Painting Wall Street Orange
- Jun 15, 2018 | Scott McFarlane
Fourteen years ago, we founded Avalara. Today, we listed as a public company on the New York Stock Exchange.
There are a few things you should know about Avalara.
First, we’re a technology company addressing the burden of tax compliance for businesses of all sizes. We choose the word burden purposely, because tax compliance is a staggeringly complicated, government-mandated, wasteful use of human capital and corporate focus faced by all businesses. Tax compliance is a multidimensional, geospatial problem involving an immense number of rates, rules, jurisdictions, boundaries, schedules, and more — all changing all the time. Avalara has brought the power of cloud computing and other technologies to bear on this problem.
Second, we’re here for, and because of, our customers. Since the first days of our company, Avalara’s mission is to alleviate the tax compliance burden on our customers, so they can focus on their core business. Although it’s a ubiquitous requirement, there is no benefit for businesses (except ours) to being great at tax compliance. There is no growth goal associated with filing a business return on time. Tax compliance is all distraction, and risk with no reward. Avalara aims to minimize business distraction and risk associated with transaction tax compliance.
We connect with customers through the applications they use to run their businesses. Accounting and financial systems. ERPs. Ecommerce shopping platforms. And more. That’s where our partners come in. We’ve built a large network of partnerships with the publishers and providers of those systems, and we work hand in hand with them to improve the lives of our mutual customers.
Third, we bleed Orange. A quick look back at 2004: When we first started talking to prospective partners and customers about our technology, nobody had heard of cloud computing and the idea of a SaaS model for financial applications was either groundbreaking or absurd, depending on your perspective. We were pitching our hearts out about automated compliance only to be met with deep concerns about the reliability of the internet and complete indifference to anything “cloud.” Plus, we were a financial technology startup located in the small bedroom community of Bainbridge Island, Washington. Let’s face it, we have always been different.
A very smart consultant took us to a large financial application trade show and we stood shoulder to shoulder on the balcony, overlooking the show floor. All we saw was blue. Blue suits, blue booths, blue lights. Big, safe, blue marketing. We made the decision right then and there that we would live and die by the color orange. We would stand out. We would be bold. We would be fun.
The way this mentality has manifested itself in our culture and our global teams unites us and differentiates us. To this day, we see ourselves as disruptors, liberators, and fierce defenders of our customers and partners. Our team gets lit up by change rather than discouraged — it’s the nature of our field. And, when our customers are discouraged by their compliance responsibilities, nothing garners trust more than our enthusiastic commitment and authentic excitement to help.
So here we are, 14 years later, staring down the next phase of our business — a phase certain to bring as much challenge, change, and promise as the first. We built a company committed to harnessing change with technology to benefit our customers and our business, so we won’t be intimidated by what’s ahead. We’ll remain excited, tireless, and powered by Orange.
To Avalarians around the world, congratulations. To our customers, partners, and investors, thank you for your trust and commitment.
P.S. You can find out more about our offering and stock at our new Investor Relations website.