DocuSign headquarters in San Francisco
|Traded as||NASDAQ: DOCU|
San Francisco, California
Number of locations
|Daniel Springer (CEO)|
Tom Gonser (Co-founder)
Court Lorenzini (Co-founder)
Keith Krach (Chairman)
|Products||Electronic signature and digital transaction management software and services|
DocuSign is a company based in San Francisco, US that provides electronic signature technology and digital transaction management services for facilitating electronic exchanges of signed documents. DocuSign provides authentication services, user identity management and workflow automation. Signatures processed by DocuSign are compliant with the US ESIGN Act and the European Union’s Electronic Signatures Directive (1999/93/EC).
In April 2018, DocuSign filed for an initial public offering. The largest shareholders are venture investment firms Sigma Partners, Ignition Partners, Frazier Technology Ventures, and chairman and former CEO Keith Krach as the largest individual shareholder unaffiliated with a venture investment firm. None of the original founders, or current CEO Daniel Springer, are major shareholders. The company went public on the NASDAQ on April 27, 2018.
DocuSign was founded in 2003 by Court Lorenzini, Tom Gonser and Eric Ranft. The original concept for the company came from Tom Gonser while he was still involved in NetUpdate, a company he founded in 1998 and had previously served as CEO, and where he was still an active Board member. Through its history, NetUpdate had acquired several companies, including an early-stage e-signature start-up in Seattle called DocuTouch, founded by Mir Hajmiragha. DocuTouch held patents on Web-based digital signatures and collaboration, but had no material revenue. With internal support from Gonser, Lorenzini negotiated the purchase of certain DocuTouch assets from NetUpdate and started DocuSign. Gonser then left the NetUpdate Board to focus on DocuSign full time.
The firm began sales in 2005 when zipForm, now zipLogix, integrated DocuSign into its virtual real estate forms. Mock trials featuring licensed attorneys and real judges highlighted the admissibility of DocuSign contracts in court based on encrypted audit logs of signature events as well as the impossibility of changing contracts.
In January 2007, Court Lorenzini stepped down as CEO and Chairman of the Board and took a less active role as Executive Vice President of Business Development. He was replaced as CEO by Matthew Schultz who served in that role until January 2010, when he was replaced by Steven King, who subsequently moved the corporate headquarters from Seattle to San Francisco. Keith Krach became DocuSign's chairman of the board in January 2010 and its CEO in August 2011.
In June 2010, DocuSign added support for iPhone, iPad and phone-based user authentication. DocuSign also began referring to its service as “eSignature Transaction Management” to reflect the functional growth beyond signing. By the end of 2010, the company handled 73 percent of the Saas-based electronic signature market with 80 million signatures processed. Scale Venture Partners led an investment round of $27 million in December 2010.
Through July 2011, DocuSign had processed a total of 500 million pages. The company made a donation to the Arbor Day Foundation that month in recognition of the positive environmental impacts of electronic signatures.
DocuSign signed an agreement, in April 2012, with PayPal, that allowed users to capture signatures and payments in a single transaction with DocuSign Payment. Similar partnerships with Salesforce.com, and Google Drive preceded the PayPal agreement.
In July 2012, Business Insider reported that about 90% of Fortune 500 companies had signed up to use DocuSign, and that the firm reached 25 million users who had completed 150 million signatures in 188 countries.
On January 10, 2013, DocuSign and Equifax announced a partnership to simplify electronic delivery of the Requests for Transcript of Tax Return Form 4506-T to the United States Internal Revenue Service. Under the partnership, Equifax allows lenders to use DocuSign to securely send requests to loan applicants. DocuSign and Equifax were among 14 firms that participated in a nine-month feasibility study of electronic signatures for 4506-T forms in 2011.
In October 2015, Keith Krach announced he would step down as CEO but remain chairman through the search for a new CEO. In 2016, DocuSign was ranked #3 on the Forbes Cloud 100 list. In January 2017, veteran software executive Daniel Springer was named as the new CEO. He took over from Keith Krach, who remained chairman of the board. Also in 2017, DocuSign was ranked #4 on the Forbes Cloud 100 list. In July 2018, DocuSign acquired SpringCM for $220 million.
In 2004, DocuSign raised $4.6 million from Frazier Technology Ventures. Additional rounds of investments between 2006 and 2009 raised $30 million that allowed the firm to add corporate clients and process 48 million signatures.
In July 2012, DocuSign raised $47.5 million in venture funding from investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; the round later grew closer to $56 million. At this time, venture capitalist Mary Meeker joined the Board of Directors. In March 2014, the company announced it had raised $85 million in a new funding round. Though unconfirmed, The Wall Street Journal reported the round was based on a company valuation of $1.6 billion.
In 2018, the company announced plans for an initial public offering on the NASDAQ, with the goal of raising up to $543 million when the company goes public. Neither the original founders nor current CEO Daniel Springer are major shareholders at this time. Chairman and former CEO Keith Krach has become the person most closely associated with the company, and the largest individual shareholder at 5.5%, about 8.5 million shares. Venture capital firms Sigma Partners, Ignition Partners, and now-defunct company Frazier Technology Ventures are additionally large shareholders.
Products and structure
DocuSign services are offered either by subscription or free of charge as a mobile device app. Signatures and documents are uploaded, then encrypted and a unique hash created. If a signed document is later checked, the hash will not match the information stored by DocuSign if a document has been tampered with or compromised.
DocuSign Professional emails recipients an electronically signed document requesting review of a document after it is uploaded. Each party must agree to complete business electronically, review the document and apply a signature. Signatures may be added from a stored copy of a signature or generated automatically by the software. Phone confirmation and background checks are offered as premium services.
DocuSign released its mobile app DocuSign Ink in November 2011. It is available free of charge, and runs on Apple iOS, Google Android and Windows Phone operating systems. DocuSign Ink allows users to sign and annotate documents by attaching a stored signature, which may be created in graphic design software, captured from an image of a paper document or selected from a variety of prefabricated signatures based on the user’s legal name. The saved signature can be applied to PDFs, word processing documents and images. To complete a document, participants apply their signatures and send completed documents to cloud storage for review.
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