Notary Startup Notarize Lands Wayfair, HubSpot Executive As COO

Notarize, the Boston-based online notary startup, has hired Elizabeth Graham, a former Wayfair and HubSpot executive, to be its new chief operating officer.

Graham told Xconomy in an interview that her focus will be on refining the company’s Web app that connects users with one of its notaries based in Virginia, Texas, or Nevada, and helping position the platform as an attractive tool for companies that rely on notary services.

“Customer experience is paramount for us,” Graham said. “Job number one for me is delivering excellence within what we’ve built and evaluating ways we can extend that platform.”

Graham will oversee Notarize’s revenue and customer-facing departments, including notary operations, support, and sales, the company said.

At Boston-based Wayfair (NYSE: W), Graham led sales and service and helped the online retailer of home goods scale up operations. Before that, at HubSpot (NYSE: HUBS) in nearby Cambridge, MA, she grew the marketing tech company’s IT operations and focused on “people ops” like employee happiness and workplace feedback. A large portion of her earlier career was spent managing Northeast operations for Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA). Graham is a graduate of Harvard Law School and practiced for nine years as a corporate attorney.

Graham acknowledged the challenge for a technology startup to infiltrate staid industries that depend on notary services, such as finance, law, and real estate. But the task isn’t insurmountable, she said.

“You look for evangelists on the inside that can change the way the company thinks,” Graham said. “And there’s peer pressure, too. We are signing up large institutions who are now talking with their partners about Notarize and why you should get on this platform. This is the wave of the future for these transactions. Some companies are super receptive to change and drive that aggressively, and others you have to do more education.”

Notarize, founded in 2015, has about 100 employees. This past year it landed an electronic mortgage partnership with Seattle-based real estate firm Redfin (NASDAQ: RDFN) and a digital will agreement with San Diego-based Trust & Will. Leading up to November’s midterm elections last year Notarize opened its notary services for free to voters in South Dakota whose absentee applications needed notarized.

The startup says it grew annual sales by 137 percent in 2018. (The privately held firm didn’t provide exact sales figures.) It announced a $20 million funding round last May that then put its total venture haul at $30 million.

“We take seriously our ambition to become a platform that entire industries rely upon, and Liz knows exactly what it takes to build operational excellence at scale,” Pat Kinsel, Notarize founder and CEO, said in prepared remarks. “I am confident she will help build a winning playbook that defines and energizes our next chapter.”

The startup’s previous COO, co-founder Adam Pase, is staying on as chief strategy officer and will head up Notarize’s expansion into new markets, the company said.

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