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French e-signature startup hoping to break US dominance raises €30 million

The e-signature market, dominated by the likes of DocuSign and Adobe, is expected to grow by 24.6% per year over the next decade

A French startup looking to create a European alternative to US-based e-signature giants has raised €30 million (£25.9 million) in Series A round funding. 

Founded in 2011, Yousign aims to become the leading e-signature provider for SMBs which, according to the startup, represent more than 90% of the market and are less likely to be as digitised as larger companies.

Competing against the likes of DocuSign and Adobe, Yousign has set its sights on providing small and medium enterprises with an "instant solution" to document-signing, planning to equip 50,000 European SMBs with its e-signature service by 2024, while also complying with the EU's strict data governance laws.

"Europe has put in place a strong legal framework for data protection, with GDPR for data management and eIDAS for digital identification," said Yousign's cofounder and CEO Luc Pallavidino.

"It is now time to support European companies so that their data can remain at the European level," he said. "Faced with American giants with large scopes and complex products, we have built a solution that is accessible and easy to use, allowing SMBs to sign their first documents within the hour, and not a month."

Last year, it was predicted that the e-signature market would grow by 24.6% per year during the next decade, becoming a €10 billion market by 2030. The growth was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which made it difficult to sign documents in person due to imposed social distancing measures. The electronic method of signing documents is also seen as a more sustainable alternative to the traditional paper route.

Yousign reported that it had grown by 200% over 2020, going from 35 to 120 employees and planning to hire an additional 150 staff within the next 18 months. It also said it plans to achieve annual recurring revenue of at least €70 million (£60.5 million).

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Commenting on these findings, Brian Neider, partner Lead Edge Capital, which led Yousign's Series A funding, said that "there are significant tailwinds in the electronic signature market today".

"We have been incredibly impressed with Yousign's platform and functionality. We believe Yousign is becoming the default e-signature platform for SMBs in Europe," he added.

The news comes weeks after Docusign acquired one of its key partners, Clause, in order to integrate its technology into a broader cloud-based smart contracts platform.

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