Notary Publics are utilized for several reasons. They can attest or certify documents as true copies of the original, administer oaths, and take affirmations or declarations. A Notary Public’s role is to verify the identity of the person signing a document. It’s a third-party witness to not only the signature of a document but also the fact that all parties who signed did so willingly and under their own power and understood the meaning of what they were signing.
In Ontario, lawyers and paralegals have traditionally been the only option for people needing this service. One company, however, has changed that with an innovative AI-powered platform. For the first time, Canadians can create and customize their legal documents and have them notarized online in one simple flow.
That company is NotaryPro, Canada’s first and only instant notary service with a document-creator app. It offers individuals and companies a convenient online notary and document service that enables them to create a custom legal document and digitally notarize it in less than seven minutes from anywhere in the world.
NotaryPro was established in 2016 by Robert Onley, a seasoned lawyer with a passion for innovation (his very first business was installing small LED light kits on cars while pursuing his undergrad degree). Onley recognized as a junior lawyer that many documents he was required to notarize were during challenging or critical stages of his clients’ lives. He also recognized at that time that many lawyers viewed their offering of notary services as less meaningful work, so they often overcharged for the service. Onley had a different perspective.
“I saw that most clients had no idea what a notary public is, what the service should be like or how much it should cost,” Onley explains, “I set out to change all that. I decided to set up a quick website and make it really simple for people to book an appointment.”
Nearly eight years later, that “quick website” has become Canada’s first fully digital instant notary service, with more than 200,000 clients across Canada and the United States and a comprehensive network of more than 200 in-person notary locations. Launched in 2018, NotaryPro quickly garnered a reputation for simplifying and humanizing notary public, legal and paralegal services with its trusted network of experts, accessible, easy-to-use online information, tools and apps, and transparent, standardized and fair pricing (when you book an appointment with NotaryPro you know you’ll pay the same service fee and receive the same high level of service regardless of your location).
Onley connected with Spark Centre when NotaryPro was in the home stretch of its first investment round and preparing to hire developers. Since that introduction, Onley has become an engaged client with the accelerator and has moved his headquarters into the Spark Centre office.
“As a startup founder, this was probably the most intimidating time for me.” Onley says, “We were about to deploy the capital invested in our business to give real people new jobs, asking them to help scale and build our platform. In most cases, these employees were leaving their current jobs to get behind our vision. By joining Spark Centre, I could engage in meaningful conversations with other experienced founders who have been in the same scenario as NotaryPro and talk through the challenges with them. Conversing with like-minded individuals provides a platform for learning, exchanging ideas and gaining valuable insights from varying perspectives. Chatting with staff at Spark Centre on any given day is like having a group of trusted advisors.”
Now headquartered in Oshawa, Ontario, NotaryPro is focused on growing the business productivity platform and scaling its partnerships to become a major player in North America’s $14 billion legal tech market. It recently celebrated a series of significant milestones: a record number of weekly transactions with its in-person service, the highest volume ever of its online notary service, growth of its network of notaries to the largest it’s ever been (with increasing interest from American notaries) and the release of its document creator app. The “Docs App” as Onley refers to it, represents NotaryPro’s single biggest product release in the last two years as it expands in the notary services domain.
“The reality is that our clients bring us documents in various states of accuracy, formatting and completion every day.” Onley adds, “We recognize that not everyone has access to the right software to edit, print or review their documents.”
NotaryPro’s journey of innovation and growth doesn’t stop at the creation of the Docs App, however. The company is now focused on harnessing the power of AI and embracing a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model to enhance the user experience. The Docs App will soon feature AI-generated suggestions for specific clauses and the capability to answer legal questions, making legal document creation and understanding more intuitive. The transition to a SaaS model will potentially allow users to access their documents and notarization services seamlessly from anywhere at any time. The company is also considering a potential subscription-based model that offers users limitless access to notarization services at a predictable cost. It’s all part of NotaryPro’s commitment to providing modern, efficient and user-centric notary and legal solutions.
“NotaryPro is driven by a commitment to an accessible and simplified future where people can access legal services anytime, anywhere, and in any language. We envision a future where the most important task is to ensure clients can create, understand and effortlessly complete their legal documents fully digitally.” Onley says, “This forward-thinking approach truly encapsulates the future that NotaryPro is building, one that redefines the notarization experience, prioritizing user convenience and understanding.”