Lazing on a remote beach in Mexico in 2009, Sunil Patro didn’t mind too much when his holiday was interrupted by a call from a company offering him a job he really wanted. But the catch was that Patro’s new employer was demanding that the contract be signed straight away – and all he had was his mobile phone. In that moment, the idea for Signeasy began to take shape.
“I’d worked in innovative technology companies for several years, always aiming to solve customers’ pain points,” Patro recalls. “This was a pain point I was experiencing for myself.”
Signeasy was his response. At the time, other businesses focused on the electronic signature market did not offer a mobile phone app that people such as Patro could use to send and receive contracts for signature. “We spent a year building an app and launched it in 2010,” Patro explains. “When Apple featured us as one of their top 100 apps worldwide, we knew we were doing something right.”
More than a decade later, Signeasy will today announce a significant milestone. Its technology has now been used to sign 100 million contracts. A business founded because Patro got frustrated on the beach now has 10 million users at 48,000 companies in 100 countries worldwide. “Our point of differentiation has always been that we focus on what the end user wants and needs,” says Patro of the company’s success.
Key strategic decisions along the way have certainly helped. Early on, Signeasy decided to focus on small and medium-sized enterprises that needed an off-the-shelf solution because they lacked the technical resources of larger firms, which often develop technology solutions in-house. Groups such as the self-employed and small business owners were often doing business on the road, Patro reasoned, and needed simple solutions they could access on their mobiles.
The Covid-19 pandemic also proved to be a watershed moment. With businesses worldwide forced to work remotely – and employees often lacking IT infrastructure in their own homes – the demand for simple solutions to everyday business problems such as Signeasy went through the roof. The fact so many organisations have embraced remote or hybrid working as a permanent arrangement has seen that demand sustained since the crisis.
Indeed, this is a market that just continues to grow and grow. Market research consultant IDC predicts that the worldwide eSignature software market will be worth $6.4 billion by 2025, up from $2.3 billion in 2020 – a compound annual growth rate of almost 23%.
Signeasy’s ambitions have grown alongside the demand for its most basic mobile product. “The signing of a contract is just one moment in a chain of events,” Patro points out. “At each stage in that chain, there is potential to simplify and automate to be more efficient – our electronic signature app can be just a gateway technology.”
In that context, the company has built a suite of workflow management tools. The aim is to help businesses to digitalise many of the paper-based processes that sit behind developing and issuing contracts, and processing them once they have been signed and received, so that functions such as finance, operations and HR then take the appropriate next steps.
It’s advances like this that enable businesses to stay relevant and competitive, Patro believes. “Our business has always evolved, trying new things to solve those customer pain points,” he says. “That is how we move forward.”
Indeed, while Signeasy still counts many small and medium businesses as customers, large enterprise-scale firms have also signed up. The fact its solutions integrate with Google Workspace, Office 365, Salesforce and Dropbox has added to that broad appeal.
Remarkably, Signeasy has come this far with little or no external funding – it took its first investment only in 2020. “We always wanted to stay focused and to control our own destiny,” Patro says. In any case, he argues, collaborations with partners don’t have to mean taking on their capital – joint enterprises and integrations can be just as valuable, he says.
Patro isn’t ruling out fundraising in the future, but his attention now is on growing the existing business organically. Areas of focus include building out additional security features and functionality, as well as adding to Signeasy’s automation offering. More broadly, he’s hoping that 100 million contracts is just a starting point. “We have just begun and are more excited than ever on the rewarding journey to 1 billion contracts,” he says.