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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, February 11, 2013, 7:00 am

Digital DMV drives AVRS expansion

Push for electronic records doubles revenues, customers

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    PETALUMA — Bringing the paper-based practices of the California Department of Motor Vehicles into the digital age has put startup software developer AVRS in the fast lane toward growth.

    Revenues for AVRS (707-981-8604, avrs.com), or Automated Vehicle Registration Services, doubled twice last year after the second release of its software solution for vehicle dealerships, lenders, insurers and registration services to issue DMV-valid registration cards, plates and stickers from their offices. From two people in 2010 — founders Bob Rieger, chief executive officer, and Rick Francis, chief technology officer — AVRS has grown to 24 people and now needs more room to grow, according to Mr. Rieger.

    In March the company is set to relocate up the street, from its 4,000-square-foot office at 737 Southpoint Blvd. to 16,300 square feet at 1137 N. McDowell Blvd. The new location will have more document processing and warehousing space for the paper DMV documents that still persist, as well as room for more employees as the company expands by acquisition or outside the state.

    “DMV is still in the stone age when it comes to processing documents,” Mr. Rieger said. “We’re trying to go digital for them.”

    Components of the software allows for real-time access to DMV data on vehicle status — such as the lienholder, smog status, registration expiration — and vehicle records — including registered owner, parking violations and salvage title. The software also has gone mobile, allowing such checks from a handheld device.

    AVRS first released its software in 2010 to help qualified companies join the DMV’s business partner automation, or BPA, program. The following year, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 1215, among the provisions of which mandated use of electronic vehicle lien and title, or ELT, documents by July of last year. Part of that requirement is a report from the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System, established by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2009. 

    From more than 250 customers in its first year in business, AVRS now has around 900, including undisclosed North Bay dealerships. The customer list doubled last year. As finishing touches are put on new technology and perfected in the largest state in the nation, AVRS plans to roll into five to seven other states in the next six to 12 months.

    The founders of AVRS are no strangers to fast-growing startups. Mr. Rieger started and led pioneering Internet service provider Netcom Online Communication Services as it grew over four years from a Silicon Valley home business to a publicly traded company with more than 600 employees and $1 billion in revenues.

    Russ Mayer of Keegan & Coppin/ONCOR International represented AVRS in its Jan. 16 lease deal with property owner 1125-1137 N. McDowell, LLC, which was represented by Mike Thomasan and Jeffrey Wilmore also of Keegan & Coppin.

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