SIGNiX’s Pem Guerry passionate about digital signatures

Chattanooga’s Pem Guerry has a thing for digital signatures, and he’s spent nearly a decade promoting their use in business and government.

The Executive Vice President of  SIGNiX told teknovation.biz in a recent interview that he “got interested in electronic signatures when he worked for (Bob) Corker in Nashville.” The current U.S. Senator was Commissioner of Finance and Administration for then Governor Don Sundquist, and Guerry was his Assistant Commissioner.

In his role for the State of Tennessee, Guerry says he “could not believe we had documents floating around Nashville for weeks to get 14 to 16 signatures.” The inefficiency of the process, coupled with the inability to quickly retrieve verifiable originals, convinced him that something different was needed.

Guerry returned to Chattanooga after a couple of years in Nashville and joined SIGNiX in 2003. He’s been with the company since then, including its acquisition by another major software company that was short-lived before Guerry and the other owners repurchased it.

“I often act in a utility role to fulfill a need until we find a first class, experienced resource to serve in that role,” Guerry says in describing his function at SIGNiX.” As Executive Vice President, he’s currently focused on areas including strategy partnerships, contract negotiation and marketing.

Guerry describes the SIGNiX product as the “DNA behind signed documents” and adds that SIGNiX is the “only technology to give you a standalone document that can be readily proven as legally valid in court 20 years from now.”

“We offer several simple ways to authenticate a signer’s identity,” he says, “a fact that makes the product attractive to professionals in markets including real estate, annuities and insurance, credit unions and brokerage firms.”

SIGNiX has 300,000 real estate agents signed-up for the service through their professional associations and counts corporations like Merrill Lynch and Morgan Keegan Raymond James as customers in the annuity and insurance sectors.

“The (digital signature) market has exploded in the last 18 months,” Guerry says and notes that “customers are beginning to realize the enormous savings in cost and time and also realizing that if a document is not signed on day one, 76 percent of the unsigned ones will never get signed.”

Part of SIGNiX’s success is the fact that it is a cloud-based, or SaaS, service that requires no hardware or software to be installed.           “All a customer or signer needs is a browser,” Guerry explains.

For SIGNiX, these are key marketing facts and drivers for companies that can realize an enhanced level of security while also replacing man months of work with an annual license fee of about $350 for every individual who is authorized to initiate an electronic transaction. Those who are only asked to “sign” or approve something – for example, purchasers of property in the case of real estate – do not need a license.

Guerry says the return on investment for a client is “unbelievably compelling” and uses the example of a city or company that has to get a document signed quarterly by each of its 4,000 employees.

“It can take four temps spending four weeks each quarter – or four times a year – to process the paperwork,” Guerry said. With SIGNiX’s system, it takes minutes for one administrative assistant to upload the document that needs to be signed by every employee, insert the required electronic signature line in the document, add an electronic file with the email addresses of the 4,000 employees, and “hit start.”

“The signatures are automatically tracked, and the system sends tickler emails (to those who have not signed),” Guerry says.

SIGNiX’s service is responsible for executing about 20 million signatures a day from both its enterprise version for large customers and its standalone version, called MyDoX.

“This is my fourth early stage venture and Jay Jumper’s third,” Guerry says of his partner in SIGNiX. “There’s some level of insanity in both of us.”

Whether it’s insanity or passion, it is clear that they are laser-focused on electronic authentication and moving aggressively in an explosive market.

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