Notarize signs off on 25% staff reduction, admits challenging fundraising environment

Notarize, a startup that offers remote online notarization services, has let go of 110 people – or 25% of its workforce.

Doing the math, the seven-year-old, Boston-based company had about 440 employees before the staff reduction.

When the COVID-19 pandemic first began, demand for Notarize’s services, dubbed RON for short, skyrocketed as people were confined to their homes. This was especially true in the case of people purchasing, or refinancing homes, for example – considering that at that time mortgage interest rates were at near-historic lows. Being able to get documents notarized “online, anywhere, anytime, with notaries available 24×7 by computer, tablet, or smartphone” was appealing to many.

But things have changed. Pandemic isolation is long over and with mortgage interest rates having surged to nearly 6% for a 30-year-loan, the housing market has slowed considerably.

In March of 2021, Notarize announced it had raised $130 million in a Series D funding round led by fintech-focused VC firm Canapi Ventures after experiencing 600% year-over-year revenue growth. The round valued Notarize at $760 million, which was triple its valuation at the time of its $35 million Series C in March of 2020. 

It’s not the first time the company has had to go the layoff route. In 2019, Notarize saw “critical financing” fall through and had to lay off staff, according to CEO and founder Pat Kinsel. 

Things picked up for the company after the pandemic hit and Kinsel worked to get appropriate legislation passed across the country to make it possible for more people in more states to get documents notarized digitally.

In a statement issued this week, CEO and founder Pat Kinsel implied that being able to secure additional funding would be challenging.

Our regulatory victories and partnerships have put the company in a fundamentally different position over the past two years, and our strategy must evolve. We can no longer delay in addressing these issues. Additionally, the state of the economy and world events is creating a lot of uncertainty and putting significant pressure on businesses everywhere. While many of these factors propel Notarize’s business, they also change the company’s access to future investment and force us to re-evaluate what we can invest in and pursue. We have made the difficult decision to eliminate a significant number of roles across the organization in order to realign resources against our most critical goals. We have an incredible roster of current and future customers and partners, and we remain confident in the future of the company and the value we bring to both businesses and consumers. Choosing to part ways with deeply-valued employees was not a decision we made lightly, as we’re saying goodbye to colleagues who have done exceptional work to build this company and deliver on our mission for our customers.

He also addressed the move in this Twitter thread.

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