• Raveen Kuhadas

GetSignature - eSignatures and Digital Transformation

GetSignature is an eSignature SaaS solution. It was founded by Jey Srikantha in 2019. eSignatures are the digital equivalent of handwritten signatures and enable digital documents to become legally binding. This is a key step in allowing companies to digitise their paper documents.


The eSignature market has several attractive features. It is a large and growing market. This, along with the product's simplicity, allows eSignature companies to quickly build a sizable sales footprint.


Leveraging this user base allows companies to build a competitive advantage and customer loyalty via increased innovation and additional products in the broader digital transformation space. The opportunity for these additional products nearly doubles the size of the addressable market.


Jey’s unique approach is to make security a central feature of GetSignature’s solution. Jey has also been running a Business Process Automation consultancy, jeylabs. This gives him empathy for the problems customers face in digital transformation and strong scope for additional products as he digitises more of jeylabs’ services.


In 2014, Jey became a paraplegic after a back surgery went wrong. His optimism, courage, resilience and gratitude in the face of this is the embodiment of entrepreneurship. I feel fortunate to have met him.


Index

1) eSignatures - Click here

2) The eSignature Market - Click here

3) Building Competitive Advantage - Click here

4) Jey’s Journey - Click here

5) GetSignature - Click here


GetSignature founder Jey Srikantha as profiled on Project Optimism


eSignatures


Key Points

  • eSignatures are the digital equivalent of handwritten signatures and enable digital documents to become legally binding.

  • This is a key step in digitising the numerous agreements companies have in several of their departments, such as Sales, Marketing and Human Resources.

  • There are tangible economic and environmental benefits from digitising these agreements, a key selling point for corporate customers


GetSignature is an electronic signature SaaS solution. An eSignature is a legally binding way to get approval on electronic documents i.e. the digital equivalent of a handwritten signature.


eSignatures are a key step in the digital transformation trend as enterprises look to go paperless and automate workflows.


Companies typically have numerous agreements that are frequently created and signed across various departments. Examples include reseller agreements in Sales, promotion agreements in Marketing, invoice processing in Finance and offer letters in Human Resources.


The process of creating a formal agreement document looks as follows:


  1. Prepare – Creating the document and printing copies for the related parties.

  2. Sign – Getting the relevant parties to sign the document. This may include posting or scanning the document to the various parties.

  3. Act – Updating the relevant records and implementing actions (e.g. payments) from the agreement.

  4. Manage – Storing/filing the agreement document, searching for older agreements, constructing an audit trail etc.


Digitising these agreements can have substantial economic and environmental benefits, an important selling point for corporate customers. Some benefits outlined by leading eSignature player DocuSign include:


  1. Cost efficiency – In February 2020, DocuSign estimated the cost savings from going paperless to be $36 per agreement. Additionally, there are savings from hidden costs such as human error.

  2. Speed – In 2021, 80% of all successful transactions on DocuSign’s platform were completed in under 24hrs compared to days and weeks for traditional methods.

  3. Customer experience – Customers gave DocuSign a high NPS score of 72.

  4. Environmental impact - DocuSign estimates clients saved over 20 billion sheets of paper and over 2 billion pounds of carbon dioxide since 2003.


The eSignature Market


Key Points

  • The eSignature market is large and in the early stages of growth.

  • Such a market invites competition.

  • eSignature companies will need to build on their early success to establish a competitive advantage.


We are in the early days of what could be a large market. DocuSign is the largest player in the space and is only 6% of a $26 billion market.


COVID has highlighted the importance of eSignatures and accelerated the digital transformation trend. Market research firm Technavio estimates the market grew over 20% in 2020 and will grow at nearly 30% per year to 2024.


Such a market invites competition. While DocuSign dominates the space (circa 70% market share), there are numerous other players such as Adobe, Nitro Software, HelloSign and GetSignature.


How does a business continue to grow efficiently as the standard eSignature becomes more commoditised? The answer is by borrowing from SaaS playbooks like innovation, product-led growth and ‘land and expand’ strategies.


Building Competitive Advantage


Key Points

  • The simplicity of eSignatures allows customers to get value out of the product quickly. This allows these companies to build a large user base or sales footprint.

  • Learnings from this user base drive innovation in the eSignature product and the potential for additional products. The result is increased growth and customer loyalty.

  • The digital transformation market has lots of scope for additional product innovation as documents are further digitised and connected to other systems in the organisation, such as CRM systems.


By allowing the product itself to drive customer acquisition, the product-led growth model enables SaaS companies to grow faster and at lower cost.


Well-known examples are Atlassian and Zoom. Refer to my previous post on Intalayer for a detailed description of this business model.


The simplicity of the eSignature makes it ideal for product-led growth. It is low cost and easy for customers to use. This allows customers to see the value in the product quickly (low time to value).


Satisfied customers then spread the word to other teams and departments in their organisation. Recall from previous sections (eSignatures) that agreement documents are typically used in numerous departments in a company.


As such, these businesses tend to have high net revenue retention rates. DocuSign and Nitro Software (pdf and eSignature and analytics provider) have 124% and 114% net revenue retention rates, respectively.


These businesses can then build a competitive advantage in 3 steps:


  1. Sales footprint – The easy and rapid adoption of these products allow these companies to build a large sales footprint. DocuSign has hundreds of millions of users, and Nitro Software counts 68% of the Fortune 500 as customers.

  2. Increased Innovation – This sales footprint provides these companies with data to drive innovation and improvements in the customer experience.

  3. Additional Product – These companies progressively become more entrenched in their customers’ organisations as their user base grows. Learnings from this user base allow them to introduce additional products that increase the revenue per client and build more customer loyalty. This ‘land and expand’ strategy is an extension of product-led growth.


The digital transformation market is ideal for the land and expand strategy, given its early growth phase and level of potential innovation. DocuSign estimates the potential market for these additional products to be nearly the size of the eSignature market at $24 billion, as shown below.


DocuSign Total Addressable Market estimates. Note the market size of the additional non-eSignature product.


Both DocuSign and Nitro Software talk about the potential for innovation and artificial intelligence to further automate and digitise their clients’ workflows.


DocuSign sees the potential for agreement documents to become dynamic by digitising the agreement documents and connecting the content to other systems in the organisation e.g. CRM systems. This could enable the analysis of contracting trends, automatic notification of agreement renewals etc.


The eSignature and broader digital transformation market are in the early stages of growth. This is evidenced by recent corporate activity such as Dropbox’s $230 million acquisition of HelloSign, Box’s $55 million acquisition of SignRequest and French Startup Yousign raising a €30 million Series A funding round.


GetSignature’s founder, Jey Srikantha, sees this as an opportunity to launch his own eSignature product.


Jey’s Journey


Key Points

  • Jey has a 20-year background in business process automation, including over 10 years running IT consultancy jeylabs. Business process automation has many similarities with digital transformation.

  • This gives him strong insights and empathy for the digital transformation space. Insights from jeylabs could be a source of additional products as he productises more of jeylab’s services.

  • Jey became a paraplegic in 2014. His optimism, courage, resilience and gratitude in the face of this is the embodiment of entrepreneurship. I feel fortunate to meet him.


Jey has had a 20-year background in software and workflow-based automation. He began his career as a software engineer in 1999 and subsequently moved into IT consulting.


In 2006, he joined K2, a low-code business process automation software company that was subsequently acquired by Nintex in 2020.


Business process automation software models repetitive tasks (such as expense claims) and automates them by integrating standardised digital forms that the user fills in with the business’ other systems e.g. ERP system.


Note the similarities to digital transformation described in the previous section. K2’s acquirer Nintex itself incorporates eSignatures (using 3rd party provider Adobe’s eSignature product though Nintex recently acquired its own eSignature provider AssureSign) into its workflow automation solutions as shown below:


Nintex workflow solution incorporating eSignatures


In 2009, Jey founded his own IT consulting firm, jeylabs, which also focuses on business process automation.


Running a business process automation consultancy gives Jey strong insights into how clients can benefit from eSignatures and digital transformation more broadly.


jeylabs, founded in 2009


As perhaps a precursor to founding GetSignature, Jey productised parts of his business process automation knowledge by developing PowerToolz, an automation software that worked with K2’s BPM (business process management) software.


While running jeylabs, tragedy struck. In December 2014, Jey underwent back surgery which should only have required a 3 week recovery period. Instead, he woke up a paraplegic.


Despite the emotional and physical trauma of this life-changing event, Jey tackled his rehab with positivity and energy. All this while running his business from the rehab facility, including dealing with client sales calls, staff resignations etc.


Jey recovering in rehab


He detailed this part of his journey in a blog article. It is a remarkable story of optimism, courage and resilience. During our conversation, I was struck by the gratitude he had for the surgeon who performed that unfortunate surgery.


I felt Jey embodied the qualities of an entrepreneur, and I am grateful to meet him.


His decision to found GetSignature stemmed from a problem he faced while running his business.


GetSignature


Key Points

  • GetSignature’s unique approach is to make security a central feature.

  • Early traction includes being selected to be part of the Antler Program and a multi-year client win in the construction sector.

  • There is considerable scope for new products as more of jeylabs’ services from over 10 years of business process automation experience is productised.


Jey founded GetSignature in September 2019 after he realised he was sending signed documents with highly personal, sensitive information via email.


He struggled to find an affordable provider with the security he desired. His unique approach is to make security a central feature of GetSignature.


GetSignature pioneered the mandatory protection of all signed documents with its patent-pending document protection technology. This means all parties will have their copies of the signed document encrypted with their own document protection password.


GetSignature leverages AWS (Amazon Web Services) Cryptographic Services. AWS uses AES-256, the only publicly accessible cipher approved by the NSA for protecting top-secret information.


I found the product easy to use. Preparing and sending a document to be signed looks as follows:


From left to right: Drag and drop document to be eSigned; Selecting an electronic signature; Adding details on the receiving party; Drag and drop fields such as name, date and signature


The recipient receives an email notifying her/him of a document to be signed. Note that the recipient does not need a subscription with GetSignature. This feature of eSignatures allows a single subscriber to create awareness of the product with multiple signing parties.


The recipient process is shown below:


From left to right: Recipient received a notification email; Recipient prompted to select a personal password, this will be required to open the PDF document; Recipient signs the form; All parties receive an email stating that the form has been signed.


This also allows for an audit log or system of record that is court-admissible. GetSignature’s Certificate of Authenticity contains an audit trail that records any action that occurred with a verifiable time stamp.


Signatures and other information are cryptographically bound to a document via this audit trail. This audit trail looks as follows:


Audit trail attached to the document showing the interaction of both parties with the document. Mum's email blacked out for privacy


After founding GetSignature, Jey was selected to be part of the Antler Program in 2020. The program attempts to identify exceptional founders and nurture the defining companies of the future


The Antler Program has been a feature of several other startups profiled on Venture Journeys, such as Mys Tyler and Intalayer.


GetSignature has since signed a multi-year deal with a client in the construction industry. It has also established distributors and a growing reseller network in Singapore, USA and ANZ.


In terms of environmental impact, GetSignature has committed to planting trees with every subscription in partnership with OneTreePlanted.org.


GetSignature is in a position to build on its early client wins due to:

  1. The early-stage and level of growth in the industry.

  2. GetSignature’s unique and innovative approach to security.

  3. The potential for new products by productising more of jeylabs’ services from over 10 years of business process automation consulting experience.


I look forward to seeing the direction that this remarkable entrepreneur will take GetSignature.


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