DocuSign Joins Parade of Enterprise Tech IPOs

The 15-year-old e-signature solutions startup is hoping to duplicate the strong market debuts this month of Dropbox and Zscaler.
Matthew HellerMarch 29, 2018

In another indication that the market for enterprise technology IPOs is heating up, DocuSign unveiled its plan to go public as it seeks to sign up more users of its e-signature solutions.

The company’s prospectus revealed that its revenue grew 52% last year to $381.5 million and that the total available market for agreement process technology was about $25 billion for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31.

Losses for last year were $115.4 million, down from $122.6 million for 2016.

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“Our cloud-based platform today enables more than 350,000 companies and hundreds of millions of users to make nearly every agreement, approval process, or transaction digital — from practically any device, virtually anywhere in the world, securely,” the prospectus says.

Signature digitalization, it says, “allows companies to measure turnaround time in minutes rather than days, substantially reduce costs, and largely eliminate errors.”

According to a survey commissioned by DocuSign, its enterprise customers realized an average of $36 of incremental value per transaction when they used DocuSign rather than their existing paper-based processes.

DocuSign, which was founded in 2003, has raised over $500 million over the past 15 years and received a valuation of $3 billion in 2015. Venture capital firms are its largest investors, led by Sigma Partners with a 12.9% stake.

Tech IPOs are showing signs of picking up, particularly in the enterprise sector. Both Dropbox and Zscaler had strong market debuts this month.

“DocuSign should have a strong run ahead of it. It has a strong brand in a space that is still in early innings, and the category, like Dropbox, is inherently somewhat viral,” Jason Lemkin, who co-founded competitor Echo Sign before it was sold to Adobe, told TechCrunch.

DocuSign noted in its prospectus that “the signature is the moment of legal commitment — one that can have disproportionately severe consequences if something goes wrong. And because of these high stakes, many companies have been wary” of switching from paper-based processes.

But the company believes that “companies of all sizes and across all industries will continue to invest heavily in e-signature technology.”