This Electronic Notary Startup Just Raised $130 Million After A Year Of 600% Growth – Forbes
Pat Kinsel is the founder and CEO of Notarize.
This time last year, Pat Kinsel, founder and CEO of electronic notary startup Notarize, was fielding 3,000 calls a week as real estate brokers and financial advisors clamored to get set up on the service as in-person business was put on pause. Notarize started onboarding clients across industries it hadn’t much worked with previously, like wealth management, while traction in markets like real estate soared by more than 800%. The startup was able to smoothly kick into hyperdrive from the regulatory infrastructure it began building by necessity since its launch in 2015. “It was as though the entire world tried to digitize in a 10-day period,” Kinsel tells Forbes.
When Covid-19 hit and the world went on lockdown, industries that operated exclusively on paper were left behind, scrambling to navigate the regulatory intricacies between the physical world and the Internet. Boston-based Notarize had the process down cold. “The reason we were doing well prior to Covid is because we had really created legal clarity in the market. Online is infinitely more convenient, but if it doesn’t have legal standing, it’s pointless.”
Kinsel knows all about a lack of legal standing, as well as the inconveniences of the notary process, which he encountered after selling Spindle, his mobile data collection startup, to Twitter in 2013. The transaction resulted in a ton of documents that needed to be notarized, and when the notary stamped, but forgot to sign them, the documents became invalid. This began a weeks-long process to ratify the situation, which Kinsel vowed to never do again. In an effort to eliminate this pain point by bringing the process online, Kinsel spent the last few years, and tens of millions of dollars, navigating the thorny notarization regulatory system, which intersects different requirements at the federal and state levels, and in some instances, county. Kinsel himself has traveled to 40 states and helped pass 31 pieces of state legislation to help pave the way for Notarize, which proved critical when the demand poured in last March.
To keep up with growing demand, Notarize moved up its Series D funding from later this year, announcing a $130 million round on Thursday with a post-valuation of $760 million. The round was led by Canapi Ventures with participation from CapitalG and TrueBridge Capital Partners in addition to banks like Citi and Wells Fargo. (Disclosure: TrueBridge is a Forbes data partner for several lists.) The company has raised $213 million in total and seen 600% revenue growth since it collected a $35 million Series C in March 2020. “If we never sign another customer, but just process the volume, we are a $700 million revenue-business,” Kinsel says.
The key to Notarize’s growth is more than just its core stamp and sign function. It’s the platform’s ability to navigate regulatory compliance, says Neil Underwood, partner at Canapi Ventures . “Identity and trust are such core themes and I think Pat and his team can expand into much greater function than just notary,” Underwood adds. “Anything where you have to validate a transaction, that market is so huge, and the fun thing to think about is that Notarize can be the standard of trust.”
Trust is key as Notarize continues to onboard major companies like Adobe, Zillow, and Transamerica, and experience skyrocketing growth over the past year in financial services (up 324%), auto insurance (up 219%) and real estate (up 835%). Adding the healthcare industry to the company’s services is on the table for later this year, says Kinsel, as are expanding capabilities in wills and estate notarization. Notarize will use the new capital to expand its team.
“We are very focused on making these things possible. We want to be first and move these markets forward,” Kinsel says. “ There is still so much regulatory momentum, new industries being clarified or large commercial organizations moving in the space for the first time. Our growth is continuing month over month.”
I’m a reporter covering venture capital, startups and investors out of New York. I was previously a reporter at the Venture Capital Journal and Private Debt Investor. I
I’m a reporter covering venture capital, startups and investors out of New York. I was previously a reporter at the Venture Capital Journal and Private Debt Investor. I graduated early from Emerson College in 2017 with a degree in journalism. Follow me on twitter at @rebecca_szkutak or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.