RIA Solutions Group Offers Custom Software for Information Technology Partners
Tim Starets first saw the impact of his information technology company, RIA Solutions Group, three years ago. His computer keyboard had broken and a replacement arrived by mail.
“I looked at the mailing label on the box and realized that the software used to route the box to me had been actually written by my team,” Starets says.
It was one of many proud moments for Starets, whose 10-year-old company headquartered at Wake Forest Biotech Place in the Innovation Quarter designs and builds custom computer software and systems. Starets, the company president, and Mark Vetrano, vice president of enterprise services, are based at Biotech Place with a team of over 50 technology experts across several technology centers in Romania. The main development center is in Cluj-Napoca and two others are in smaller cities in that region.
“Software technology is a global business,” Starets says. “I started this business when that trend was becoming apparent. I wanted to be a player in that space.”
Information Technology Challenges Faced by RIA Solutions Group
After graduating from Wake Forest University in 1993, Starets spent 10 years as a software developer and project manager. He says what he really wanted to do was build software systems and solve the needs of companies that couldn’t get answers from existing programs. So he created RIA Solutions Group, working initially through Wake Forest University’s business incubator program.
“Businesses choose to go the route of custom technology when packaged software doesn’t fit their business needs or it’s strategic for them to own that intellectual property,” Starets says. “Custom software can add a valuable asset to business overall, as well as create competitive advantages that you wouldn’t otherwise have.”
At RIA Solutions Group, dedicated technology teams specialize in different areas of expertise, including applications using technology frameworks from Microsoft and Oracle, quality assurance testing, mobile technologies, data and big data, reporting and business intelligence. One of the company’s key specialties is developing scalable applications and systems that can process massive amounts of data quickly.
Today, RIA Solutions Group:
- Develops mobile applications for field service personnel in the home and office delivery business, allowing technicians to record information on a mobile device that links directly to their company’s home systems.
- Provides desktop software for supply chain clients to manage warehousing and repair operations.
- Creates reverse logistics (returns, repairs, refurbishing) systems for mobile phones. RIA Solutions Group’s clients handle more than 1 million devices a month, which requires a robust logistics system.
Wake Forest Connections
Besides Starets’ Wake Forest University ties, Vetrano, the vice president, also is an alumnus, with a master’s degree in liberal studies, a degree he achieved after 25 years of working in enterprise software development.
A Wake Forest connection also helped bring about one of RIA Solutions Group’s key partnerships, with V12 Group, a New Jersey-based company that manages 3.4 billion consumer, business and automotive industry records for marketing and analytics.
When Starets was in Wake Forest’s business incubator program, he met Brad Mack, who at the time was also based in the incubator. Mack worked with RIA Solutions Group in launching his supply chain management and security company. Later, after he joined V12 Group as chief technology officer, Mack had an idea of how he could again use the skillset of RIA Solutions Group.
Mack worked with RIA Solutions Group to create software systems that could rapidly customize V12 Group’s massive records. Doing so was a crucial breakthrough because V12 Group counts some of the nation’s largest companies among its clients.
“Everyone was always talking about it, but where could you find the data scientists who could create massive systems of information that would always be available to users? Our system is designed to be 100 percent uptime,” Mack says.
Starets says the chance to work with V12 Group was an ideal opportunity.
“V12 Group came to us locked into technologies that were hard to customize and hard to scale. Their business vision and progress was hardbound by its technology. We’ve gone in over the last four years and have helped them to transform their technology, which in turn has allowed them to transform their business.”
As a result, V12 Group’s Launchpad application allows its clients to access and categorize billions of records instantly through a secure platform.
“RIA and the IT team at V12 Group – we consider them one team – execute the technology to fill the goals and objectives of our customers,” says Mack, who is based in Winston-Salem and frequently works out of RIA Solutions Group’s office in Biotech Place.
“I can’t stress how important RIA is to us.”
Biotech Place Advantages
As a Wake Forest graduate, Starets says the decision to keep his business in Winston-Salem wasn’t difficult. Being in Biotech Place has several advantages.
“I like how Wake Forest is advancing the technology transformation of Winston-Salem, and I want to participate in it. Biotech Place offers facilities like high-tech conference rooms, which a company my size would not be able to support directly.”
Another advantage is that over time, Wake Forest Innovation Quarter will provide the highest concentration of technology companies in the area, which means a larger pool of potential client-partners in years to come, Starets says. For example, the information technology firm Inmar moved its headquarters into a new building in the Innovation Quarter in March.
A Growing Company
“When I started RIA Solutions Group, I was happy if I could pay the bills, and there were months when I couldn’t,” Starets says.
Today, RIA Solutions Group is a multimillion-dollar business, and Starets and Vetrano hope to continue steady growth in software development services by building partnerships with clients.
“RIA Solutions Group is, first and foremost, about good technology people. We have great technologists, and we can bring to bear that strength in North Carolina, North America and the world,” Starets says. “We apply our technology expertise to the unique business challenges of each of our clients.”