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Electronic signature provider DocuSign files to go public: growing fast, cutting losses

  • DocuSign grew revenue more than 50% between 2016 and 2017 while cutting losses slightly.
  • The company's primary competitor is Adobe.
  • It's the latest in a crop of enterprise software IPOs, following Dropbox, Zuora, Pivotal, and Smartsheet.

Electronic signature software company DocuSign on Wednesday filed paperwork to go public on the Nasdaq under the symbol DOCU, showing revenue growth of more than 50 percent from 2016 to 2017 while decreasing losses.

DocuSign's technology is integrated in applications from companies like Google, Oracle, Salesforce and SAP. The company's primary competitor is Adobe, which acquired EchoSign in 2011, according to the S-1 filing the company registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. DocuSign said it also competes with "a select number of niche vendors that focus on specific industries or geographies."

The company narrowed its losses in the year that ended on Jan. 31, 2017. DocuSign ended that year with a $115.4 million net loss on $381.5 million in revenue. In the prior year the net loss was $122.6 million on $250.5 million in revenue.

Docusign CEO Dan Springer
Docusign CEO Dan Springer

More than 91 percent of the company's revenue comes from subscriptions; the rest derives from professional services. Around 83 percent of the company's revenue comes from within the U.S.

DocuSign was founded in 2003 and is headquartered in San Francisco, with 2,255 employees on Jan. 18. The company says it has 350,000 customers and "hundreds of millions of users." Investors include Frazier Technology Ventures, Ignition Partners and Sigma Partners.

Daniel Springer replaced Keith Krach as CEO in January 2017 after working at private equity firm Advent International.

DocuSign operates data centers in the U.S. and Europe, but in May 2017 it signed an agreement with an unnamed cloud infrastructure provider to spend $10 million through the year that will end on Jan. 31, 2021.

DocuSign's filing is the latest in a series of software companies looking to become publicly traded. Other companies that have filed recently include Dropbox, Pivotal, Smartsheet and Zuora.

In the filing on Wednesday DocuSign disclosed that it had a small data breach last year.

"A malicious third party gained temporary access to a separate, non-core system used for service-related announcements that contained a list of email addresses," the company said. "We took immediate action to prevent unauthorized access to this system, put further security controls in place and worked with law enforcement agencies."

Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan are the lead underwriters in the deal.

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the primary source of DocuSign's revenue. The vast majority comes from subscriptions.