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Champ Titles Lands $8.5M for Digital Vehicle Titling

The company is digitizing the vehicle title process using blockchain, which could help state governments offer more efficient services to residents. The move comes as sellers promote more online vehicle purchases.

A lot full of parked cars.
Champ Titles has raised $8.5 million in new funding as the Cleveland-based startup tries to use digital technology such as blockchain to change the vehicle title business — an industry that involves state governments along with insurers and other organizations.

The new funding round was led by Eos Venture Partners and W. R. Berkley Corp., the company said in a press release. Champ Titles — stylized as CHAMPtitles on its website — said it has raised more than $17.5 million since its launch. The guiding idea behind the company is to use digital technology to enable the creation, management and transfer of vehicles' titles in a single day, reducing a major point of hassle and friction not only for consumers but for others involved in the title process, including state governments.

“What we are doing here saves not only weeks in processing time but money for everyone,” said Champ Titles CEO Shane Bigelow in the press release. “The world is rapidly digitizing, and Champ’s end-to-end vehicle titling solutions are being adopted at a high rate because we significantly reduce the time and effort required to create, manage or transfer the vehicle title. This funding will allow us to roll out Champ Titles faster to more users across the entire U.S.”

The funding is only the latest sign of growth for Champ.

In April, it announced a partnership with online vehicle auction company Copart. The deal involves providing an automated digital platform for car sellers — including insurance companies — that, according to the release, “alleviates the need for manual paper and mail-oriented vehicle title processing.”

While online car buying remains relatively rare when compared to other forms of consumer e-commerce, it is growing, thanks in part to such vehicle retailers as Carvana. In 2020, for instance, that company reported a 31 percent increase of vehicle deliveries between Q2 and Q4. Such trends could work in favor of related digital services such as vehicle titles.

Champ Titles said it has various offerings designed to appeal to the digitally minded when it comes to the typically complex vehicle purchasing process. One tool in production, the company said, is called Digital Total Loss. It enables insurance carriers to more efficiently acquire and dispose of vehicles that have experienced a total loss.

Another product directly involves state governments. The company’s DMV SaaS is meant to give state motor vehicle agencies “the ability to modernize their title and registration systems, providing significant benefits to all users of these upgraded systems,” according to the press release.

In the meantime, blockchain continues to gain ground with state and local governments.

A recent example of where this trend is headed comes from Texas, where university researchers want to use blockchain to verify identities for homeless people in the health-care system. That would save those patients from having to produce photo ID multiple times during their journeys through that system.