Today Dropbox announced that it is to acquire San Francisco-based DocSend, a VC-backed startup that has been around since 2013 and raised a little over $15m in funding. DocSend is an interesting little firm with an innovative approach to tracking and securing external messages and documents. In simple terms, it takes away the need to send regular email attachments, and instead, sending a link that once opened and/or received lets you know. In fact, it goes further and provides some useful analytics on just how much time was spent by the reader on the document. In turn, it also provides a security mechanism to restrict or expand the rights of people to view and access the attachment.
In terms of fit, DocSend fits nicely into the Dropbox portfolio and timely pairing, as it plays into the disrupted and distributed workforce dynamic businesses are facing worldwide. Like many of these deals, this one is not a major surprise, mainly as DocSend had been a Dropbox partner for some years. What will be interesting to watch for is how Dropbox integrates the DocSend capabilities into its platform, whether it will remain a standalone add-on or a bundled service enhancement. A decision that will not be taken lightly as DocSend already has a decent-sized customer base that won’t want the boat rocking too much. That said, we hope to see this as a standard feature for business users of Dropbox at some point this year. Similarly, it will be interesting to see how Dropbox integrates DocSend with HelloSign eSignature capabilities.
All in all, this is a logical and good acquisition for Dropbox. Though $165m seems to be a high price to pay for a firm with revenues under $20m (our estimate). A price that may well point to other bidders in the deal. But even so, this should be something that will appeal to Dropbox’s much larger customer base and deliver a decent return on the investment.
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