, millions of people already use Dropbox as a place to collaborate on their most important content,” said Dropbox Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Drew Houston.
“We’re thrilled to welcome HelloSign’s talented team to Dropbox and add their capabilities to our product suite. HelloSign has built a thriving business focused on eSignature and document workflow products that their users love. Together, we can deliver an even better experience to Dropbox users, simplify their workflows, and expand the market we serve.”
The “HelloSign Dropbox Extension” and the “HelloFax Dropbox Extension” allow users to complete eSignature flows and send faxes end-to-end from the Dropbox web interface.
The acquisition will bring eSignature capabilities to Dropbox’s more than 500 million registered users across more than 180 countries.
(The company cites 12.3 million paying enterprise users in its last quarterly earnings).
HelloSign has approximately 80,000 customers, including Lyft, Samsung, Twitter and Instacart. Of these, 55,000 use paid subscription services. It has been backed by US accelerator Y Combinator, GV (formerly Google Ventures) and Greylock Partners and completed a $ 16 million round in June 2017.
Its pricing starts at $13 per month, or $99 per month for API use (Bronze) that supports 50 API Signature Requests. It comes with Salesforce and Oracle integrations.
HelloSign Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Walla added: “Over the past 10 years, Dropbox has built a trusted global brand focused on transforming people’s working lives. We share a design philosophy based on building the best experience for end-users, fueling our efficient business models and sales strategies. Together with Dropbox, we can bring more seamless document workflows to even more customers and dramatically accelerate our impact.”
The acquisition comes five months after government lawyers in the UK finally acknowledged that eSignatures were legally binding.
Confirmation by the Law Commission in late August 2018 came as a bid to “sweep away current uncertainty” in the law, with many law firms citing tension between British common law rooted in a 1677 statute and more recent European regulations.
While the EU-wide eIDAS regulation had said that an electronic signature cannot be denied legal validity simply because it is electronic and that that electronic signatures are admissible in evidence in legal proceedings and the Electronic Communications Act 2000, a UK statute, had mirrored the admissibility provision in eIDAS, the latter had not explicitly provided for the validity of eSignatures.
The 1677 Statute of Frauds, which is still in force today, meanwhile requires certain documents to be in writing and signed.
Electronic signatures can assume various forms: a typed name at the end of an email, a typed name on an electronic form or document, a PIN number used for any kind of transaction or clicking on the “Agree” or the “OK” button on any online contract.