Remote Notarization Startup Partners With Tech-Enabled Real Estate Appraisal Company

  • By rick

  • 8 August, 2018

Starting a new company takes grit and perseverance. It also takes patience. Just ask Rick Triola, founder, and CEO of NotaryCam, with HQ in Newport Beach.

Most entrepreneurs have to wait for things like patents, for their company to be incorporated and for funding, perhaps. Triola had to wait for all of the above, plus wait for individual states like Virginia to legalize webcam notarization. In 2011, the Commonwealth of Virginia became the first state to allow commissioned Virginia notaries to serve customers online.

That enabled NotaryCam to offer its remote, online notary service to customers in all 50 states — and worldwide — using notaries located in Virginia. Texas and Nevada followed Virginia’s lead on July 1, further expanding the market. Other states are expected to do the same in the near future. Today, NotaryCam announced that it’s partnered with Accurate Group, a tech-enabled real estate appraisal, title and compliance company.

The partnership will enable title agents at Accurate Group to offer a range of real estate e-closing options that can expedite the time it takes to close. In addition to online closings conducted remotely via computer or other web-enabled device, NotaryCam also offers mobile notaries for Accurate Group customers who prefer a more traditional approach, but can’t easily get to the closing agent’s office. NotaryCam’s “virtual signing room” supports the signing and notarization of all real estate closing documents and enables title agents and notary signing agents to organize, deliver and securely return recorded loan documents to lenders.

Complement and Competition
NotaryCam joins fellow Orange County innovator Cloudvirga in its efforts to digitize aspects of the home mortgage process that have traditionally required manual, labor-intensive processes. Cloudvirga, a mortgage software developer with HQ in Irvine, recently raised $50 million in a Series C round. (see related story here).

Cloudvirga is trying to reduce the high cost of home loan origination and reduce the time it takes to close a loan from the current average of 40 days. Its focus is on digitizing the front-end application, as well as behind-the-scenes work of manufacturing a loan.

NotaryCam brings “efficiency” to the end of the mortgage process by digitizing the closing “ceremony,” which includes notarization of the final loan documents, said Triola, who serves as CEO. NotaryCam’s chief competitor is Notarize, with HQ in Boston. In May, Notarize raised $20 million in a Series B round, bringing its total to $31 million, according to news reports.

Second Century Ventures, the venture arm of the National Association of Realtors participated in both companies’ early funding rounds.

Triola differentiates his company by saying that NotaryCam’s leadership has hands-on experience in real estate, while its competitors have a background in tech, but no industry experience. Triola spent decades as a Realtor in New York state and California and later helped lead Central Escrow Service, one of California’s largest independent escrow companies.

He also points to NotaryCam’s flexibility as a platform, which he says outstrips competitors like Notarize. NotaryCam does not restrict the number or type of participants that can join the virtual closing “ceremony,” making it possible for NotaryCam to assist the customer in unique situations.

For example, Triola described a recent transaction in which NotaryCam helped a military family relocate from Washington state to Georgia. All the closing documents were ready to go, but the seller was threatening to nix the deal if it didn’t close soon. The buyer was still in Seattle pending completion of his assignment there. His wife was on the way to Georgia, but got delayed in Illinois along the way. The buyer’s mother, who lives in Missouri, was a co–signer on the title. One of NotaryCam’s Virginia-based eNotaries met all three buyers along with the escrow officer and seller in a virtual closing “ceremony” that brought together participants from four different states.

Catalyst
In fact, the pain point of having to show up in person for escrow closings in New York was the catalyst for Triola starting his first tech company, Settleware. That’s the company he founded in Laguna Beach in 1999 that NotaryCam was spun out of in 2014. Settleware is a software company that provides e-signing services for title companies.

With Settleware, Triola was able to validate that electronically signed and notarized real estate documents could be insured and securitized. Once Virginia passed legislation authorizing notaries to notarize documents through online video conferences with signers anywhere in the world, he knew that was the “holy grail.”

He spun out NotaryCam as its own company focused on delivering online notarizations of all kinds. The company’s mortgage-focused brand, eClose360, touts its ability to close home mortgage deals in under an hour, day or night.

NotaryCam brings individuals and businesses together from anywhere in the world to securely sign and notarize documents in the virtual presence of a commissioned notary public. To date, it’s completed more than 100,000 remote, online notarizations, which is more than any other provider in the market, Triola said.

Financing
NotaryCam has raised seed capital of $600,000, which started as debt financing in the form of convertible notes but has since been transferred to equity. Trioladeclined to disclose revenue, but said the company is profitable. He may do a Series A round later this year that’s north of $5 million. Triola is a former investment banker on Wall Street. A potential exit strategy is taking the company public.

How It Works
For non-real estate transactions, individuals can upload their own documents and make an appointment to get them notarized by a commissioned notary. For mortgages and other real estate transactions, NotaryCam partners with lenders and title companies who conduct eNotarizations and eClosings through the company’s eClose360 platform. Triola said the company closes 100% of the escrows it’s asked to handle. Its transaction volume is growing by 15,000 every quarter, he added.

This article originally appeared on OC Startups Now, www.ocstartupsnow.com, on July 11. As a subscriber, I have permission to re-post this article here.