E-signature giant DocuSign filed for an IPO this week, hoping to raise an unspecified amount in an IPO expected to happen sometime in April, according to a report in TechCrunch.
The company’s S-1 offers a first ever look at the company’s financials. DocuSign generated 2017 revenues of $381.5 million, up 52% over 2016 revenues of $250.5 million. The companies net loss was $115.4 million in 2017, a modest improvement over its $122.6 million 2016 loss.
As of January 31, 2017, DocuSign had 285,000 customers, of which 30,000 it describes as “enterprises or commercial” businesses. The remainder are presumably SMBs, which it defines as between 10 and 249 employees, or VSBs, which are companies with fewer rhan 10 on staff. DocuSign services the larger end of the market with direct sales and the VSB end of the market via self-service.
Similar to DropBox, which also recently filed for an IPO, DocuSign benefits from its users becoming its customers. “Most prospects know us from being signers,” DocuSign says in its filing.
DocuSigns priorities include expanding its total customer base, growing the average subscription value of customers (which it calls the dollar based net retention rate) and expand the share of revenue from international markets. On the latter, DocuSign increase share of revenue from non-U.S. markets from 16% in 2016 to 17% in 2017. The company would like to increase that pace.
On the matter on expanding subscription value, adding on services would appear to be one way for DocuSign to achieve this. Again, like DropBox is for file transfers, DocuSign is seen largely as a single product company for e-signatures. However the company has expanded its product suite somewhat, adding payments and general business services. We’ll be interested to see if the company moves in the direction of Square, GoDaddy and others that have used their original solution — domains, point of sale — as a jumping off point to add services for front end marketing or back end operations or finance.
This route is by no means a layup. Square has claimed some success with its Appointments app but has generally been vague on how many of its customers buy additional services. And GoDaddy admits that it faces a challenge in moving its customers beyond the core services it is known for (domains, websites, domain-based email, etc.) The challenge is in convincing SMBs to stay with a company when their needs expand beyond the service the company is known for, whether it’s domains, point of sale, or e-signatures.
Speaking at the Cloud Adoption Summit last December, GoDaddy SVP Irana Wasti said her company struggles to add services once tenuous solo operators begin to grow into more stable and substantial businesses. As they start adding staff and requiring additional services beyond the basics of domain, website, email, GoDaddy isn’t always the resource they think of first.
“That is when they start to shop around,” Wasti said in her on stage interview at the Summit, “When in fact we could have provided those services.”
It is notoriously difficult for any company to convince SMBs to remain loyal when their needs expand beyond the service the company is known for, whether it’s domains, point of sale, or e-signatures. Breaking through this challenge requires a sharp focus on the customer experience being delivered for the core product. This makes it possible to make the case for additional products and services.
Note: DocuSign’s VP of Commercial Sales Jeff Perry also spoke at the Cloud Adoption Summit.