eSign, a Chinese provider of electronic signature services backed by investors including Ant Group, has closed a Series E funding round at 1.2 billion yuan ($186.1 million).
The investment was jointly led by Sequoia Capital China, IDG Capital, and Hidden Hill Capital, a private equity (PE) investment platform backed by Asia’s warehouse operator GLP, the startup announced on Monday.
PE fund manager Sealand Innovation Capital; Guangxi Investment Group’s asset management unit; and Wens Capital, the investment arm of Chinese poultry processing firm Wens Foodstuffs Group participated in the deal. Existing shareholders Fortune Capital and Grand Flight Investment re-upped in the round.
The financing follows the completion of eSign’s Series D round in November 2020, when it raised over 1 billion yuan (about $155 million) in a Series D round led by Shenzhen Capital Group, Evergrande High-Tech Group, and Fortune Capital.
Ant Group had invested in eSign in 2019 as the lead investor of its 650-million-yuan ($100.7 million) Series C round.
Hangzhou-based eSign, which claims a 43.1% share in China’s e-signature market, delivers services to clients including Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, telecom major Huawei Technologies, smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp, Japan’s Sony Corp, video surveillance systems purveyor Hikvision, as well as automakers Geely and Toyota.
Its e-signature solutions are widely adopted across fintech, healthcare, business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce, manufacturing, online travel, and tech-enabled human resources industries.
Besides private-sector clients, the firm also helps more than 150 provincial and municipal governments, as well as over 280 district government bodies realise internet-based operations of government affairs.
“The nationwide e-signature network built by eSign can support various business scenarios, allowing enterprises across China to sign and manage their contracts online. We will also invest more resources in areas like contract management, file processing, and AI to help enhance social trust and make trust easier through e-signature services,” said founder and CEO Jin Hongzhou in a statement.
As a major player in the domestic e-signature market, eSign is looking to cash in on this market that has grown to 10.8 billion yuan ($1.7 billion) in 2020 from 850 million yuan ($131.7 million) in 2016 — a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 66.3% during the period, according to a report released by iiMedia Research in February.
The Chinese research firm expects the market size to further increase to about 25 billion yuan ($3.9 billion) after the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of online solutions.