Digital signatures

We invest in both Turkey and the US. Whenever one of our US startups has legal documents that need to be signed, we simply do so online. US law accepts digital signatures and this makes signing legal documents very easy. We simply go onto Docusign, Hellosign, or whichever platform the startup is using and sign the documents there.

The process is much more cumbersome when one of our Turkish startups has legal documents that need to be signed. Turkish law requires that legal documents be signed by pen and paper. In practice, this means that the startup’s lawyer takes a physical copy of the documents to the location of each party that needs to sign it. They travel from office to office in Istanbul, obtaining successive signatures until all parties have signed the document. This is a time sink for the law office and it creates an additional cost that the startup needs to pay for. It also requires each party to coordinate their schedules to be available when the documents will be arriving at their office. When delays occur, this impacts everyone’s schedule.

The requirement for pen and paper signatures is archaic. We live in a digital world. Turkish law, and likely many other legal systems across the world, need to start accepting digital signatures.