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January 20, 2017updated 31 Jan 2017 4:19pm

DocuSign CEO: New chief Daniel Springer talks innovation, success as a public company and making paper obsolete with CBR

The 18-month search is over, with Daniel Springer stepping into the role of CEO at DocuSign. The new chief exec sits down with CBR's Ellie Burns to discuss his vision for the company, from culture and innovation, to a possible IPO.

By Ellie Burns

The 18-month search is over for DocuSign, with the electronic signature firm appointing Daniel Springer CEO. Replacing current chief Keith Krach, the search for a new CEO was a turbulent one, with Google exec Rick Osterloh close to signing last March, only to pull out at the last minute.

Having previously sold his previous company Responsys to Oracle for $1.6 billion in 2014, Springer took time out after the acquisition to spend time with the family. However, it now seems the CEO is ready to get back at it, saying that he is ‘coming back home’ with his new DocuSign role.

“Frankly, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. DocuSign has great customers, excellent products, proven world class leadership and an incredibly talented team around the world,” Springer told CBR’s Ellie Burns.

“DocuSign also has the kind of culture that makes it really feel like I’m coming back home. So I just couldn’t turn it down.”

The appointment of Springer has already raised much speculation about a possible IPO for the signature software maker, a company which was last valued at around $3 billion. Those speculating have grounds to do so, with Springer having taken Responsys public three years before its acquisition by Oracle. Although Springer told CBR that it’s too early to answer the going public question, he was confident of its success if it were happen.

“It’s only my second day on the job, so it’s a bit too early for me to answer this question. That said, I can tell you that from my vantage point, this is a company that has all the right things in place – scale, growth, predictable revenue, and a very strong team – to be successful as a public company.”

While an IPO may be on the horizon for the company, Springer’s top priority moving forward will be ‘to transform how business gets done for customers of every size, industry and geography.” Innovation will be key in delivering that transformation, but the CEO was keen to stress the importance of the people producing and developing that innovation for customers.

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“Without our people, we don’t have a business, so we need to continue to attract the most talented people to work for DocuSign. To reach this goal we must ensure that our culture is constantly evolving in a way that entices the very best candidates and creates an environment that’s the best place they’ve ever worked.”

That will be music to the ears of the company, with the CEO search having made waves amongst its top ranks. In addition to the near-hiring of Osterloh, top execs including the chief operating officer and chief product officer reportedly left the company suddenly last year. In addition to this, investor Fidelity Investments wrote down its stake in the company which raised concerns over the real worth of the company. However, that move by Fidelity belies the phenomenal growth the company has seen recently. Last year the company reported 125% YoY growth, with 250,000 companies and more than 100 million users generating nearly a billion global transactions. The challenge for Springer will be to keep this momentum going.

“We will sustain this hyper growth in three key ways. Firstly, we are going to continue to expand the DocuSign Global Network through our strong partnerships with Microsoft, Salesforce, Google, Apple, SAP, Deloitte and IBM, to name but a few.

“Secondly, innovation within our product and platform. Everyone I’ve talked to loves DocuSign and the DocuSign experience. It’s a highly viral product as our customers are continually exposing new people to DocuSign all of the time. That’s contributing to 130,000 new users joining the DocuSign Global Trust Network every day,” Springer told CBR.

“The final piece of the puzzle is the DocuSign team. We have more than 2,000 employees around the world who are passionately focused on customer success. From London to San Francisco, Dublin to Sao Paulo, the DocuSign team is critical to sustaining our hyper growth.”

A big challenge for DocuSign lies in making its biggest rival obsolete – not an easy task when you consider that rival has been around for circa 2,000 years. Declaring war on paper, Springer told CBR:

“I think the biggest opportunity for DocuSign lies in replacing our key competitor in the docusign new CEO speaks to CBRmarket – paper, and doing things the way they’ve always been done. We have the ability to render paper and old ways of transacting business redundant by replacing them with a method that is easier, faster, more reliable and secure. More than that, DocuSign helps people take care of the things they need to do so that they can focus on the things – often of higher value – that they want to do.”

Springer may prove to be the calming remedy needed by DocuSign after a turbulent past year in the boardroom. His focus on innovation, expansion and culture is checking all the boxes for a company that wants to maintain and improve its phenomenal growth. Although past and possible future success in going public will dominate conversation around Springer and the company, his current focus is the expansion and innovation of the company wanting you to sign on the electronic line.

“I expect we will continue to be the global standard and industry leader by an even wider margin as we bring new innovations to market, expand into new geographies, and introduce new solutions across industries that further help our customers achieve success.

“We’ll keep driving against our mission to ensure anyone can send, sign and manage agreements and collect payments anytime, anywhere and on any device.”

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