The Salzburg startup sproof.io, a spin-off of the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, was able to win prominent major customers and thousands of private customers shortly after its founding in 2020. The European Super Angels Club and the renowned business angel Michael Repnik have recently invested and want to replace the market leader DocuSign on the European market with the Salzburg founders.
The spin-off of the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, around the founders Clemens Brunner, Fabian Knirsch and Erich Höpoldseder, has set itself the task of making the handwritten signature disappear from everyday business life. For small businesses, medium-sized companies, large corporations and public institutions, daily signatures and contract signatures are part of everyday life. Although the qualified electronic signature has been legally equivalent to the handwritten signature since the early 2000s, many organizations are not yet taking advantage of this digitization option. "It has failed so far due to questions of data protection, complexity and the quality of the digital signature, which must be guaranteed electronically via a trust service provider registered with the RTR," explains Clemens Brunner, founder and CEO of sproof.io.
Handwritten signatures will be soon outdated
In addition to the Federal Accounting Agency, the Chamber of Commerce and Sony DADC, the Vienna City Business Agency has also recently started using sproof.io to make signature processes DSGVO-compliant, digital, legally valid and efficient. For the issuing of certificates within universities and technical colleges, sproof is used, as well as at the renowned law firm Binder Grösswang or at the legal software provider ADVOKAT.
The founders of sproof.io have noticed a growing interest in legally valid digital signatures, especially in the areas of human resources, real estate, and public administration.
"There are currently countless providers of digital signatures on the American market in particular. The problem is that many of these providers do not meet the high European data protection standards. In practice, disputes can end up in court due to the lack of legal certainty and lead to high costs," says Fabian Knirsch, co-founder of sproof.io.
No growth without capital
Startups usually need larger sums of venture capital, but this problem has also been solved for sproof.io for the time being. The president of the European Super Angels Club and founder of Venionaire Capital, Berthold Baurek-Karlic recently invested a high six-figure sum as lead investor, but this should only be the beginning.
"We have used sproof.io ourselves and thus also got into talks about a possible investment. The founders are technically very strong and were able to convince institutional customers early on - our investment is a start, but certainly not everything. With the company, we have a chance to replace the market leader DocuSign in Europe, and we will invest a lot of money to do so," says investor Berthold Baurek-Karlic.
In addition to the European Super Angels Club and their business angel, the startup was also able to win the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) for a grant. "With the European Super Angels Club, we have a strong partner at our side, which means that nothing stands in the way of further growth. We see the first completed financing round as an important step towards our goal - to become the largest digital signature provider in Europe," the founders are convinced.