Document Management

DocuSign Seals Deals En Route to IPO

DocuSign is a company that appears to be going from strength to strength. When I met CEO Keith Krach at a user conference in London earlier this year, I was struck by the almost evangelical or cheerleader attitude of many delegates. In the client/server era it was fairly common for software giants to keep customers apart so they wouldn’t compare exploitative pricing or service; in the SaaS age, making customers your top salespeople is the mark of a market leader.

The companies that can win that sort of faith - think of, Google and followers, for example - tend to be those that can make their customers look good, naturally. DocuSign pulls this off with e-signatures, effectively automating the sealing of deals without recourse to manual, paper-based processes.

It’s an ancient business that was overly ripe for change but it needed a de facto standard and DocuSign is providing that, as 3.5 million pages per day are signed off (or ‘DocuSigned’ – company names becoming verbs being another sign of success).

“The savings are just phenomenal,” said the VP of IT at a leading Dutch firm I talked to. “I can show my CEO and CFO millions of euros in savings every year and that’s not to mention happier customers, greater visibility, better governance et cetera.”

Krach, an American who was once a high-flying young executive at General Motors, has already created one big tech brand in the shape of Ariba, the spend management company he co-founded that soared high on the first dotcom winds, reaching stratospheric valuations before becoming becalmed and selling out to SAP for about $4.5bn in 2012.

“I feel like I’ve been blessed to lead these great companies and this time is as exciting as any,” said Krach when we met. “This is our time.”

DocuSign has even more long-term promise than Ariba. In its 11-year history it has collected about $230m in funding but what’s more important is that pre-eminence in the document signing sector and that go-go user base.

The name of the game for now is growth and a push into Japan is the latest instalment of that plan. The company openly says that an IPO is the goal and it would be surprising if that didn’t happen.


Martin Veitch is Editorial Director at IDG Connect


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Martin Veitch

Martin Veitch is Contributing Editor for IDG Connect

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