Transforming the Online Notarization Business
Buying a home, selling a car, getting married, writing a power of attorney and countless other transactions all require one essential step before they become legally binding – they have to be notarized. In fact, more than a billion documents are notarized each year in the United States. Now, there's an app that can get the job done on your Apple iOS device (iPhone or iPad) or web-enabled personal computer. Notarize is the first public platform allowing any person or business to get documents legally notarized online, and Holland & Knight's technology attorneys have advised the company on every aspect of its business, every step along the way.
The Missing Link
The founder of Notarize, Pat Kinsel, came to Jeff Seul, a Holland & Knight corporate partner and chair of the firm's Technology Industry Sector, with an idea that could revolutionize the digital business world: a remote notary service. The missing link in the online transactions puzzle, virtual notarization would make it possible to fully complete financial and legal matters over the internet, such as buying a home or getting a power of attorney from an elderly family member. Pat and Jeff had worked together on Pat’s last startup, from formation of the company through its sale to Twitter. When Pat needed help with Notarize, he turned to Jeff and his team.
Remote notarizations are possible thanks to a 2011 Virginia law that allows appropriately state-certified notaries to serve customers online.
From Startup to Online Juggernaut
Our technology industry attorneys collaborated with our specialists in other industries, such as financial services, to chart a path for Notarize through the regulatory landscape. We formed the company and helped it raise venture capital. Holland & Knight's expansive reach, with prominent attorneys experienced in more than 200 areas of law and practicing in 30 offices across the globe, provided Notarize the legal resources and tools it needed to refine its plan, launch its business, develop its technology platform and scale.
Notarize's successes to date include the August 2017 launch of its online mortgage platform, with a top-ranked wholesale mortgage lender as its first partner. This partnership, which Holland & Knight helped Notarize establish, has enabled the entire mortgage loan process – from application to closing – to happen online for the first-time ever. A borrower can now complete the loan process from any place with wireless access. They participate in a live cam with a notary to complete the closing. The Wall Street Journal called this a major game-changer for the entire mortgage industry, and recently Second City Ventures, the investment arm of the National Association of Realtors, announced an investment in Notarize.
Our collaborative approach to serving Notarize has included attorneys on our venture capital and emerging companies team, e-commerce, intellectual property, licensing and transactions, cybersecurity and privacy, and financial services teams, among others.