DocuSign began trading publicly on the NASDAQ today, and the vaunted e-signature company’s IPO proved to be a smashing success for shareholders — including the National Association of Realtors’ venture capital fund.
When DocuSign first filed to go public back in March, the company estimated on its Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it would earn $405 million from its IPO with the opening price of $27 a share. The company ended up pricing its shares slightly higher at $29 on Thursday night and raising $629 million, according to CNBC, with shares trading at $38 for much of Friday. That places DocuSign’s approximate valuation at $4.4 billion. Trading closed over $39.
The National Association of Realtors’ venture capital fund Second Century Ventures also received a windfall from the public offering. Before the IPO, Second Century Ventures, which was launched with money from NAR in 2008 and invested in DocuSign nearly a decade ago, owned about 5.6 million shares in the company through “entities affiliated with Second Century Ventures.” These entities planned to sell 1.6 million of those shares in the IPO, according to the SEC filing. That would have netted Second Century at least $46 million at Thursday’s price and over $60 million at the $38 trading price.
“Second Century Ventures and other investors were given the opportunity to offer to sell shares in the DocuSign IPO,” Second Century said in a statement through NAR. “SCV’s Board of Directors voted to offer shares as disclosed in the DocuSign SEC filings. Since that proposed transaction has not yet closed, SCV has no other comment on the matter at this time.”
In its SEC filing, DocuSign calls itself the “no. 1 e-signature solution” and touts its applicability across industries, including real estate.
“Our value is simple to understand: the traditional, paper-based agreement process is manual, slow, expensive and error-prone. We eliminate the paper and automate the process. Doing so allows companies to measure turnaround time in minutes rather than days, substantially reduce costs and largely eliminate errors,” the company wrote.
Interestingly, DocuSign advertised to investors that it has success gaining new business customers because many are already familiar with the brand from their own lives through signing a job offer or “[completing] the purchase of a home” via the platform.
The company told potential investors that its tech can be used within companies across business functions, offering sales contracts, job offers and non-disclosure agreements as its three main examples.
After this IPO, DocuSign plans to pursue growth by expanding across industry verticals, including real estate, healthcare, life sciences and U.S. government agencies. The company also plans to expand further internationally and across more levels of the agreement process. Its main competitor is Adobe.
The market for e-signature platforms, DocuSign warned investors in a section outlining risks, is “relatively new and evolving.” That means that the market could develop more slowly, in a different way than expected or not at all.
The company touted its high-profile customers across industries. In real estate, those customers were Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach, Coldwell Banker Elite, Ellie Mae, JB Goodwin, Leading RE, the National Association of Realtors and NextHome.
Outside of its Second Century backing, DocuSign also noted an arrangement with NAR that provides DocuSign services at a discount to NAR members. DocuSign has paid NAR $900,000 for that deal and related marketing since 2009 and called the arrangement “an important part of our real estate business.”