Category Creation, Customer Experience, Inspired Leadership: Our Journey With DocuSign

5 min read April 27, 2018
Spotlight Infra

Written by Bain Capital Ventures Managing Director Enrique Salem.

In the lifetime of a startup, ringing the opening bell for your IPO is an incomparable moment for everyone who helped build the company — from founders, employees and investors to customers, partners and contributors of all stripes. It’s also a significant milestone that marks the beginning of a new phase and the need to focus on bigger and better things ahead.

Today, I couldn’t be more proud to congratulate my colleagues and friends at DocuSign(NASDAQ: DOCU) as they usher in a new era as a public company. Bain Capital Ventures, along with Bain Capital Public Equity, was fortunate to lead DocuSign’s last two rounds of funding. And as a board member for the last five years, I’ve watched Keith and Dan build a truly remarkable organization that today is more than 2,200 employees and 350,000 customers strong.

DocuSign has pioneered the move to electronic signatures and, more broadly, automated the entire process of executing a “system of agreement,” significantly improving workflows and removing friction for millions of daily transactions. Not only does DocuSign make it easy for business to get done, but there’s no question that the company plays a foundational role in the digital transformation movement that has taken the business world by storm.

For aspiring founders, DocuSign has an impressive growth story to study and emulate — from its early moves to identify market need and customer pain, to building a seamless customer and product experience, to instilling and evolving culture, and so much more.

“Sky Is the Limit” Opportunity Meets Amazing Customer Experience

Back in 2013, I received a call from DocuSign board member Pete Solvik, now a managing director at Jackson Square Ventures, who brokered an introduction with DocuSign CEO Keith Krach. Keith and I started talking about their board needs, and, intrigued, I dug in to learn more about the company and opportunity.

As part of my due diligence, I started talking to everyone I could about DocuSign. I talked with a major tech company executive, and he gave the product rave reviews. I called my friend Frank Modruson, who was running a massive global IT organization as CIO at Accenture, and walked him through the entire DocuSign pitch. Again, rave reviews — in Frank’s words: “This solves a really big problem. It’s so much bigger than e-signature.”

Simultaneously, I was in the process of selling my house and my realtor was using DocuSign to streamline the massive amount of paperwork that goes along with real estate transactions. She was also a huge fan. As I started to use DocuSign more and more myself, I too was struck by just how good the user experience was — simple, efficient and delightful.

I joined the board in August 2013, and soon thereafter, made a personal investment. Less than a year later, I joined Bain Capital Ventures and together with our colleagues at Bain Capital Public Equity, we made a significant investment in DocuSign. The calculus wasn’t complicated: We saw DocuSign’s potential to be a transformative leader in a sky is the limit market opportunity, currently estimated at $25 billion; although I’m convinced it’ll be bigger.

Inspirational Leadership That Attracts the Best of the Best

Anyone who has worked with Keith knows he’s a force of nature — an exceptionally positive, visionary leader whose energy and enthusiasm are both infectious and empowering for those around him.

It’s no wonder that Keith masterfully recruited top talent, instilled a winning culture, raised capital to scale and established an exceedingly loyal user base. DocuSign ultimately grew 60x under Keith’s leadership and firmly established itself as the benchmark for trusted, digital agreements.

When Dan Springer took the CEO reigns in January 2017, as Keith transitioned to chairman, he brought with him tremendous SaaS expertise and public company operating experience. Like Keith, Dan continues to attract and inspire amazing people.

Together they have built a formidable leadership team that will keep DocuSign laser-focused on both customer and employee success. It’s no surprise that DocuSign has been a perennial “best places to work” recipient. Glassdoor shows 91 percent of employees would recommend the company to a friend and 98 percent approve of the CEO — powerful testaments to their effective leadership.

The Destination: Indispensable, Iconic

For all that DocuSign has accomplished, there is much green field ahead. As Frank Modruson realized years ago, the company and its product are about so much more than e-signature.

As a system of agreement, DocuSign has the opportunity to become indispensable to how the world manages business of all kinds — from employment agreements to escrow papers to massive and complex business transactions. Managing security and legal compliance while making it easy for end users is no easy task, but it’s that elegance which makes DocuSign so popular — while the time and cost savings make it endlessly valuable.

Looking ahead, I genuinely believe DocuSign will be ubiquitous. The “network effect” is in full effect here — the more people who use it, the more valuable it becomes. And during a time when trust in institutions is declining, customers fundamentally trust DocuSign with their most important agreements. These are the ingredients to becoming a truly iconic company.

To everyone who helped DocuSign get to the Nasdaq, we offer our heartfelt congratulations. We can’t wait to continue the journey together.

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