From XU Magazine, 
Issue 28

Q&A with Amreeta Abbott, CEO/Founder, Annature

XU: We were excited to see the recent launch of Annature and integration with Xero. What led you to starting it?

AA: After we sold NowInfinity, I knew straight away what I wanted to focus on next and this came from my own experience of dealing with out-dated eSignature providers, who stopped innovating and over pricing for their services. It left a sour taste in my mouth. It didn’t feel right. So out of that pain and frustration of having to deal with big eSignature companies, I decided that I could do it better. 

XU: Why do you feel like people need a digital signing solution? 

AA: It’s 2021, the world has been forced online because of COVID. No one is printing, signing, scanning or dropping signed documents to the post office anymore. It’s inefficient, it slows down entire workflows. It’s not secure and it’s just unnecessary. 

XU: Before you founded Annature, what were you doing? What is your background in?

AA: Prior to founding Annature, I had recently departed Class Limited. Class had acquired my first start-up which a lot of the accounting community loved. NowInfinity. It was corporate compliance software, to help streamline business entity setups directly integrated with the government’s online portals.

XU: How have you found the experience of setting up your own FinTech businesses?

AA: Thankfully it’s not my first rodeo, but I love it. There’s so much innovation here in Australia. I’m constantly amazed at all the awesome things happening in space. Thankfully a lot of my existing network were really interested in what we were doing, because like me, they’ve also been burned by incumbent providers and were screaming for a better way forward. Which we know and believe is Annature. 

XU: As a female entrepreneur, do you feel like your gender impacted how you were perceived in this sector?

AA: I think women in business get the raw end of the deals sometimes. We’re not all loud-mouthed and extroverted, and we don’t need to be. The boardroom used to be dominated by conflicting personalities but I think we’re starting to see a real turning point in the last few years. We’ve got more women on-board than ever before. There are some amazing female role models out there that are really paving the way forward. I’m just happy to help do my part! 

XU: In what way have your past experiences helped you with starting Annature?

AA: Understanding the grind and the hustle that’s required. 1+1 doesn’t always equal 2 when you’re building a business. Sure you can rely on previous experiences but it will only get you so far. What got you here, won’t get you there. My existing network, and an understanding of how the ups and downs of entrepreneurship flows is in-valuable. 

XU: Annature was started during the Covid-19 pandemic. How do you think this impacted setting up the business?

AA: We are a little fortunate to be honest. As COVID was impacting the world, government and laws were introduced to help expand digital signature acceptance into more industries. Mortgage brokers, Legal, Accounting, all saw a massive upswing in digital signature solutions being introduced. 

XU: The pandemic has rapidly increased the need for digital and remote tools in businesses. Do you feel like the pandemic has continued to affect the running of Annature or accelerated the need for digital signing?

AA: It’s definitely accelerated the need for digital signing, and allowed governments to remove laws that no longer serve us. The adoption of digital signatures is a big win. The next important piece is improving security around digital signatures. We’re incredibly focused on innovating Annature to be the most secure way to accept and sign documents online. Exploring the ability to take payments and incorporate bio-metrics.

XU: Did you face any other major challenges during the set up and first year?

AA: We face challenges like all-startups. We’re a new brand, we’re not trusted by everyone yet. People don’t know who we are. But we just let our product do the talking. People love using Annature - especially Accountants. We got feedback every day about how simple and easy Annature is to use, and how great their documents look.

We thrive on customer feedback.

XU: How did you find people’s initial reactions to digital signing? Did you need to change anyone’s mind sets towards it?

AA: We’re pretty fortunate that digital signature solutions are fairly well known. Most people know what digital signatures are and have probably used one in their personal or professional lives. In cases where it’s been illegal to accept digital signatures as a valid transaction, we spend more time here, educating certain industries on what is and isn’t possible. In some instances, yes we definitely need to help work with mind-sets and changement.

XU: With so much of business data now being held on the cloud, what security and reassurance do you offer to your customers?

AA: We have invested a significant amount of time, money, and resources to ensure that we are delivering the highest level of data and information security to our customers. We are the only ISO 27001 certified eSignature provider in Australia & New Zealand, also embracing blockchain technology. All of our data is encrypted at rest and securely held on Australian shores.

XU: What is your favourite feature or element of Annature?

AA: Personally, I love the custom branding as it sparks the most joy for our customers. They’re able to change colours, upload the logos and really make it their own. There is very little Annature branding, it’s not about us, it’s about them. It’s their business, their workflows. We’re just here to facilitate and make it happen more efficiently and securely. 

XU: Who does Annature integrate with?

AA: We integrate with everyone’s storage solutions like Google, Microsoft, Box, DropBox FYI Docs, Xero, Stripe and many more to come. Developers love Annature because of our robust and feature-rich API’s. It allows them to build Annature into their workflows seamlessly.

XU: What has been your best experience with Annature so far?

AA: Getting to work with a new team. My business partner and Annature founder Corey has been great to work with. He’s got so much experience working in this space we’re very lucky to have him in the team. He’s passionate about high-quality coding and development, more so than anyone else I’ve met in quite a long time. I know he’s building Annature to be of a very high standard behind the scenes. 

XU: When you’re not working, what do you like to spend your time doing?

AA: I’m a girl living on the Gold Coast, I love what all women love. Cocktails with friends, shopping, sitting by the beach, reading a good book and relaxing with a glass of wine in my hand. COVID & Lockdowns really has forced us all to step back and think about what do we really care about. I’m thankful to have my son and his partner back in the country, safe and sound.

XU: Is there anyone or anything that has particularly inspired your business journey?

AA: I’m just inspired by our customers every single day. We work with alot of professional service businesses and the work they are putting in at the moment to keep the country operating is unbelievable. They all deserve a medal for the work they’re doing to help their SME clients keep the lights on.

XU: Do you have any exciting plans in the works for Annature? Where would you like to see it go?

AA: We’re incredibly excited about the future of biometrics and where that plays into our platform. This is an evolving space and some amazing case studies showing how we can interact and verify exactly who is signing a document outside of the industry-standard metadata capture. Identity verification and KYC/AML requirements are starting to heat up in Australia, so we’ve partnered up with global leaders like Stripe & Equifax to deliver a secure new way of completing these checks. It’s going to be important for all professional service providers to have the right tools and systems that allows them to seamlessly verify their clients.

I’d ask everyone to keep tabs on Annature, and watch what we’re building. It’s going to be pretty special. 

Why leave it there?

To learn how to simplify your documents with Electronic signatures

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