Vendor Gets Cash To Grow

Boasting 95,000 business as customers, users in 188 countries, and 40,000 new unique users of its network every day, San Francisco-based DocuSign announced that it has raised an additional $85 million to fuel further growth. With most of the new funding coming from “large institutional public funds,” the new infusion brings the company’s total funding to $210 million, including investors like, Google Ventures, SAP Ventures and other top-tier players. Morgan Stanley acted as sole agent for the funding.

Recently, DocuSign announced a long-term strategic partnership with Microsoft to make DocuSign’s eSignature apps widely available within Microsoft Office 365, to let customers submit and sign documents without leaving Microsoft applications including Outlook, Word, SharePoint Online and SharePoint Server 2013. Microsoft currently deploys DocuSign in 100 use cases around the world.

In an exclusive March 3 pre-announcement interview, DocuSign founder and Chief Strategy Officer Tom Gonser pointed out that the company’s 60% to 70% global marketshare makes it “by far the largest” player in the space, setting the standard for managing fully digital transactions. “You can plug DocuSign in anywhere you might be dealing with a document that must be signed and returned, and be sure it will appear in the right context for the transaction,” Gonser said.

A key reason global adoption of DocuSign has been viral, Gonser said, is that it provides “carrier grade dialtone,” meaning scheduled maintenance never requires taking down the system, “because somewhere in the world someone is always right in the middle of a transaction.”  As a result, he said, DocuSign stands alone among competitors in providing ubiquitous worldwide service comparable to VISA in the credit card space. DocuSign claims that its Digital Transaction Management platform is now used throughout every department in nearly every industry, from financial services to manufacturing to higher education, to accelerate transactions.

Looking back at his time in the mortgage industry, Gonser said he was an enthusiastic backer of MISMO during his NetUpdate days, and predictrd that MISMO will be an important body in restoring some of the technology advances Fannie and Freddie put forth that got lost in the mortgage meltdown. He said that while eNote adoption may have tailed off as the most recent refi boom gave way to a purchase market, eNote adoption “absolutely” has to pick up. “Everyone is using e-signatures in real estate disclosures, and starting to see it in insurance and in banking. So for a mortgage I have to drive downtown to sign?” He said consumers won’t put up with that for long.

Long known in the mortgage industry as the founder and CEO of NetUpdate. Gonser oversaw NetUpdate’s 2001 acquisition of Seattle-based document management and electronic signature provider DocuTouch. After he left NetUpdate, Gonser purchased some of Docutouch’s patented assets to found DocuSign in 2003, but didn’t end up using them in the initial version of DocuSign. Gonser has been widely credited with being the father of electronic signatures for developing an e-signature process that didn’t require software or digital signatures. The e-signature technology DocuSign developed by 2004 was browser-based and conformed to the 2000 ESIGN Act and UETA.

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