Taking aim at Dropbox, Box announces plans to buy e-signature startup SignRequest
Box Inc. today announced it has inked a $55 million deal to acquire SignRequest BV, a startup with electronic signature technology that will enable it to compete more effectively with Dropbox Inc. in the file management market.
SignRequest offers an e-signature service of the same name that allows users to sign contracts and request signatures from others. The service also includes productivity features designed to make managing documents easier. SignRequest supports templates, to speed up the creation of commonly used contracts, and has a notification feature to remind users about documents that require their signature.
Box plans to repackage SignRequest’s technology into a new feature called Box Sign that will be offered as a native capability inside its platform. The feature, the company said, will be available at no additional charge to customers of its business and enterprise subscription plans. It’s expected to launch this summer.
Box is taking a similar approach to the e-signature market as Dropbox. The latter company acquired an established e-signature startup, HelloSign, in 2019 and used the technology it obtained through the deal to equip its platform with embedded e-signature features. The acquisition of SignRequest will enable Box to level the playing field against its rival in this market, which is estimated to be worth over $20 billion, according to International Data Corp. research the company cited today.
The deal also advances Box’s big-picture product strategy. Over the years, the company has been expanding its platform’s feature set to turn it into a one-stop destination for managing an organization’s files.
“There’s no question that content holds extraordinary value,” Box Chief Executive Aaron Levie (pictured) wrote in a blog post today. “But to realize that value, companies need a single, integrated content layer that keeps their content secure and compliant while empowering teams to collaborate.”
SignRequest will fill in another piece of the puzzle. On top of everything else, the addition of native e-signature features could help the company boost customer retention. The more business processes client organizations standardize on Box, the less reason they will have and the harder it will be to move to a competing offering.
SignRequest’s capabilities will complement the growing list of features that Box has developed internally to help clients manage contracts and other sensitive documents. Last year, the company added a tool that uses machine learning to organize documents based on their importance. It also introduced a metadata capability that allows companies to automatically apply security and compliance rules to files.
Box expects the acquisition of SignRequest to close by the end of April.
Photo: The Demo Conference/Flickr
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