Notarize, a startup that offers services to legally notarize real estate documents online, just raised $20 million in funding from giants including homebuilder Lennar and real estate holding company Realogy, among others.
Notarize made the announcement on Thursday, bringing its total money raised since launching two years ago to $31 million.
The latest funding round also included money from Polaris Partners, Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, Fifth Wall Ventures and Second Century Ventures — the latter of which is the venture arm of the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Notarize works by getting professional notaries to go over documents via video call. Since its launch, the company started quickly expanding into other services, including a system for fully digital online home purchase closings and online refinancing.
“You can search for a home online, you can take a virtual tour, you can even apply and get approved in minutes, but when it comes to the closing, not much has changed in the last 30 years,” Adam Pase, Notarize’s co-founder and chief operating officer, told Inman.
“The participants in the round are really making a statement that the real estate industry is adopting online closings.”
The real estate industry, which still relies heavily on paperwork in the final steps of a property sale, has made up a large part of Notarize’s client base — the company was selected to join the NAR’s REach Accelerator program last year.
With the new funding, Notarize plans to expand the company to support more transactions and get real estate agents to join in on the final notarization process as right now the step is mostly done through title and lending companies.
“We all know, in real estate, it takes a village to get a transaction on a home,” Pase said. “Despite all the work that a Realtor does, all of it hinges on that closing experience.”
Now that they have invested in Notarize, Realogy and Lennar will also be integrating the online services that the company offers into its own real estate, relocation and homebuilding services.
“By offering a digital closing option, TRG also helps Realogy provide its affiliated real estate agents the ability to provide customers with an end-to-end digital real estate transaction experience, which fits Realogy’s strategy to leverage data and technology to better serve its agents,” said Walter Mullen, TRG’s chief strategy officer, told Inman. “The recent investment is dedicated to that focus and the digital evolution of the real estate process to make real estate agents more competitive in the marketplace.”
“Online notarization is an essential component of the digital homebuying experience, and we’re pleased to launch an initial program with Notarize this year,” said Bruce Gross, CEO of Lennar Financial Services, in a statement.
“We are excited to provide a new resource that will improve the homebuying experience and enable our customers to move into their dream homes faster.”