Behind The Deal: FedEx Office land 'alliance' with Pat Kinsel's Notarize – Boston Business Journal – The Business Journals
FedEx Office’s 2,200 nationwide stores now offer online notarization services courtesy of a seven-year-old Boston startup.
Notarize Inc., which has 55 employees in the Boston area, last month formed an alliance with FedEx Office, the subsidiary of delivery giant FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) operating stores for printing and shipping services.
Now customers who walk into one of the stores and ask for a notary will be referred to the webpage “FedEx Office Online Notary with Notarize.” Through the portal, customers can connect with a live notary public via video conference and get documents notarized starting at $25 for a single document.
It may seem counterintuitive for an organization like FedEx Office, centered around shipping and scanning physical documents, to partner with a startup that is ultimately reducing the need for paper and in-person interaction. But the deal is a “win-win” for both parties, FedEx Office and Notarize CEO Pat Kinsel explained.
For Kinsel, a big focus in the last two years has been “reaching customers where they are,” he said in a recent interview. And FedEx Office has a lot of small business clients, he added.
In 2019, Kinsel signed a partnership with Dropbox Inc. (Nasdaq: DBX) to make online notarization services available to users of the cloud-based file storage and sharing software. And shortly after, he reached a similar deal with Adobe Inc. (Nasdaq: ADBE), the Photoshop software maker, to let customers digitally notarize documents within Adobe Document Cloud.
“It’s increasingly a big focus of ours, partners like Adobe and FedEx, and being a value-added service they can offer to their clients,” Kinsel said.
Kinsel said that FedEx Office has committed to promoting the partnership with Notarize, and that each company gets part of the $25 price paid by customers to notarize their documents.
Aimee DiCicco, a senior vice president of revenue operations and business development at FedEx Office, wrote in an email that FedEx Office used to offer notary services in a small subset of its stores, but later pivoted to focus on core services of printing, packing and shipping. The partnership with Notarize, which FedEx office believes has the infrastructure in place to execute online notarizations anytime and within the accompanying rules and regulations, allowed FedEx Office to bring the service back at a national level.
“Customers needing notary services often have other print and business services needs and will be happy to have a one-stop shop for services to support their business,” DiCicco wrote.
FedEx Office recently faced tough times because of the pandemic. In late 2020, FedEx said it temporarily closed “a small number” of FedEx Office stores and operated others at reduced hours. In public documents, the company said in 2020 it recorded goodwill impairment charges of $358 million, mostly from its FedEx Office reporting unit.
“The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in store closures and declining print revenue at FedEx Office during the fourth quarter of 2020, which negatively impacted its near-term operating performance,” the company said. However, normal operations were substantially resumed during 2021, FedEx said.
“Banks have branches, and they have online services,” said Kinsel of Notarize. “We help our banking customers bridge that offline and online world with our customers; we’re helping FedEx bridge that offline and online world for their customers. We say, we digitize the last mile of transactions.”
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