DocuSign: Signature Mobility At Its Finest
Nowadays, it takes less than a minute to find a document, sign it and send it wherever needs be.
Of course, signing, sending, and managing legally binding documents sounds all dandy now, but way back when it was a tough nut to crack!
Once upon a time, people used to sign papers manually, and send them across the world using traditional means. As a result, countless files got lost along the way and even more lagged behind - costing companies valuable bucks!
That is, until Tom Gonser's invention DocuSign put the file chaos to rest!
Introducing a revamped, electronic way of storing, sending and receiving documents - DocuSign digitalized the way we’d been filing documents for decades back.
Gone are the days of mailing and faxing - Tom’s clever SaaS e-signature was ready to switch things up on a global level!
Read more about DocuSign’s revolutionary journey here:
A Ticket To Success
The road to unicorn success is a long and bumpy one.
To build his own, Tom Gonser relied on three key personal traits: rigid self-discipline, unbent will, and utter determination - a recipe for success he discovered when he first enrolled into economics and business studies at the University of Washington. As expected, he graduated with the highest honors, but even so, he was far from done with learning.
Right after Washington, Tom walked the extra mile and attended economic courses at Northwestern University, acquainting himself with the concept of business and its potential risks.
Having gathered sufficient knowledge to try himself on the real market, Tom initiated a job hunt - a journey that would take him to greater lengths than he anticipated.
The Cocktail for Success
Fresh out of college, Tom immersed himself in the search for a suited career.
The first job he scored was at Apple - a promising start for the young entrepreneur-to-be. In 1986, Tom took the role of a solutions development executive.
Having spent eight years at the company, Tom became somewhat of an expert in determining customers' needs through close communication. Through developing strategies and recommending solutions for a variety of problems, Tom easily mastered the art of critical thinking and earned a solid idea of how the business world operated.
But before he went for the big business fish in the sea, Tom needed to build a personal experience in the industry. So, for the next three years, Tom tested out the marketing waters and acquired additional essential skills in both market research and consumer behavior.
Right before he dove into vast entrepreneurship waters, Tom spent some time working as a VP business developer in Point.com - a company run by his future co-founder, Court Lorenzini. What he took from his time at Point was the way online working encouraged enterprise - but not customer communication.
Able to predict the outcome of this problem, Tom wasted no time in designing a suitable solution of his own!
Where There's a Will, There's a Way
In 1997, automation played a critical role in the mortgage industry. However, no one thought of creating a portal that connects loan sharks with borrowers - not until Tom got busy developing a potential solution for the issue. In 1998, NetUpdate was launched and ready for business.
In building the enterprise, NetUpdate - at that time a 10-member team- realized there was a way to manage documents more easily and efficiently.
What posed the biggest issue in making this happen was the way documents were to be signed. From this mishap, Tom developed a whole new idea - to create a platform where NetUpdate's customers could legally sign digital documents.
The platform, then known as DocuTouch, boasted no profits, but developed several key patents to help protect their solution to digitally signing documents.
As the 2000s rolled in, the sudden market collapse interrupted Tom’s smooth-sail business plan. Left to his own devices, Tom had to call the shots and let his brilliant idea shrink to non-existence.
After dwelling on the whats and ifs and hows, Tom decided to revamp the company’s concept by creating an online document signing platform - the perfect strategy for a market comeback.
With accessibility and simplification as his priorities, Tom envisioned the necessity for a platform like his own, and now, he only lacked the right team to carry out his vision!
The Trio Assembles
To find the ideal team to develop his groundbreaking platform, Tom looked for natural knack, quality and expertise.
While working for Court Lorenzini as head of business development, Tom realized the potential of appointing him as DocuSign' CEO. After reaching out and presenting the idea, Court agreed to step in as the company’s CEO without blinking an eye.
The team of two now needed a technical arm to initiate company production. For both, the most suitable candidate was Eric Ranft - a master in computer science and one of the greatest tech geniuses of his time.
The Rise of DocuSign
Joining forces, the trio built a software to help store and manage files - all manually signed by then.
Instead of searching on their own, clients could now use DocuSign to enter a single server and efficiently access all their documents!
Of course, to enforce their vision, the trio needed both capital and to expand the team. Hard as it was for DocuSign to get the trust of customers, it was harder to convince investors to pitch in. Stunningly, it took the team two years to convince the world that managing web files was a futuristic concept - and that DocuSign would do the job!
Eventually, the team’s first sale took place after ZipForm integrated DocuSign into its virtual real estate platform. At first, the company focused on small real-estate customers, but, upon realizing they could expand across many other industries, the team went after the big fish.
Through reliability, consistency and transparency, the team earned its trust in clients fairly easily. The platform, now more elegant than ever before, guaranteed instant success in finding online documents, signing them efficiently and storing them right.
Once the platform took off, the investors came pouring in!
DocuSign’s first investors were Frazier Technology Ventures, pitching in with an incredible $4.6 million.
In the next three years, the company witnessed a growing number of other investments, too, ultimately earning up to $30 million.
Notably, Seal Software invested $15 million while the most recent Series C funding came from Snapdocs - an estimated $60 million investment.
All in all, DocuSign has raised a total of $536.2 million in expansion funding - and they’ve put it to good use!
DocuSign in the Contemporary World
Docusign’s signatures are everywhere - in photos, PDF files and Word documents, hiding in plain sight. Moreover, all DocuSign files are stored in its own cloud, thus allowing clients instant accessibility to the documents they need.
Today, DocuSign facilitates the process of collaboration for more than 500,000 customers, in over 200 countries worldwide.
Tom Gonser, now the father of SaaS electronic signatures, turns an annual revenue of $274.9 million, counting over 4,000 employees around the globe.
What is more, DocuSign has become one of the largest market players- ranked in Glassdoor’s top 100 workplaces to be.
For a company undertaking the vast ocean of online entrepreneurship, DocuSign swam its way to the finish line and gave online paperwork a whole new purpose!