Electronic signature and digital contract giant DocuSign has acquired the key technology behind machine learning company Appuri and hired the majority of the Seattle-based startup’s team, planning to integrate its artificial intelligence features directly into the DocuSign platform.
Appuri collects customer usage data to predict when customers are dissatisfied with a service so companies can combat attrition. Appuri’s platform applies a “churn score” to various customers, indicating the likelihood that they may leave.
Few companies in the world have as much data as DocuSign, which boasts more than 300,000 customers and 200 million users in 188 countries. Tom Casey, DocuSign’s senior vice president of engineering, said Appuri’s machine learning technology will help the company better understand its own data and build new features for its customers.
“We don’t have in our core product today, at its base, machine learning or artificial intelligence,” Casey said. “This gives us a foundation of that. It gives us expertise by bringing in this intact team that works very well together, fits with our culture so we can go take a look at advanced features we might want to bring online later, beyond what we have today in terms of our enterprise reporting integration and basic analytics.”
The seeds for the acquisition were planted when the two companies hooked up for a pilot project about six months ago looking at the path customers take to purchase DocuSign products. The teams at DocuSign and Appuri hit it off, and that strengthened the relationship. Appuri representatives first approached DocuSign about a potential acquisition as they were considering next steps for the company, with a new funding round as another possibility.
Under the deal, DocuSign acquired a license to Appuri’s source code and the right to further develop the technology on its own. With the acquisition, Appuri’s technology will be integrated within its platform and will no longer be available separately. The deal did not include Appuri’s existing customer portfolio, and DocuSign says it doesn’t currently plan to enter the audience engagement analytics market with a separate product of its own.
Appuri launched in 2012 and graduated from the 9Mile Labs accelerator in 2013. It has raised more than $6 million in its lifetime, including a $2 million round in March. Its backers include Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital, Divergent Ventures, Baseline and TDF Ventures.
“What we are doing we will continue to do, but our scope has broadened from just churn prediction, which is what we offer as a company at Appuri, to a broader set of tasks and features that are in the advanced analytics and machine learning space,” said Damon Danieli, Appuri co-founder and now DocuSign vice president of engineering.
Co-founder Bilal Aslam is also joining DocuSign on the product side. Another five people, Appuri’s technology and product teams, will also make the move to DocuSign.
CEO Todd Owens, three other employees focused on sales and marketing and a few contractors will not join DocuSign. After nearly a decade leading talent screening company TalentWise, and a year at the helm of Appuri, Owens said he wanted to take a step back to figure out his next move.
Several Appuri staffers will help current customers wind down their accounts and find new solutions for their needs.
DocuSign originally started in Seattle and later relocated its headquarters to the San Francisco Bay Area. But the Seattle office remains its largest, with more than 850 people and growing. It has raised more than $500 million, and frequently sits atop the GeekWire 200 list of Pacific Northwest startups.
The Appuri acquisition is not DocuSign’s only big move in recent days. Last week, the company announced the addition of Kirsten Wolberg as chief technology and operations officer, and Steve Krause as SVP strategy and product marketing.
Wolberg last served as CIO at Salesforce and has worked as vice president of technology at both PayPal and Charles Schwab. Krause joined Oracle in 2014 after selling his startup, Responsys, and worked as the head of product for Oracle Marketing Cloud before moving to DocuSign.