Unicorns 47/229 – DocuSign

Unicorns 47/229 – DocuSign


Founder: Daniel Springer, Tom Gonser, Court Lorenzini, Eric Ranft
Key people: Daniel Springer (CEO), Court Lorenzini, Tom Gonser (CPO/VP Product) and Eric Ranft (CTO/VP Engineering)
Number of employees: ~5000

DocuSign is a San Francisco- and Seattle-based company that provides electronic signature technology and Digital Transaction Management services for facilitating electronic exchanges of contracts and signed documents. DocuSign’s features includ e authentication services, user identity management and workflow automation. Signatures processed by DocuSign are comparable to traditional signatures based on the product’s compliance with the ESIGN Act as well as the European Union’s Directive 1999/93/EC on electronic signatures.


DocuSign was founded in 2003 by Court Lorenzini (CEO), Tom Gonser (CPO/VP Product) and Eric Ranft (CTO/VP Engineering). 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 opened an office in London, England in September 2011. In the same year, DocuSign opened an office in San Francisco, which now functions as its global headquarters.

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 is stepping down as CEO but will remain chairman for three more years until the CEO search is over.

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. Replacing Keith Krach and ending a search that began in October 2015. Krach will remain on a chairman on the board.