DocuSign, the company known for enabling electronic signatures online, has raised an impressive $233 million to continue fueling its plans for rapid growth and worldwide expansion.
Today’s round — at almost a quarter of a billion dollars — is so large, it totals more than all of the company’s previous fundraising efforts to date, which took five rounds and more than a decade to raise.
“This is really a built-to-last investment,” said DocuSign’s Chief Marketing Officer Brad Brooks, in an interview with GeekWire. “It’s something that gives us the ability to run the business the way we need to run it, and allows us to expand at an increasing rate.”
Including today’s infusion, the company has raised $440 million.
The round was led by Brookside Capital and Bain Capital Ventures, with Generation Investment Management, ClearBridge Investments, Cross Creek Advisors, Iconiq Capital, Wasatch Advisors, Wellington Management Company and Sands Capital Ventures also participating.
DocuSign is technically headquartered in San Francisco, but continues to employ hundreds of people in Seattle, where it was originally founded.
Its employee count is one of the primary ways to demonstrate how fast DocuSign is growing. Currently, the company employs close to 1,400 people worldwide, up from 300 people just two years ago. But as a privately held company, other data points like revenues, profitability and valuation are hard to come by. (Three things DocuSign is willing to disclose: it has 50 million people and 100,000 companies using its technology across 188 countries.)
With this level of interest from investors, however, it’s normal for other people to do the talking for you.
Prior to this round, the company was valued at $1.6 billion, making it part of the elite billion-dollar “unicorn” club, according to The Wall Street Journal. Presumably, the company’s valuation will only increase with this latest round. [Update: Re/Code and The Wall Street Journal report that the company’s valuation is now $3 billion, including the latest infusion.]
“The reality is that it’s not that important,” Brooks said, in response to a question about the company’s valuation. “The reason we are raising the money is to create a company that’s built to last, and valuation is a artifact that’s not relevant to running the business.”
Brooks said the money will go towards three main investment areas: global expansion in Europe, South America and Asia; new products and potential acquisitions; and sales and marketing efforts as it pushes into new verticals.
Today, the company’s reputation is for enabling electronic signatures during real estate and loan transactions, but Brooks said there’s many more opportunities, ranging from healthcare to more personal items, like school permission slips. Since the company’s start 12 years ago, the company’s product line has also expanded from only enabling signatures to securely managing the flow of documents between employees or between companies and customers.
“Literally, there’s not a process on a personal level on up to an enterprise level that isn’t an opportunity,” Brooks said. “Because our opportunity is so massive, it gives us a lot of areas to invest in to grow.”
With a funding of this size was an IPO on the table?
Yes, but the capital was available privately — and easily, Brooks said.
“It has not been a long process, as far as fundraising efforts go. It was straightforward and quick,” he said. “The capital is available, and the investors are willing to see the value in DocuSign. It’s available and easy to do.”
In a recent interview, DocuSign’s Founder Tom Gosner, who is now the company’s chief strategy officer, told me that his biggest fear was not running out of money — but that they’re not moving fast enough.
“Yes, I think speed is very important,” he said. “We have to grow our business faster than the market is growing. I’m paranoid, and I spend a lot of time looking at potential threat factors in the marketplace.”
With another $233 million in the bank, it should be fairly easy to do both — move fast and not run out of money.