The DocuSign investment in Seal and Support for Agreement Cloud
I am delighted with today’s announcement of a new round of investment that will help Seal continue to fund its momentum and growth strategy. The investor, DocuSign, is best known as the #1 eSignature vendor with over 477,000 customers and hundreds of millions of users in over 180 countries worldwide. However, they have a much broader strategic vision than just digital signatures. Over the last few years, they have helped organizations connect and automate not only how they sign agreements but also how they prepare, act on and manage them as well. This transformation of the system of agreement process culminated in last week’s announcement of the DocuSign Agreement Cloud.
The Agreement Cloud is a suite of products and integrations that DocuSign has brought to market to deliver on the vision set out in last year’s Rise of Modern Systems of Agreement white paper. The paper outlined DocuSign’s vision of an integrated and optimized agreement process, from the preparation phase through to managing the finalized approved agreement. The DocuSign Agreement Cloud comprises a number of products in each phase, each market-leading and integrated with the DocuSign core technology, to deliver this seamless and responsive agreement process. In the Manage phase, DocuSign offers two key software solutions, Total Search by Seal Software and Intelligent Insights by Seal Software. These AI-powered products locate, analyze and surface insight into the content and terms in agreements both within the DocuSign envelopes and external to the DocuSign repository. The products are part of our relationship with DocuSign announced in June 2018, with resale beginning at the end of that year.
At one level DocuSign’s strategic investment into Seal signifies a validation of their choice of technology partner for the Manage phase of the Agreement Cloud. On another, it is a sign of DocuSign’s ambition to move the management of agreements (or in our vernacular, contracts), from a back-office, database-centric function to an open, cloud-based front-office centric design in which the entire agreement process is integrated and frictionless. Elements of the process have been addressed before with tools such as Contract Lifecycle Management systems, authoring tools, digital signatures and so on, but this is the first offering that brings all these together in the cloud.
It is clear that contract analytics is now becoming a category in its own right and this market movement is helping fuel Seal’s growth. Last week, a respected legal AI website, Artificial Lawyer, covered a story about UnitedLex, the leading enterprise legal services provider and their damascene change of heart from skeptic to advocate in their embracement of legal AI technology.
As Artificial Lawyer wrote, “It’s also a major additional validation of Seal – not that it really needed one given its long-running success at selling its legal AI review tech into the world’s largest companies. But, still, when a legal AI skeptic converts to a believer, it’s always great to see.”
DocuSign is clearly a “believer” and there is no better evidence than backing it up with financial investment.