Barracuda Networks acquires e-signature startup SignNow
With $130 million in cash following an October 2012 financing, Barracuda Networks has acquired mobile e-signature startup SignNow. Neither company has announced the transaction publicly, but a trail of Internet breadcrumbs from the last two weeks make a disclosure unnecessary.
First, the bottom of SignNow’s website now reads “© 2013 Barracuda Networks. All rights reserved.,” and the app listing in the Google Play store—updated on April 30—lists Barracuda as the seller. Next, a nine-day-old job posting indicates that Barracuda is looking for a Senior Web Developer to work on the SignNow app. Finally, according to a tweet from Barracuda recruiter Robert Anderson, the startup also gave a presentation in front of its new parent company late last week.
A member of the SignNow team has confirmed the acquisition, doing so on the condition of anonymity. When asked whether the transaction was a positive outcome for the company’s founders and investors, the employee replied, “very much so.”
With a probable pre-money valuation of between $6 million and $8 million at the time of its seed round, and given that the company appears to have been growing healthily, it’s likely that a valuation of at least $20–30 million would have been necessary to make the deal attractive to everyone. Barracuda certainly has the cash, but there’s no telling how much value the security giant would add to this service.
SignNow allows users to sign digital documents using only their finger and a touch-based mobile device. The company achieved a measure of notoriety last summer when NBA superstar Deron Williams tweeted a photo of himself signing his $100 million contract using the SignNow app.
SignNow also owns and operates NotaryNow, a webcam-based remote notary service. Both of these products fit nicely with Barracuda’s offerings as the company is increasing its focus on the mobile and small- and medium-sized business markets.
Public reports indicate that Barracuda is profitable and generates hundreds of millions in annual revenue. The company has more than 150,000 customers and more than 1,000 employees in 16 countries. Many expect Barracuda to follow in the footsteps of competitor Palo Alto Networks and list its shares publicly in the near future.
With SignNow operating in a competitive space with limited capital, it’s not surprising that the company sought the support of Barracuda. Whether you view the startup’s early exit as a big win or a failure, adding the resources and customer network of an established business to its popular technology should give the company an upper hand in the market.