DocuSign is committed to making contract management seamless and straightforward for its customers and acquired Seal Software to support that mission. The firm will use its newly acquired technology to augment offerings made through the Agreement Cloud – DocuSign's platform where customers can digitally prepare, sign, and process their arrangements.
Specializing in AI software for agreements, Seal lets customers scan massive collections of contracts by legal concept, as opposed to just keyword, and automatically pulls out and completes a side-by-side comparison of critical clauses and terms. The software also identifies areas of opportunity, risk, insights, and recommendations for how best to proceed.
“Seal was built to make finding, analyzing, and extracting data from contracts simpler and faster,” said John O’Melia, CEO of Seal. “We have a natural synergy with DocuSign, and our team is excited to leverage our AI expertise to help make the Agreement Cloud even smarter. Also, given the company’s scale and expansive vision, becoming part of DocuSign will provide great opportunities for our customers and partners.”
It's a natural next step in their partnership. While DocuSign will continue to sell Seal's services, they will also use artificial intelligence to bolster its CLM (Contract Lifecycle Management) products. The addition of the AI technology will help customers with a "faster, more efficient agreement process," while Seal's customers benefit from better integration with DocuSign's Agreement Cloud solutions.
Started in 2010, Seal isn't exactly a household name, but its customers include big brands like PayPal, Dell, Nokia, and DocuSign itself. According to 2017 research conducted by MarketsandMarkets, it's estimated the legal analytics space will be worth $1.86 billion in two years, with a CAGR of 32 percent over from 2018 to 2022. While the market looks positive for the document management company, the firm has yet to turn a profit. They are doing brisk business and stock prices rose 55 percent versus the US software industry's 22.6 percent.
The $188 million transaction is expected to closer later this year, but both boards have already approved the deal. The companies enjoyed a long partnership before the acquisition proposal – DocuSign sold Seal's analytics tools through its Agreement Cloud and invested $15 million in the AI firm in 2019.
DocuSign was founded by Thomas Gonser and Court Lorenzini in 2003. The internet was still relatively young but Gonser saw potential for electronic data management after his company, NetUpdate, acquired a Seattle-based e-signature company called DocuTouch. The firm held patents for online signatures, and collaboration tools that Lorenzini negotiated to buy from NetUpdate and Gonser left his position shortly after to focus on their fledgling firm DocuSign. The firm began selling its services after zipForm integrated DocuSign’s tools into its virtual real estate forms. The company grew from there and collaborated with well-known tech names like Apple, Paypal, and Salesforce to expand their reach.