You can’t go anywhere these days without hearing about rising star, $US3 billion tech startup DocuSign and its larger-than-life CEO Keith Kratch.
Kratch is a big, tall guy with a big personality. We recently had coffee with him, and in his cheerful, booming voice he told us a great story that gave us insight into his character and life these days working for DocuSign.
He was standing outside a coffee shop in San Francisco where the company is based and where Kratch lives (he recently bought a house in the City).
He had a fresh cup of Joe in his hand and was checking messages on his phone with his other hand, when a thief ran by, snatched the phone from his hand and ran off.
Kratch sprang into action and ran after him, shouting in his booming voice the whole time, “Stop that guy, he stole my iPhone,” (we’re paraphrasing here … the actual language was somewhat more colourful, we understand). His on-foot chase was eventually spotted by some policemen. The thief ran into a store and was trapped there. Police caught the guy and recovered the phone.
But the police weren’t immediately going to give the phone back to Kratch. They wanted to impound it for evidence. They asked Kratch for his name and info and he handed the policeman his business card.
“DocuSign?” The cop asked.
He had just used DocuSign for a real estate transaction and loved it. The other cops all chimed in, too. They had just used DocuSign for various other legal paperwork, too.
The love-fest encouraged the cops to take pity on Kratch and tip him off to a legal loophole that would let him get his phone back quicker.
Her had to sign extra paperwork declaring how important the phone was. (Irony alert: the paperwork was real paper, not DocuSign.)
Throughout all this, Kratch never dropped his cup of coffee.
Employees love the guy
The story is part a bigger thing going on for DocuSign. All of a sudden, the startup is booming, adding over 50,000 new users a day, the company says, and 50 million people in 188 countries now have accounts.
This helped it nab a whopping $US233 million series F funding in May at about a $US3 billion valuation ($US508 million total raised).
Its backers are mostly from its business partners/customers like Microsoft, Dell, Intel Capital, Sapphire Ventures (SAP’s venture arm), VISA, Salesforce Ventures, and Comcast Ventures. They all liked the product so much that when Kratch asked if they wanted in on its latest financing round, they said yes, he told us.
With the cash, DocuSign is hiring like crazy. As of May it had it had about 1,400 people worldwide, up from 300 two years ago.
I have never seen Keith in a bad mood.
Normally that kind of growth is painful for the rank and file. So we recently asked an employee what it was really like to work for DocuSign and Kratch.
This employee told us:
Well you have met him, so you know how enthusiastic, energetic, and passionate he is. It’s contagious and it makes you want to pay attention to whatever the heck he is saying. I have never seen Keith in a bad mood.
About growth this employee told us that the culture was “great” because:
… we hire very well and hire a certain type of person that fits, but also because of internal promotions. I see the people who have been here who deserve promotions move up. My team alone has doubled in a year.
We’ve heard that DocuSign salaries aren’t as high as some of the bigger tech companies, but this employee said that the salary was competitive with some of the best paying companies in tech, like Microsoft.
All of this jibes with what employees are saying on job-hunting site Glassdoor, where Kratch has a 97% approval rating and 84% would recommend the company as an employer to a friend.