Avalara is based on Bainbridge Island, and the company’s software helps online merchants manage the mundane tasks of sales tax collection. Given those two attributes, it’s easy to understand why the company often gets overlooked.
But Avalara — under the direction of founder and CEO Scott McFarlane — is executing on some big ideas in the shadow of the ferry terminal. And 2011 was perhaps the most significant year in the company’s 12-year history.
After all, given Amazon.com’s tax squabbles, online sales tax collection became a very hot topic. Avalara is positioning itself to capitalize on some of the choppy seas, with McFarlane claiming that online sales tax collection doesn’t have to be a headache for businesses.
“It is hard in its implementation, and it is a big-kind of business,” McFarlane told GeekWire earlier this year in describing Avalara’s tax management service.
The company is on track to top $30 million in revenue this year, with McFarlane and crew saying they’d like to crack the $100 million sales mark in the coming years. They’ve also grown to 225 employees, adding more than 100 employees at offices in Virginia, California, India and, of course, Bainbridge Island.
While Avalara felt the need to open a Seattle branch earlier this year, in part to recruit technical talent, the company very much identifies with the island culture of Bainbridge where it feels at home in a new 17,500 square-foot headquarters near the ferry terminal.
No wonder you’ll occasionally see Avalara execs donning Hawaiian shirts. Things are just a little different in the islands.