Why DocuSign Is Buying Seal Software For $188 Million In Cash

By Amit Chowdhry ● March 2, 2020
  • DocuSign recently announced its intent to acquire leading contract analytics and AI technology provider Seal Software for $188 million in cash.

DocuSign recently announced its intent to acquire leading contract analytics and AI technology providers Seal Software for $188 million in cash. This news builds on the existing relationship between the two companies.

DocuSign is already reselling Seal’s flagship analytics and machine learning application as part of the DocuSign Agreement Cloud — which is the company’s suite of applications and integrations for automating and connecting the entire agreement process. Plus DocuSign also made a strategic investment in Seal in March last year.

Through the acquisition, DocuSign can integrate Seal’s technology and value proposition more comprehensively across the Agreement Cloud and deliver greater value to companies looking to prepare, sign, act-on, and manage the agreements that are critical to their business.

Launched in 2010, Seal has been recognized as one of the pioneers in AI-driven contract analytics. And its technology can rapidly search large collections of agreements by legal concepts (rather than just by keywords), automatically extract and compare clauses and terms side-by-side, quickly identify areas of risk and opportunity, and deliver actionable insights which help solve legal and business challenges.

There are many cases of companies already realizing the benefits of leveraging Seal AI in their agreement processes. For example, one large international information-services company reduced the time spent on legal reviews by 75% by using DocuSign and Seal technologies. And an international telecom company based in EMEA reduced the legal review time on customer agreements by more than 80%. Plus a global financial services leader automated the analysis of over 2.6 million contractual data points for critical supplier agreements. Also, a global aviation supplier reviewed over 25,000 agreements in just five business days as part of a corporate restructuring.

After the deal is closed, DocuSign will continue to sell Seal’s analytics application. And it will also integrate and leverage Seal’s AI technology to augment DocuSign CLM — one of the market’s leading contract lifecycle management solutions. This will help DocuSign CLM to automatically categorize clauses, extract their key terms, and then use that information to drive workflow. For example, it will automatically route content to specific reviewers based on risk analysis and corporate policies.

For DocuSign customers, these capabilities will provide faster and more efficient agreement processes. Plus Seal customers will in turn benefit from deeper access to the full capability of the DocuSign Agreement Cloud especially document generation and advanced workflows.

DocuSign is also expecting Seal’s technology to make the artificial intelligence foundation of the Agreement Cloud smarter as well. Built in part by DocuSign’s acquisition of technology from machine-learning startup Appuri in 2017, this foundation supports features like auto-tagging that are already offered today. And these auto-tagging tools utilize artificial intelligence to automatically detect where to put electronic tags on a document for signatures, dates, and other fields—which is a task that previously required human effort and judgment. And Seal’s technology will add a new range of artificial intelligence capabilities, driven by advanced natural language processing, text analytics, and semantic analytics.

This acquisition has been approved by the board of directors of DocuSign and Seal and by the stockholders of Seal. And the acquisition is expected to close in the first half of DocuSign’s fiscal year.

Key Quotes:

“As the Agreement Cloud company, DocuSign is about digitally transforming the very foundation of doing business: agreements and agreement processes. We believe that AI will play a vital role in this transformation. And by integrating Seal into DocuSign, we can benefit from its deep technology expertise and its broad experience applying AI to agreements.”

– DocuSign chief operating officer Scott Olrich

“Seal was built to make finding, analyzing, and extracting data from contracts simpler and faster. We have a natural synergy with DocuSign, and our team is excited to leverage our AI expertise to help make the Agreement Cloud even smarter. Also, given the company’s scale and expansive vision, becoming part of DocuSign will provide great opportunities for our customers and partners.”

Seal Software chief executive officer John O’Melia