Let’s be honest: No one likes getting documents notarized. The moment you’re told that a transaction requires a notarized signature, your heart drops and your mind starts racing, wondering where, when and how you’re going to get this done. And yet, we collectively notarize over 1 billion documents in the U.S. each year.
That’s one billion moments of misery annually.
And the pain doesn’t discriminate. Many of life’s most important transactions come to a screeching halt the moment notarization is required. Consumers suffer from the difficulty of finding a notary and then traveling to get there, often taking off work to get the job done. Businesses experience excessively long wait times to get documents returned, if they come back at all. (One company told me they lose 60% of all new customers the moment they request a notarized form). Notary agents are subject to unsafe visits to people’s homes and dangerous or unruly customers. I’ve heard so, so, so many stories of pain and frustration from all points in the notary process.
Yet, despite these challenges, notarization is incredibly important. It is a critical process to prevent fraud, identify a signer, confirm the person is signing under their own free will, and record the transaction. However, if we were to design a solution today to achieve these fundamental verifications, we would never create the antiquated system currently in place.
We would design something safe, secure, convenient, affordable and ubiquitous. Which is what we did.
Today I am proud to launch Notarize, a software platform that improves every aspect of the notary industry and process, from the inconvenience of finding and meeting an agent in person, to the lack of identity verification tools, to archaic paper journal record keeping.
Notarize is the first on-demand remote electronic notary service. It allows people in all 50 states to have a document legally notarized from their iPhone 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. The next time you need a document notarized, simply download the app, prove your identity, fill out your document, and connect with one of our licensed Virginia electronic notaries via live video call. Sign before the agent and they’ll notarize your document instantly.
I started Notarize because I had one too many bad notary experiences. In my case, the last straw was a notary agent who forgot to sign my document just before I went on vacation. I didn’t learn of the error until I was gone. I knew “there has to be a better way!!”
Developing that better way required a sharp focus on innovating both in the areas of technology and public policy. In researching the process, I discovered that the Commonwealth of Virginia had passed a law in 2011 to become the first state to allow remote electronic notarization. And all 50 states must accept these remote notarizations as a matter of law. Building upon these policies, and with cooperation from the Commonwealth of Virginia, we’ve spent the past year developing an amazing product to fundamentally transform the notary process for consumers, businesses, and agents. Technology and policy have converged and Notarize is bringing notary into the 21st Century.
The notary process is too important be be stuck in the past. I can’t think of another process in such a dire need of a software-led rebirth. My partners at Polaris, the team at Ludlow Ventures, and our other angel investors agree and I am proud to have them fund our seed round and explore this opportunity together. With today’s launch, we are excited to modernize how people complete some of the most important transactions in their life, creating jobs and improving productivity along the way.