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May 14, 2018 | Tom Ballard

SmartRIA realizing significant customer and revenue growth

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

What a difference just 12 months can make in a young company’s fortunes.

That is certainly the case with Smart RIA, a start-up launched in 2011 by Roger Kiger, a Certified Financial Planner and founder of Visionary Horizons Wealth Management. He had packaged 10 years of experience into a product to automate compliance requirements faced by small, independent investment firms or even individual advisors.

Near the end of 2015, Knoxville entrepreneur Mac Bartine assumed the position of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Smart RIA and told us in this article from last September – two years after joining the start-up – that it was generating revenue and making solid progress.

We caught-up with Bartine recently, and the news just keeps getting better.

“We have experienced a 1000 percent plus revenue growth since the beginning of 2017,” he said, adding, “We expect to double or triple our size in 2018.”

Bartine said the firm had 39 paying customers in January 2017, just a few months after Smart RIA moved from its Beta version to a full-fledged product offering.

“We have more than 550 firms using our software today, and they have more than 1,000 seat licenses,” he noted.

In the article published last September, Bartine explained that partnering relationships with compliance consulting firms represented a significant growth path for Smart RIA. These firms serve independent financial advisors and are authorized to sublicense the software to the consulting firm’s clients.

At the time, Smart RIA had arrangements with two of the consulting firms. That number has grown to about a dozen today, and those additional relationships open-up the opportunity for several thousand additional seat licenses. That’s on top of direct sales to independent firms.

As far as how the start-up has taken-off, Bartine reiterated a key point he made in the 2017 article.

“We have made our software incredibly easy to use and understand,” he says, adding that “that’s not as easy as it sounds in the area of financial advisor compliance.”

For the most part, Smart RIA has been a bootstrapped operation. The company had a $250,000 seed capital round and also secured $100,000 from Golden Angels Investors after participating in its “FinTech Venture Day 2017” last October.

Looking to the future, the company’s CEO, who moved to Roane County with his family when he was one-year old, is totally upbeat.

“We can become the biggest firm of our type in the country, possibly in the next year,” Bartine says.

That just another 12 months away!

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