SAN FRANCISCO — Electronic signature services provider DocuSign Inc. celebrated the 10th anniversary of federal legislation to encourage paperless transactions with an event that included a videoconference with former President Bill Clinton, who signed the ESIGN Act on June 30, 2000.
DocuSign President and CEO Steve King said the company is hoping lawmakers will pass a resolution designating June 30 as "National ESIGN Day."
Gary Thomas, the National Association of Realtors’ 2011 first vice president-elect, said that for Realtors, e-signatures eliminate the need to fax documents and keep voluminous records, speeding up closings and making it possible to conduct business from anywhere using "Realtor-branded" signatures.
In November, NAR’s venture capital fund, Second Century Ventures LLC, purchased a 5.43 percent stake in DocuSign for $2 million. NAR acquired 2.26 million shares of stock in the deal, plus options to purchase an additional 1 million shares within the next five years for 88.3 cents per share.
In March, DocuSign announced it would offer "Realtor Edition," an electronic signature service tailored and branded for NAR members, at a 20 percent discount.
DocuSign founder Tom Gonser told Inman News that the company is currently adding about 3,000 new real estate customers a month, with growth fueled by word of mouth and the company’s partnership with NAR.
He said DocuSign has roughly 30,000 accounts with real estate associations, brokerages and other firms, with anywhere from one to 1,000 users associated with each account.
The partnership with NAR has been a boon in other ways, Gonser said, with NAR’s political clout being a big help in convincing the Federal Housing Administration to accept e-signatures this spring.
While Fannie and Freddie have well-established policies on e-signatures, "no way were we on our own going to convince FHA to do anything," Gonser said.
Gonser, DocuSign’s "chief strategy officer," said DocuSign compensated Clinton for his participation in the event.
Clinton said via videoconference that the the nonprofit he established in 2005 to foster collaboration between the public and private sectors to solve the world’s most pressing problems — the Clinton Global Initiative — is making the most of electronic signatures as it enters into contracts to provide health care in developing countries around the world.
Clinton said technology is improving the lives of people in both developing and developed countries, but in different ways.
Technology will help bring amenities that citizens of wealthy countries take for granted — such as education, water and power — to developing countries. It can also help wealthy countries grow their economies in sustainable ways, and help deliver services like health care more efficiently, he noted.
In America, Clinton said, technology can be used to "keep pushing the barriers, finding new applications for information technology that allow people to be more productive," and reduce expenses.
In rich countries, systems and industries tend to become rigid, with the people controlling them more interested in solidifying their own positions than in innovating, he said.
"Instead of coming up with a new source of job generation and investment, we kept trying to do more of the same until it spun out of control," Clinton said of the housing boom and bust.