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Notarize's Seven-Year Anniversary: What Has Changed?

This is what our Founder and CEO, Pat Kinsel, has to say about Notarize's journey, the online notarization industry, and where it's headed.
Pat Kinsel
April 20, 2022
4 min

We’ve come a long way from seven years ago when Notarize was first incorporated. The world has changed, the tech industry has changed, and Notarize as a company has certainly changed. It started out as just me in a small office in Boston. Since then, we’ve grown to a company of 400+ remote employees in 42 states. We’ve built partnerships with some of America’s biggest brands like FedEx Office, Adobe, and Transamerica, to name a few. We’ve been recognized and ranked on prestigious lists, like #24 on The Financial Times’ List of Fastest Growing Companies, #114 on Inc. Magazine’s 2021 Inc. 5000, and Built In's List for Best Remote-First Places to Work.

Here’s a look into the evolution of our industry and our company, and how we’ve grown to where we are today.

Notarize changed laws and created a category

When Notarize was first started, remote online notarization (RON) was hardly in demand. There was no online notary industry. Virginia was the only state where RON was legal, and people wouldn’t even accept it. RON was misunderstood, and I needed to convince people it could be accepted at all.

To do this, we set out to change National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) standards for notarization to remove the “physical presence” requirement that demanded signers and notaries always be face-to-face and in the same room. This took 18 months. From there, the concern was: “We can’t run an industry based on only one state changing a law.” So we thought really big and set out to change state laws — the first being Texas. The next big blocker was people saying, “Well, we can’t accept these over state lines.” We squashed this by doing an exhaustive study of local laws and interstate recognition, and simulated bankruptcy cases to show we’d win. We presented this to government-sponsored enterprises and title underwriters, who finally agreed saying, “The laws are actually quite clear, it’s just that no one took the time to go read ALL of them.”

Since the early days of Notarize, we’ve won countless industry and regulatory approvals and encouraged the passing of 38 state laws, and we continue to push for updated legislation.

From essential service to the future of business

When we were just beginning to build the company, demand was through the roof, but few customers committed. Their concerns were, “Is this legit? Will it be accepted? Is it complicated to manage?” Several of the largest banks, insurance companies, and mortgage lenders contacted me in our very first week of business, but it took several years before they’d sign on.

The early days of the pandemic forced industries to try Notarize out of necessity, but they found massive ROI and validated the use of an online notarization platform in their industry. As more states pass RON laws, we continue to see an increase in adoption. Not only because it removes barriers, but more often than not, key companies are tracking the legislation and signing up when bills pass. We’ve been able to squash concerns around legitimacy, legality, acceptance, and complication by automating all the notarization rules applicable to each state in our platform, so people can notarize a document in just a few minutes.

Online notarization is no longer a “nice to have.” Any business that requires notarized documents needs to offer a digital option — and they’re rapidly turning to Notarize. We currently have 10+ of the Fortune 100 and thousands of other businesses using Notarize in all 50 states. 

While the world has evolved, the fundamentals remain the same

The need for real-life notaries has persisted, regardless of digitization, lockdowns, and new laws. The only difference is now they can connect with people over video rather than in-person.

Another thing that hasn’t changed is customers’ expectations that nearly everything should be convenient, online, and on-demand, especially after two years of a mass migration to online services. This consistent demand for a quick and easy online transaction has informed our platform and the way we’ve built our product.

What to expect for the future of online notarization

The demand for online notarization accelerated during the pandemic, especially within key industries that were required to transform into digital-first organizations. Since then, the demand for online notarization skyrocketed — 600% in one year! — and is continuing on that rare trajectory. While many companies that were propelled by COVID are now retreating as the world reopens, Notarize is accelerating rapidly as more industries realize it’s a mission critical application.

We embrace the responsibility that comes with facilitating such important transactions. Many of our customers rely on us for their most important life events, and we understand it’s our duty to execute them properly.

Over the next seven years and beyond, our goal is to bring the Notarize experience into any transaction that requires a notarization. But you won’t know it’s us and you might not even realize you’re getting a notarization at all. Instead, you’ll be seamlessly buying a car online or closing remotely on a home, and the notarization will just happen — embedded in the workflow in a way that just makes sense. People are fed up with software designed to trap them and glean as much information and engagement as possible. Notarize is the antithesis: We want people to accomplish their goals as fast as humanly possible. We want to bring trust online.

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Pat Kinsel

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