DocuSign acquires Liveoak and brings virtual notary services cloud


Amid increasing demand for solutions that enable the remote completion of agreements that traditionally required in-person contact, DocuSign (NASDAQ:DOCU) today announced its acquisition of Austin-based startup, Liveoak Technologies, for $38 million in an all-stock transaction.

Liveoak relies on web-based videoconferencing, identity verification and other collaboration tools to enable users to complete an auditable transaction — something that requires signature verification from a notary — remotely.

DocuSign plans to use Liveoak’s technology to ramp up the launch of DocuSign Notary, a new product set to debut in the Agreement Cloud later this summer. The notary suite focuses on remote online notarization (RON), wherein audio-visual technology is used when the signers and the notary public are in different places, DocuSign said.

The new Notary feature will augment the company’s existing eNotary offering, which enables a notary public to act as an in-person witness to the electronic signing of documents.

While commenting on the acquisition, Liveoak CEO Tim Ramza noted that many people wonder why they still need to sign documents in person, given technological advances made in the last decade. Ramza said that the Covid-19 pandemic has “only exacerbated” this concern.

“Given the state of technology today, people often wonder why they still need to sign any document in-person—and the pandemic has only exacerbated this concern,” said Liveoak CEO, Tim Ramza. “We’ve been working to solve this very issue for years, and we’ve had a strong partnership with DocuSign as a result. By joining forces and fully integrating our solutions now, we can bring the ease and simplicity of DocuSign to the execution of notarized and other complex assisted agreements.

Earlier this year DocuSign scooped up Seal Software, a company focused on AI technology for contracts, to add to the feature set of Agreement Cloud.

Liveoak Technologies was founded in 2014 and is part of the Austin, Texas startup scene. The company raised $13.5 million during its life as a private company, according to Crunchbase.

This acquisition is part of a growing pandemic acquisition trend of sorts, where larger public enterprise companies are plucking early-stage startups, in some cases for relatively bargain prices. Among the recent acquisitions are Apple buying Fleetsmith and ServiceNow acquiring Sweagle last month.

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