(Image credit: Dollar Photo Club.)
VASCO Data Security (Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.), a vendor specializing in authentication, digital signature and identity management, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Silanis Technology Inc. (Montreal), vendor of the e-SignLive SaaS electronic signature platform, for a cash consideration of $85 million. The deal opens up a global market for e-SignLive and gives VASCO—a company traditionally focused on back-office authentication and digital signature capabilities—point-of-sale electronic signature capabilities at a time when adoption of e-signature is growing rapidly.
Forrester Research reports a 53 percent annual growth in the use of e-signatures since 2012, with the number of transactions settled using e-signatures currently over 210 million, and likely to reach 700 million by 2017. A recent directive passed by the European Parliament and the council of the European Union can be expected to promote e-signature across the region, according to Craig Le Clair, principal analyst, Forrester.
“Mobile transactions will push e-signature authentication to the device, with Europe leading the way in innovation,” Le Clair comments. “VASCO believes that its strength in mobile security combined with the ability to complete a legally enforceable transaction with e-signatures will provide organizations a pathway to increase the number of transactions completed on mobile devices.”
Silanis, which will continue to operate under its existing branding, will benefit from the acquisition through access to deeper market penetration, according to Tommy Petrogiannis, CEO, Silanis. “e-SignLive will now have an instant footprint in over 10,000 global organizations that VASCO serves today primarily in regulatory and compliance-driven markets, including over 1,700 financial institutions,” he says. “We will be able to leverage VASCO’s vast resources to further increase our product and innovation investment in e-SignLive.”
International Race Against DocuSign
“E-signatures have largely been a North American phenomenon until now and with VASCO’s vast resources, global footprint and established partner channels, we will be able to lead the international race against DocuSign and quickly bring e-signatures to enterprises in regions outside of North America,” Petrogiannis adds. “The strength of VASCO’s presence in the European and Asia-Pacific markets, in conjunction with the global expansion efforts that Silanis started mid-year with IBM Cloud to meet in-country data-residency requirements will help realize our global game plan.”
VASCO chairman and CEO T. Kendall Hunt describes Silanis as a company with technology and solutions for which there is emerging demand across the vendor’s large customer base. “Silanis’ offering is consistent with our focus on authentication and fraud prevention,” Hunt comments. “We see the potential to accelerate growth in a rapidly expanding new market while still maintaining our commitment to our core offering.”
Given that Silanis focuses on generating recurring revenue through a SaaS model, VASCO sees the acquisition as helping it grow its operating income both on an absolute basis as well as a percentage of revenue, Hunt adds.
The Silanis acquisition gains VASCO entry into the market for digitizing operational processes, including customer-facing processes with workflow and document management dimensions, affirms Forrester’s Le Clair. “The market for e-signatures is expanding, moving to a broader transactional focus and VASCO is jumping into that,” he says. “There’s a lot more market opportunity than the part of interest to a chief security officer at a bank: now, for example, VASCO can talk to marketing people who want to put in a new customer onboarding process.”
Insurers Pressured to Provide Digital Customer Experience
The market for e-signature is especially strong in the insurance industry, according to Le Clair. “Insurance is being disrupted by direct distribution plays, and traditional agency-based insurers are feeling the pressure to provide a more digital customer experience,” he says. “Probably half the insurance companies I speak to are looking to implement e-signature.”
While the VASCO deal will result in a huge opportunity for growth for Silanis, CEO Petrogiannis says that e-SignLive customers can expect a business-as-usual environment with no service interruptions. “e-SignLive assures that the acquisition will in no way impact our operations, sales and support structure, nor will it impact out product roadmap commitments or portfolio in anyway,” he insists. “In fact, there will be no changes to any contacts, license terms, support, SLAs or maintenance. e-SignLive is committed to ensuring the continued quality customer service and maintaining our record as the e-signature vendor with the highest customer satisfaction rating.”