On January 28, 2019, Dropbox announced its intention to acquire HelloSign, a platform used to manage business transactions including eSignature and document-centric workflows. HelloSign joined Dropbox’s Extensions partner program (launched in November of 2018), offering digital signature and electronic fax features from inside the Dropbox interface.

In our annual online surveys on enterprise content management, Dropbox has continued to rise in mindshare among content management program leaders (along with other cloud providers such as Box and Google). This expansion into process areas and the opportunity to offer more vertical and horizontal packaged solutions will help accelerate Dropbox’s penetration into the enterprise market.

What It Means

Dropbox made an important step toward an enterprise focus by buying its way into the transaction and document automation market. Dropbox has been slower to make the pivot to the enterprise market compared to other file sync and share providers such as Box and Google Drive. The acquisition of process-centric technologies and seasoned enterprise-focused executives means that this HelloSign acquisition can change Dropbox’s current market perception as an offering just for consumers or small business.

What Do Dropbox, HelloSign, And Their Customers Get Out Of This?

  • A process offering. Small and midsized companies can now build signatures and approvals into a broad range of internally and externally facing use cases.
  • Review, approval, and agreement task capabilities. Content — Dropbox’s strength — is not created in a vacuum, and this closes a handful of gaps. Dropbox serves B2B and B2C content co-creation and collaboration needs but has been thin on the surrounding process and context of documents.
  • End-to-end transaction management and light process automation capabilities. Document-rich processes such as new customer or employee onboarding, forms submissions, or lease or agreement reviews are all use cases served today by HelloSign. These assets help Dropbox embed itself in more critical activities — offering value beyond document storage.
  • A seasoned management team with proven success targeting large enterprises. HelloSign executives, including COO Whitney Bouck, who has held senior leadership roles with Box, EMC, and Documentum, have a track record of success targeting larger enterprises — an area that Dropbox still needs to solidify itself as a cloud content platform.
  • A high-performance set of repository services and engineering resource depth. Dropbox has a track record of R&D investment in scale and performance, handling an estimated billion-plus files uploaded per day. HelloSign can now take advantage of this footprint and engineering resources to help its process and content automation offerings scale out.
  • Extended sales channels and partner ecosystems. Dropbox partners will provide new channels for HelloSign. Large global resellers drive Dropbox Business adoption, and HelloSign should find access to those accounts. In addition, Dropbox has a substantial number of small and midsized customers that can immediately benefit from HelloSign’s offering. Upsell opportunities into Dropbox accounts should spur faster adoption of the eSignature and document workflow offerings. In addition, HelloSign’s current integration offers several free transactions for first-time users, and this should help drive interest in other Dropbox Extensions partners.