DocuSign was founded in 2003 by Court Lorenzini, Tom Gonser and Eric Ranft. Tom Gonser came up with the idea when he was at NetUpdate, a company he founded in 1998 and where he served as CEO. Through its history, NetUpdate had acquired several companies, including an e-signature start-up in Seattle called DocuTouch that had been funded by Timberline Venture Partners, Bill Kallman and Jeff Tung with $4M. Timberline invested another $1 M in the merger into Netupdate.
DocuTouch held patents on Web-based digital signatures and collaboration. 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 on the role of Executive Vice President of Business Development. He was replaced as CEO by Matthew Schiltz,who served in that role until January 2010. Steven King replaced Schultz as CEO and 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”. 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.
DocuSign opened an office in London, England in September 2011. In the same year, DocuSign opened an office in San Francisco that now functions as its global headquarters.
DocuSign signed an agreement with PayPal, in April 2012, 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.
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 once a search for a new CEO was completed . In 2016, DocuSign was ranked #3 on the Forbes Cloud 100 list.
In July 2018, DocuSign acquired SpringCM for $220 million.
In March 2019, DocuSign announced the DocuSign Agreement Cloud, a suite of products and integrations for automating and connecting the entire agreement process digitally. This marked the company’s transition from their former position as a leader in digital transaction management.
In February 2020, DocuSign acquired Seal Software for $188 million.
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. More than 20 billion pieces of paper and 608,000 barrels of oil have been saved by the company through avoidance of wasted printouts for signatures.
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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