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I closed a large transaction yesterday without signing a single piece of physical paper. It was painless. The entire negotiation was done using email and DocuSign.
I’m doing this at least once a week at this point. Either with DocuSign or EchoSign, the two services that seem to be most popular. I generally hate paper and have almost no paper in my world anymore so being able to eliminate the “print out the signature pages”, “sign the signature pages”, “scan the signed document”, and “email the signed document” step is a joy.
There are a few obvious other benefits. The first is workflow. Signing a doc is part of my workflow, no matter where I am. There is virtually no hassle – I just bring up the doc in the web, read whatever I need to, and sign where required. In addition, I see who else has signed, or hasn’t signed, which is helpful in the context of other investors and board members. When the sigs are completed, a PDF is emailed back to me and I can toss it in the company folder in Dropbox where we store all signed docs. Trivial workflow.
I also have an archive of everything I’ve signed. With the electronic signatures, there’s no more hunting down a doc. I just go to the doc stored in my account. I have another version in Dropbox, but I don’t even have to fight through finding the right one.
Now, every time I have to physically sign something I’m mildly annoyed. I’m going to push everyone I work with to go all electronic.
Unfortunately we aren’t investors in any of these companies. I remember being pitched several in the mid-2000s and just never engaged. That was a miss on my part. But at least I can benefit from them!