Adobe has acquired electronic signature startup EchoSign for an undisclosed price.

EchoSign is a web-based provider of electronic signatures. The technology will be integrated into Adobe’s document exchange services platform to ensure secure delivery of documents for universal access, review and approval. If this kind of technology takes off, it could finally kill the fax machine and paper contracts.

That’s the goal, at least. Paperless offices were predicted long ago, but we’re killing more trees than ever with legal documents. EchoSign’s goal is to make electronic signatures the standard way for people to sign documents and automate contracting, said Jason Lemkin, CEO of EchoSign. The goal is to reduce the time and cost of having documents signed, accelerate sales cyles, improve tracking, and centralized the management of signed agreements.

Adobe will integrate EchoSign’s solution with Adobe’s document services including SendNow for managed file transfer, FormsCentral for form creation, and CreatePDF for online PDF creation. EchoSign has more than 30,000 customers and 2.5 million users. The company says it takes an average of 42 minutes to get a signature through its process, in contrast to a much longer time for paper documents. About $500 million in contracts are signed each month and 97 percent of its customers recommend it.

With EchoSign, a user sends the document for signature using EchoSign. The receiving part can sign it electronically, or do it via print and fax. Everyone receives a signed copy and then EchoSign handles the filing.


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