Formstack Innovates No-Code Digital Forms Markets

The concept of the “paperless office” was first envisioned in 1978. Yet more than 40 years later it is still very much a work in progress, notwithstanding the many technology companies working in the space and the spending by businesses to accomplish the goal. 

The Form Automation Software Market was valued at $7.09 Billion in 2018 and is expected to reach $26.03 billion by 2026, according to Verified Market Research. Closely related is the Digital Signature market at $2.5 billion in 2020 and projected to reach $13.9 Billion by 2027, according to Research and Markets. 

One company working in both spaces is Fishers, Indiana-based Formstack (originally named Formspring) that has been working for the past 15 years to provide businesses with simple, no-code solutions to digital forms and workflow documents. Its founder Ade Olonoh set the company on that journey in 2006.

“He was a software developer and he simply said, ‘I have to build forms every time I build a website or every time I build an application and it’s this very tedious work.’ And so he actually built it [Formstack] to solve his own problem. The idea was to give non-technical people the ability to build a webform. And in 2006, that was a big deal. Today, we still think about that non-technical user. Now of course, no code tools are what people are all talking about,” says Chris Byers, Formstack CEO. While Olonoh remains with the company as a board member, Byers took over the CEO role in 2010.

The company’s software enables organisations to automate and fix workflows without any programming or software skills required. Users can collect data with online forms, generate digital documents, and gather electronic signatures.The platform integrates with over 100 web applications, including apps for CRM management, email marketing, payment processing, and document management.

“Most people in business know exactly how to solve their own problem. We give them the tool set to do so. It starts with forms. It moves into document generation in each signature, but it’s these things that live around you and if you can automate them, you’re going to save time and you’re going to save money. And that allows you to get back to do your core job that is probably not working in our software. And so from the early days, it was first the web form. Then it moved into the rise of the API where all of a sudden, I can collect that data in a form and now I can get it into what is hundreds of native integrations,” says Byers.

Today, the company works with over 238,000 customers across 29,000 organisations around the world, from start-ups to large enterprises like Netflix, Butler University and Cleveland Clinic to name a few. As a result, the company attracted $425 million in private equity funding from Providence Strategic Growth and Silversmith Capital Partners in November, 2021. “We have a great relationship with PSG equity. Not only are they great financial partners, they really led the way in a lot of things to help teach their CEOs, like how do we respond to issues of race and racism and begin to have these conversations internally. Those are challenging. And so we were just super thankful to have them,” says Byers. 

Given the company’s growth trajectory and immense addressable market, Byers expects additional funding in the not-so-distant future. “I think we’ll look toward adding another financial partner here very soon to just continue to accelerate the story. We see PSG is very excited about the business, and we think there will be another party who can help us keep growing and keep reaching more customers going forward,” says Byers.

While Byers is not the original founder, he is himself an entrepreneur. He and Olonoh were co-founders of Bottled Software from 2000 to 2002. They would go their separate ways, but remain friends with Beyer helping Olonoh in some of his other ventures. Ade started the company in 2006 and I had been a really early customer. I was customer number five and then helped him raise some money when he was first starting. And then he started another business and so I said, ‘Hey, I’ll come in and run the business for six months.’ And then that’s been 11 and a half years now,” says Byers.

Byers did not have a traditional route to the CEO role. He grew up in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. His dad was an entrepreneur and so he got to watch him start businesses, both the failures and successes. Early on in college he and Olonoh started a website development company that then started building custom web-based software. After graduating from Anderson University with a degree in finance, he became a financial advisor and then became Vice President of Finance and Investor Relations at Foundation Surgery Affiliates.  He would leave the traditional business world behind to become President of Blue Door Ministries and moved his family to London to start a church in 2010 before taking on the CEO role at Formstock.

As for the future for Formstock? “We see this exceptional opportunity in what is probably a 100 plus billion-dollar addressable market. Which is simply, in a lot of ways, us saying we can equip employees in every organisation to solve these critical time-consuming problems, and they don’t have to call IT. They don’t have to call a software engineer; they can do it themselves. And so, we’re just excited about continuing to grow and serve more of those customers and help them be successful,” concludes Byers.

Read More: Formstack Innovates No-Code Digital Forms Markets

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