Date company was founded: November 16, 2010
Current number of employees: 16 (20 if you count part-time/contractors)
What they do: Easy and secure platform to legally sign electronic documents
Working at Invest Ottawa is cool for so many reasons. We just moved into our new offices at the Innovation Centre, which is Ottawa’s beautiful new tech hub. We get to meet a wide array of interesting entrepreneurs on a daily basis. It’s a great experience to be able to see how our unique offering (did we mention we are the only organization of this kind in North America?!) helps so many people grow their ideas into real businesses.
Just last year, we welcomed close to 4000 people to our Entrepreneurship Centre, where they learned about corporate law, accounting, marketing, and so much more… for free! In addition, we always have between thirty to forty startups under our roof at any given time. One of those companies is Signority, an eSignature platform that we are proud to announce has recently graduated from our incubator.
We sat down with Jane He, Chief Operating Officer and Founder of Signority, to chat about her experience with Invest Ottawa.
Say I don’t work in technology – explain to me what you do, the problem you solve.
We help businesses go paperless when it comes to their legal contracts and agreements. In today’s digital age, most businesses still suffer from the inefficiencies that a traditional paper-based transaction presents with their most important documents. We’re talking about delays in back and forth communications, making errors on documents — the old “print-scan-fax back.”
Our solution automates and streamlines all of this so that the entire signing experience happens online and instantaneously. There are also many features that make it easy for our customers to set automatic reminders (no more chasing people around to get signatures), hosting forms on a website and more. We’re all about making the entire signing experience efficient and green.
When and why did Signority join the Invest Ottawa (IO) incubator?
We moved into IO’s incubator about three years ago. Since then, we have benefited from great networking opportunities, access to key government grant programs, free training and workshops, and a door into the Ottawa tech and startup ecosystem. We especially appreciate having had the chance to be in an environment that allowed our startup to flourish in its early days.
IO has helped us move the needle for our business in more ways than one, but an especially important thing to note is that IO became an early customer. IO staff provided us with lots of feedback, which in turn helped us improve and fine-tune our product. It also goes without saying that having them as a customer has improved our “street cred” and has helped us drum up more business in the city.
You mention being able to enter the Ottawa tech and startup ecosystem. What words would you use to describe it?
I would say that it’s an exciting ecosystem that presents lots of opportunities for those with creativity, passion, energy and ambition.
In my opinion, Ottawa is the best place to be in Canada for starting a technology business at the moment. There is a lot of support by all levels of government for entrepreneurs, in addition to a great mix of people and backgrounds off of whom to bounce and test your ideas. This city has unparalleled energy as a result of all these technology startups both forming and growing that serve as inspiration to us all. Also, the talent pool is diverse and experienced. You can find lots of talented, seasoned professionals in engineering, design, business, sales and marketing functions.
We know that you recently hired a new CEO – can you tell us more about how that came to be?
Yes! We worked with Samer Forzley, who, at the time, was our Entrepreneur In Residence through Invest Ottawa. As an expert in marketing, Samer guided us and supervised the development and implementation of the digital marketing strategy, prior to us hiring Gustavo Sanchez, our Chief Marketing Officer. After about eight months of working with him, we invited Samer to help us take Signority to the next level by joining the team as CEO.
As we pivoted from targeting Enterprise to Small and Medium Business customers, we were required to become an inbound marketing company. With Gustavo and Samer now onboard, we have two seasoned and proven marketers part of the core team, enabling us to navigate this new company identity with ease.
That’s really exciting! Sounds like 2017 is going to be an exciting year for Signority. What else can you share with us?
Sadly, we are leaving the IO incubator… BUT, we have graduated to our very own office, located in the heart of Hintonburg – Mechanicsville. We just moved in on February 1st. In the coming months, we will be working hard on our product and on growing our team. You might even say that it’s going be an explosive year of growth for us.
We’ve got lots of big plans in store, but unfortunately we can’t disclose them quite yet. Just know that we are in a highly competitive market, that of eSignatures, that is non-differentiated – and we are set to disrupt it!
You can also follow us @Signority to keep up with our news and updates that we can’t yet share, and to read great content we share to help small and medium businesses grow.
Read more about Ottawa’s ecosystem.
Invest Ottawa is a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs and startups. Find out more here!