Notarize lands $130 million funding round

Cash earmarked for digital notarization, ID verification technology

Notarize announced Thursday a $130 million Series D funding round, led by fintech venture capital firm Canapi Ventures.

That’s $213 million of total funding to-date for Notarize, which will funnel the recent round of capital into the company’s digital notarization and identity verification technology. The company also plans to double its staff in the next year, per an official statement.

CapitalG, Citi Ventures, Wells Fargo, True Bridge Partners and existing investors Camber Creek, Ludlow Ventures, NAR’s Second Century Ventures and Fifth Wall Ventures also participated in the round.

Notarize CEO Pat Kinsel said his company needed to transition to digital “basically overnight” in order to adapt to the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The days of “popping into an office to sign something” are gone, Kinsel said, while the demand for social-distance-friendly technology has skyrocketed.

That hasn’t been an issue for Notarize, which Kinsel said saw more than 800% growth in its real estate sector, more than 300% growth in financial services, and nearly 300% growth with retail and consumer customers. Total revenue grew 600% in 2020, he said.

Of note, Notarize closed a $35 million Series C funding in March 2020, and partnered with payments platform Stripe in July in order to be able to pay its notaries faster.

“With the support of our investors, we look forward to helping more people and businesses bridge digital divides to keep lives moving forward in a post-pandemic world,” Kinsel said. “There are decades when nothing happens, and then there are years when decades happen. We are in the midst of such a moment right now.”

Kinsel said Canapi Ventures Partner Neil Underwood will join Notarize’s board of directors. Underwood said joining the board was a no-brainer, and he sees Notarize as “the last mile” of businesses providing personalized online experiences in the title industry.

“Notarize is disrupting outdated business models and technologies, and there’s massive potential, particularly in the financial services space, as more companies will need to offer secure digital alternatives to in-person transactions,” Underwood said.

A month ago, Notarize also announced it would be offering free notarizations to certain people in an effort to eliminate racial covenants in title insurance documents. The issue was brought to light by Windermere Real Estate, which publicized that title documents for homes around the Seattle area included racist language.

Notarize also created a web page that hosts several documents and allows title docs with such covenants to be notarized for free. The service is currently available in Washington state, with availability coming to Nevada, Idaho, Colorado, California, Oregon and Arizona in the near future.

“Creating the online notarization category and getting here has been no small feat, and like many pioneers before us, has come at great effort and expense,” Kinsel wrote on the Notarize blog. “Building a platform to comply with a matrix of more than four million federal, state, county, industry, and commercial rules has been equally challenging, but critical. There is no universal online notarization experience and there are no shortcuts to providing a service people can rely upon.”

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