Mission: A paperless world - Interview with Keith Krach

March 15, 2017

Radical: With a network based on clouds, DocuSign wants to revolutionize the business life. Chairman Keith Krach talks about his campaign against paper.

Keith Krach is a visionary: As CEO and chairman of DocuSign Global Trust Network, he has taken on the challenge to facilitate fast and safe electronic signatures, contracts and payment instructions. As well as to supersede paper. More than 100 million users from 188 countries already use the offer that is available in 43 languages. According to DocuSign, there are 130,000 new users every day. In the following interview, Silicon Valley legend Krach talks about how his vision became his mission.

DUB-UNTERNEHMER-Magazin: The Smartphone has fundamentally changed our lives. Which innovation of the next few years could replicate this triumph?

Keith Krach: The reason why innovations like the Smartphone have been so epic is that they touch everyone’s lives in so many positive ways. The next massive technological innovation will need to build on that accessibility and connectivity to change our professional and private environment, our lives and the environment in a positive way. The reason I jump out of bed every day is because I believe that the DocuSign Global Trust Network, with the incorporation of smart contract and value-added services like our recently announced DocuSign Payments, will prove to be one of those innovations that truly changes everything about how business is done. My vision is a paperless world in which business transactions are fast, frictionless, universally translated, safe and secure. 

Google, Amazon and Facebook as well as DocuSign are located in the USA. The Silicon Valley sets the pace within the worldwide industry. They are more highly valued on investment exchanges than all DAX-listed companies put together. Why is Germany unable to compete in this Field?

Krach: I believe it can and it will. Germany has the three key ingredients: technology, financial wherewithal and people. Today Germany leads many of the largest value-creation industries in the world, such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals, automotive, and manufacturing technology just to name a few, and SAP is arguably the most powerful enterprise software company in the world despite Silicon Valley’s dominance today. Germany has and historically has had many of the world’s greatest engineering and scientific minds and the German people have tremendous work ethic and heart. In the 21st century, Germany has emerged as perhaps the most crucial financial, political, and humanitarian leader, and no doubt it will lead in technology as well if the German tax and regulatory structure is pro-business and creates a fertile environment for the ever-growing IT industry.

Which past innovation of other companies has impressed you the most? 

Krach: Networks with a viral affect enabling massive scale and growth. With Visa, for example, cash has become the enemy and in many ways Visa has removed the need to carry cash with you. This network has transformed modern day commerce.

What will be our biggest challenge in the next few years?

Krach: I see the biggest challenges of our future being addressed in 3 key ways:

Firstly, upgrading the work force and education: Our ability to innovate and create meaningful jobs will depend on our success in upgrading our education system and captivating people’s minds with the possibilities of innovating in this digital age.

Secondly, establishing trust:  As my good friend, Hottges (CEO of Telekom) says, “Trust is the basis for every business”. Trust has and always will be the cornerstone for creating positive change in the world, whether that be in business or friendship.

Lastly, finding great leaders: At the end of the day, a company is only as good as its people. My philosophy has always been to hire people that are better than yourself. That is a formula for success. It’s about getting the right people on the bus with you. From there, you can figure out where to drive the bus, but having great leaders is essential.

What do you do in DocuSign to encourage and nurture the climate for innovation?

Krach: Innovation is one of our core values. The core principle on which DocuSign was built was challenging the status quo, and today that remains our guiding mantra. We measure our success by our customers’ success and are united in a fight against a common enemy: paper. With that as a common basis of understanding, we hire the absolute best people in the world. We empower them not just with responsibility, but with the authority to act.  We celebrate our innovations and we laugh at our failures, not our people. We create a safe environment with a common saying of “no idea is a bad idea, unless it’s the CEO’s.” (laughs).

MY ADVICE: 90% of the time, the team will make the same decision as I will. For the other 10%, 9 times out of 10, they will make a better decision. I will give up that remaining 1% for a better and organization any day.

What do you do mentally and physically for a balanced life?

Krach: My day starts at 4am. I take a run or a swim, which is really more a time of mediation for me than anything. I plan my day, then I’m ready for the biggest exercise in diplomacy and multi-tasking: a breakfast date with my 5-year-old twins. After that infusion of energy, love and optimism from them, I can take on any challenge that comes my way.


Employees: more than 2,000

Headquarters: San Francisco

Branches: Dublin, London, Melbourne, Paris, Petach Tikva (Israel), São Paulo, Seattle, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Warrenvile

Networked Companies: more than 250,000

Personal Details Keith Krach

Robotics pioneer at General Motors, co-founder of the web-based trade network Ariba. He now aims at digitalizing all transactions worldwide.


Digital Signature: DocuSign wants to banish paper from the global contract administration