DocuSign, Inc. (NASDAQ: DOCU) is a San Francisco-based company that helps organizations connect and automate their agreements process. Founded in 2003, the company allows its users to sign, send, and manage documents electronically. DocuSign is the pioneer of the electronic signature industry, and today, it controls more than 77.64% of the e-signature market, according to Datanyze.
The platform has more than 1,000,000 paying users, more than 3000 of which are federal, state, and local government entities. As a leader in its industry, DocuSign has some pretty big shoes to fill—and it does so with aplomb. But given its size and success, it’s only natural that the company has some competitors.
A study by Fortune Business Insights forecasts that the Digital Signature Market will grow at a CAGR of 36.1% from 2022 to 2029. As of 2021, the market was worth an estimated $3 billion. If the forecast is accurate, the market will be worth $35.03 billion towards the end of the decade. The DocuSign competitors’ landscape is, therefore, ripe with opportunity.
This DocuSign competitors analysis closely examines some of the company’s top challengers in the digital signature market. We’ll look at the competitive advantages, target markets, business models, and financials of these DocuSign alternatives to see how they stack up.
Bottom Line Up Front
DocuSign is a leader in the electronic signature industry. One of its competitive advantages is its focus on compliance. The company has also built a comprehensive ecosystem of integration partners. Its closest competitor, Adobe Sign, stands out as a comprehensive e-signature solution with a large customer base and the backing of a rich company.
List of DocuSign Competitors
DocuSign’s Financials and Growth Strategy
DocuSign went public in April 2018 through an IPO that saw it raise $629 million. The company trades on the NASDAQ under the ticker DOCU and has a market capitalization of $9.603 billion as of October 8, 2022. According to Crunchbase, DocuSign has $536.2 million in funding before its debut on the public markets. The pre-IPO valuation of the company was $3 billion.
Even before going public, DocuSign was a high-growth company. In 2016, it posted revenue of $229.127 million, which grew to $381.459 million in 2017. In its most recent fiscal year, which ended on January 31, 2022, DocuSign posted $2.1 billion in revenue, up 45% from $1.453 million in the previous year. The company hasn’t been profitable on a GAAP basis since going public, but it has been reporting a positive EBITDA since 2020.
DocuSign operates a freemium business model in which it offers a basic version of its product for free and charges for premium features. The company’s primary source of revenue is its subscription business, which accounted for more than 95% of its total revenue in 2022. Revenues from professional services and other sources made up the rest.
Even with profitability on the horizon, DocuSign isn’t resting on its laurels. The company has aggressive long-term growth plans that involve expanding its addressable market and increasing its foothold in existing markets. Through its land and expand strategy, DocuSign plans to increase its customer base while also upselling and cross-selling its existing customers.
The company’s land and expand strategy is a success, and most customers love the eSignature solution. For investors, it shows a path to profitability and means that the company isn’t just focused on growth for growth’s sake. With such a solid foundation, it’s no wonder that DocuSign is one of its industry’s most closely watched companies. However, only time will tell if it can successfully implement its expansion plans and fend off the competitive threats posed by its rivals.
DocuSign Competitors Analysis
DocuSign’s competitive landscape comprises a mix of large and small companies, all of which are trying to take a piece of the digital signature pie. Given the growing demand for digital signatures, there’s plenty of room for multiple companies to succeed in this market. However, not all of DocuSign’s rivals have similar business models or growth plans.
Here’s a detailed analysis of some of the company’s most significant competitors.
1. Adobe Acrobat Sign
Adobe Acrobat Sign is one of the most direct DocuSign alternatives on the market. The product is part of Adobe’s Document Cloud suite, which also includes PDF creation, editing, and management tools. Acrobat Sign is a cloud-based solution that allows users to create, send, track, and manage digital signatures.
Adobe systems acquired EchoSign, the company that formed the basis for Acrobat Sign, in 2011 for $400 million. Later, Adobe integrated EchoSign’s features into its Acrobat software, developed mobile applications, and rebranded the product as Adobe Sign. The product integrates with products within and without the Adobe ecosystem, including Microsoft Office 365, Drobox, and Salesforce.
Adobe’s target market is businesses of all sizes, and it offers Adobe Acrobat Sign as a standalone product and as part of its Document Cloud suite. It competes with DocuSign on features, prices, and integrations. Because of its close association with the Adobe brand, Acrobat Sign has a leg up on DocuSign regarding recognition and mindshare.
Moreover, Adobe is a large company with significant resources, which it can use to invest in Acrobat Sign’s development and marketing. In FY 2021, Adobe’s total revenue was $15.79 billion, and its net income was $4.822 billion. The strong financials allow Adobe to outspend DocuSign on research, development, and marketing.
The company continually releases new features and updates to keep the product competitive. For example, in 2021, Adobe launched a 30-day Enterprise trial of Acrobat Sign and expanded its integration with other Adobe products.
However, DocuSign still stands out as the market leader due to its larger customer base, long history, and more comprehensive feature set. Moreover, Adobe’s focus on its Creative Cloud offerings means that it doesn’t give Acrobat Sign the attention it deserves. As a result, DocuSign has a better chance to capitalize on the growing demand for digital signatures.
HelloSign is another cloud-based solution that offers eSignatures and related workflow management tools. Founded in 2010, the company is a subsidiary of Dropbox and has its headquarters in San Francisco. Dropbox acquired HelloSign in February 2019 for $230 million. The acquisition was part of Dropbox’s strategy to expand its suite of productivity tools and offer a more comprehensive solution to its customers.
Like DocuSign, HelloSign offers comprehensive features for creating, sending, and managing digital signatures. HelloSign’s API allows developers to integrate the product with other business applications. The company’s main competitive advantage is its strong association with Dropbox. The integration between the two products is tight, and customers who use Dropbox for file sharing and storage are likely to find HelloSign’s digital signature solution appealing.
Moreover, because HelloSign is part of a larger company, it has the resources to advance its product offerings and go toe-to-toe with DocuSign on features and prices. Dropbox had $2.158 billion in revenue in 2021, which is close to what DocuSign generated in the same year. The companies are neck and neck in terms of financial resources.
However, because DocuSign operates as a standalone product, it has more flexibility to pursue its growth strategy. Moreover, HelloSign doesn’t have the same brand recognition as DocuSign, which gives the latter a competitive advantage. HelloSign will likely continue to play catch up to DocuSign in the digital signature space.
SignNow is a SaaS platform that offers electronic signature solutions for businesses of all sizes. Founded in 2011, the company has its headquarters in Minneapolis. The company strongly focuses on compliance and offers features such as biometric signing and tamper-proof documents. The product integrates with major business applications, including Microsoft Office 365, Google Docs, Salesforce, and SAP.
The SignNow website shows the company has over 20 million users and about 700 employees. While it’s unclear how many of these are paying customers, we believe the company has strong growth potential. Barracuda Networks acquired SignNow in February 2013 and sold it to airSlate in April 2017. AirSlate is a Colorado-based company that offers a platform for creating, managing, and automating digital workflows.
AirSlate doesn’t have the same financial firepower as DocuSign or Adobe, but it’s still a formidable competitor. In June 2022, it raised $51.5 million in a financing round led by G Squared, a venture capital firm. The funding saw the valuation of the company hit $1.25 billion. While the valuation is way lower than the revenues of its larger competitors, it’s still an impressive achievement for a company less than ten years old.
We can argue that SignNow’s association with AirSlate gives it a competitive advantage. But it doesn’t have the same brand recognition as DocuSign. Unlike Adobe and HelloSign, SignNow doesn’t have the benefit of being part of a larger company with a well-known brand. As a result, it will likely continue to play catch up to its larger competitors.
PandaDoc is a document automation software that offers eSignatures and other workflow management tools. The company operates a SaaS business model and offers its solutions on a subscription basis. Founded in 2013, the company has its headquarters in San Francisco, but its main offices are in St. Petersburg, Florida.
PandaDoc strongly focuses on sales teams and offers CRM integration, document analytics, and built-in payment processing features. The company has more than 40,000 customers and over 300 employees. Part of its growth strategy is to focus on specific industries and offer solutions tailored to the needs of these sectors. For example, it offers real estate document automation and healthcare-specific solutions.
According to Crunchbase, PandaDoc has $51.1 million in total funding from 15 investors. The company’s latest funding round was a Series C in September 2021, when it raised an undisclosed amount. This funding saw its valuation hit $1 billion, which makes it a “unicorn” company, the first one with Belarusian roots.
PandaDoc is a strong competitor to DocuSign. The company’s features are sophisticated, with a strong focus on automating workflows. However, it doesn’t have the same brand recognition or financial firepower. If the company can continue to grow its customer base and increase its revenues, it could pose a serious threat to DocuSign.
5. Nintex AssureSign
AssureSign is a document signing software that offers eSignatures and other workflow management tools. The company has a relatively long history, dating back to 2006 when it operated as an offering by Third Party Verification. Later in 2008, it became an independent company and started to focus on electronic signatures.
The company offered its solutions on a subscription basis, focusing on enterprise customers. In 2021, Nintex acquired AssureSign, and now the company operates as a subsidiary named Nintex AssureSign. The acquisition was a strategic move by Nintex, as it gave the company a strong foothold in the electronic signature market.
AssureSign has more than 100,000 users who access the platform every month. Bringing forth the Nintex AssureSign, the electronic signature software is now deeply integrated with Nintex’s workflow management solutions. The result is a robust offering that allows users to manage their workflows and sign documents electronically.
Nintex AssureSign is a strong competitor to DocuSign. While it doesn’t have a long history like DocuSign, the company has a strong product offering and the backing of a relatively large company. AssureSign’s security and speed are among its key selling points, and it has been able to win over some big names in a short period. Some of the world’s largest companies as part of its clientele, including Amazon, Microsoft, AstraZeneca, and Chevron.
DocuSign SWOT Analysis
Below is a peak into DocuSign’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats:
- DocuSign is a market leader in electronic signature software
- The company has a solid financial position with over $2.1 billion in annual revenues
- DocuSign has a global reach with customers in over 180 countries
- The company has a strong brand with over 1,000,000 paying customers
- An extensive product suite that includes eSignature, workflows, and compliance
- DocuSign isn’t profitable yet and has been burning through cash
- Reliance on the US market makes it vulnerable to an economic slowdown
- Complaints about the company’s customer service
- Growing demand for electronic signatures and workflow automation
- Entering new markets and industries
- Acquiring complementary companies or products
- Intense competition from well-funded startups and established tech companies
- Changes in government regulations
- A slowdown in the global economy could hurt demand for DocuSign’s product
- New technologies, such as Blockchain, could disrupt DocuSign’s business
- Forgery and fraudulent use of DocuSign’s products
DocuSign Competitors Analysis (FAQs)
Question: Who is the biggest competitor of DocuSign?
Answer: The biggest competitor of DocuSign is Adobe Sign. Adobe Acrobat Sign offers some of the same features as DocuSign, including electronic signatures, legal compliance, and document management. It also enjoys the backing of a large and well-established software company. Adobe Sign is worth considering if you’re looking for an alternative to DocuSign.
Question: Why is DocuSign the best?
Answer: DocuSign is the best because it offers the most comprehensive electronic signatures and document management features. The software is one of the most secure and user-friendly on the market. DocuSign also integrates with a wide range of other business software, making it easy to use in any workflow.
Question: Is DocuSign a market leader?
Answer: DocuSign controls more than 77% of the electronic signature market, making it the clear leader in this space. The company has been around since 2003 and has over 1,000,000 customers worldwide. DocuSign is a public company with strong financial backing.
Question: Why is DocuSign so valuable?
Answer: DocuSign has strong financials. The company has fewer long-term debts and more cash than its competitors. While it’s not profitable, its growth prospects are strong. The company’s enterprise value is also much higher than its market capitalization, indicating that the market believes DocuSign will be a big player in the future.
DocuSign is the clear leader in electronic signature software. The company has a long history, strong financials, and a comprehensive product offering. While it faces some challenges, such as intense competition and reliance on the US market, DocuSign is well-positioned to continue its growth in the years ahead.
Adobe Acrobat Sign is the most similar to DocuSign among its top competitors. Other companies vying for a spot in this market include HelloSign, SignNow, and PandaDoc. While each has its strengths and weaknesses, DocuSign is the most established player with the most robust financial backing.