Despite making great money out of Glazier Systems and AfterMail, accounting had been on Rod Drury’s mind since he was a teenager. “I was 28 at the time. It just felt like it was the right time to trust him, and get a good opportunity to work on the ground floor of something. After finishing high school, the trio started to ramp up their musical career and sought new band members for their “nu metal” rock band. As they met vocalist Chester Bennington, who would later become the internationally famous face of the band, it was clear the group would need to evolve further.
Is Xero based in the UK?
Milton Keynes – This vibrant office is our UK headquarters where you’ll feel welcome and fit right in as soon as you walk through the doors.
Xero sells cloud-based accounting software to small businesses in English-speaking countries around the world. It’s a direct competitor with Intuit in the US, which is considerably larger. Managing Director, UK, KarbonWith more than 18 years as a leader working in SaaS, Miranda has a gift for building and scaling businesses that are entering new markets and achieving results that impact. In her last role before Karbon, she started with a blank canvas and left the company performing £6M Annual Recurring Revenue. Since returning Stateside, I’ve focused on really getting to know the team, working on longer-term strategies and setting goals for various aspects of the business. As you can imagine, I’ve also spent time in the market, getting to know our customers and partners and understanding the unique challenges they are struggling with and how Xero can help.
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UK revenues were £75m for the year leading up to the end of September and Turner says the UK is still in “hyper-growth” mode, with revenue growing at 51% year-on-year. “The UK is the fastest-growing of all of our regions,” says Turner. Xero’s story is well known on its home turf, but it’s gaining traction in the U.S. where Drury told Mashable it’s now “game on” for the company.
As the cloud was coming to the market, Drury was in a unique position. He had a business idea already in his mind and now a technology solution that could bring that idea to life. In fact, looking back on Drury’s career he has continually been at the forefront of technology and that is, arguably, the reason he has been so successful in his multiple ventures. Susan is an experienced business leader with a particular interest in helping companies to drive growth through technology, innovation and organisational culture. Susan is currently the chair of Vista Group and an independent director of Property for Industry, Arvida Group and Craigs Investment Partners. When Turner took the job companies like Microsoft, SAP and Oracle were the only truly global enterprise software companies serving small businesses.
Acuity is the home of sharp thinking on matters of economics, business and finance. For the latest trends, expert advice and insightful interviews, sign up to Acuity today. But he argues that for small business accounting the issue is not that controversial. But discussing the controversy that erupted over US police seeking access to iPhone data in 2016, he acknowledges there will be circumstances when a software provider or server owner should cooperate with government enquiries. He also sees an opportunity to give stakeholders such as investors “read only” access to accounts.
He then built the global Xero Payroll team that delivers payroll software across the US, AU, UK and NZ markets. Stuart is now paving the way for smarter tools to improve how accountants collaborate with their colleagues and look after their clients. What continues to inspire me every day, is the opportunity to help people pursue their dreams.
But cloud-based accounting can provide an opportunity for the growth of a government “surveillance culture”. Drury says a balance between private and public interests must be struck. His accounting software has processed more than NZ$1 trillion in transactions over the previous year, Xero has around 900,000 client businesses and 20 global offices. He travels quite a bit, spends a couple of days a week working from home, and as he’s come to appreciate over the years just how crucial it is to get regular exercise. Rod Drury will remain with the cloud accounting firm as a non-executive director when former Microsoft Australia CEO Steve Vamos takes the reins in April. Xero has created an open API system that allows third party developers to easily integrate their products and services straight into the Xero platform.
Board Of Directors
We are seeing better books and the integrity of the financial information can be proven to be better because of the tools we have built. “Like first of all actually realising there are many more small business than what the government thought. One of the insights Xero has had – unlikely to surprise accountants – is that small business “are terrible” at coding transactions, Drury says. The board is surveying stakeholders about easing the audit requirements for less complex companies, while beefing them up for more complicated structures. The Governmental Accounting Standards Board is adding a major project on going concern uncertainties and severe financial stress to its technical plan for the first third of this year. That’s kinda…you know, I sleep in one city or sleep in one town and work in a whole lot of other ones. So, I think that kind of stability of just having a, you know, one place that you live and work in is what you give up when you’re doing these global jobs.
He was named Ernst & Young New Zealand Entrepreneur of the Year in 2013, and is a member of the New Zealand Hi-Tech Hall of Fame. Director of Sales, Asia-PacificRichard brings almost 20 years of leadership experience working for SaaS companies in the accounting industry including MYOB, QuickFee and Wolters Kluwer. He has a proven record of helping accounting firms leverage technology to grow and improve their business. VP of ProductSara has been leading product teams xero founder for the past 14 years. She was one of Xero’s early employees in 2007, and responsible for teams building sales, support & operational systems, as well as a global product scalable to millions of customers. Her projects have received numerous awards including three Webbys. Founder & CTOJohn co-founded Paycycle with Stuart in 2009 and after its acquisition by Xero he moved to the US to lead the engineering team, building online payroll for the US, UK and NZ markets.
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Then in 1987 he joined consulting firm Arthur Young, which later became Ernst & Young. “We loved solving the problems. There was this mathematical beauty in accounting. We loved the equation that debits equalled credits,” Drury said.
It also found 71 per cent think knowledge of automation in the financial sector will be crucial to their success over the next five years. It’s the golden age of services business,” says Xero founder and CEO Rod Drury.
“As a business leader, it’s all about preserving options. We made sure we had plenty of cash,” he said. “While others may have found it hard to find funding, we’ve been able to keep executing our plan.” Claude Walker, an investment research analyst at Motley Fool, which owns shares in Xero, said he wasn’t sure if Xero’s list-first approach had helped with funding. It certainly helped the company win extra press, however, and promote its brand. At this point, it’s made a loss in the public eye for almost one decade. That’s a prospect that might terrify a lot of notoriously closed-book startups.
Xero paid the acquisition price for Hubdoc in two stages, initially US$60 million consisting of 35% cash and 65% in Xero equity. A second tranche of US$10 million in equity was promised to the Hubdoc’s shareholders in 18 months following the acquisition, subject to operational targets and conditions. In April 2018, Steve Vamos was appointed as CEO, replacing Rod Drury.
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Vamos currently serves as a non-executive director of the Australian telecommunications company Telstra and the building materials company Fletcher Building, and is a member of the advisory board of the University of Technology Sydney Business School. He has a degree in civil engineering from the University of New South Wales.
Anna has a wealth of experience in online financial services and operations. Before joining Xero as managing director for New Zealand in 2016, Anna led internet banking at ASB and the digital first strategy at Spark. Anna has a Bachelor’s Degree and a Postgraduate Diploma in Commerce from the University of Auckland.
They were snooping on my activity and collecting and storing my data on an industrial… If investors want to find the next Xero, they should ask similar questions of the next generation of companies.
Mark was at Deutsche Bank for 10 years, initially based in Sydney in mergers and acquisitions, then in London as a managing director and co-head of a European M&A industry group. Drury attended Napier Boys’ High School, which is where he says he developed an interest in computer programming, before going on to study commerce and administration at Victoria University of Wellington. After university, he worked at the accounting firm Arthur Young, which became Ernst & Young in 1989. In 2009, it received $23 million of funding led by MYOB founder, Craig Winkler. It raised an additional $4 million in 2010 from Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures who also invested an additional $16.6 million in February 2012. It raised $49 million in a funding round in November 2012 with the largest amounts coming from Peter Thiel and Matrix Capital.
- It’s also raised funds from Valar Ventures, which is backed by Gawker arch-nemesis Peter Thiel.
- “Xero was a high-profile IPO offered by leading financial institutions to retail investors — there were risks but these were clearly articulated.”
- My first 30 days were spent on-the-ground learning about the key elements of Xero as a global organization, visiting our offices in New Zealand and Australia to see the wins we’ve had in our markets worldwide.
- Peter Karpas is CEO of North America and said that one of the things that has made Xero so successful is that employees are encouraged to ask questions.
- “We hadn’t really thought about it that much, but what we realised was, yes, we have internships and we have graduate programs, and all those good things, but there aren’t enough large companies to move the needle.”
- As the cloud was coming to the market, Drury was in a unique position.
- The entire team was coming and going all hours to get Accounting 2.0 off the ground — much to the bemusement of the other residents in the complex.
Since beginning my role in December, I’ve worked closely with my new leadership team to institute a 90 day plan. My first 30 days were spent on-the-ground learning about the key elements of Xero as a global organization, visiting our offices in New Zealand and Australia to see the wins we’ve had in our markets worldwide. Over my time serving the small business sector, I became passionate about helping entrepreneurs pursue their dream and obsessed with solving the problem of the complexity of financial management. I came to believe that by bringing the world of a small business owner together — connecting the pieces of business management using technology — we could make managing a business drop dead simple and intuitive. Doing it from the inside of a bank meant that I was only going to solve this problem for our customers and from the lens of money. At Xero, I can do it for everyone and solve a bigger set of problems.
And then the third thing is just making sure you balance things out and enjoy the journey, because that’s your…you know the prize isn’t the reward at the very end. The prize is actually doing it and the enjoyment of being part of a team that’s, you know, kicking ass globally. How do you encourage people to try something different and take ownership and just run as fast as they can? So I’m very much trying to unlock things and just keep the urgency going as much as I can . So, I tend to dart around the business because I’ve got great people running each part of it, that frees me up to not be too prescriptive about my day. And while Drury leads with that intense sense of urgency, and he’s very involved in all levels of the business, it’s important to point out that it’s not the same as being tyrannical or overly controlling. For early entrepreneurs, that may mean bootstrapping, securing a loan, or even asking for money from friends and family.
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We didn’t have a very venture capital market at that time, and we needed 50 people from day one. That’s half a million a month and so we thought we needed about $15 million of funding, which was kind of outside what a normal BC round would be, so we ended up having to tell a big story and we floated pretty much as a start-up.
We have the ability to stitch together the financial lives of a small business owner. The beauty of cloud technology is that all those things can work together seamlessly, creating a set of connections that are unique to a small business owner. “For the government to get data without informing our customers has only happened a handful of times . We believe that if a government department wants our customers’ data they must go through due process and our customer must be informed. We have spent quite a bit of money defending our customers’ right to be informed.
— TOA Global (@TOAGlobal) September 9, 2019
OccupationTechnology entrepreneurKnown forFounding XeroRodney Kenneth Drury is a New Zealand technology entrepreneur, predominately known for his association with accounting software company, Xero. Drury was CEO of Xero until 2018, after founding the company in 2006. In 2006, there weren’t too many private capital options for a technology startup in this part of the world. After being funded out of its founders’s pockets, Xero listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange in 2007, followed by the Australian Stock Exchange in 2012. Xero gained an immediate consumer following its launch with a do-it-yourself sandal product, and has strategically expanded its product portfolio over the last several years to now include a full lineup for all four seasons. The products are sold primarily through e-commerce channels with growing distribution at retail both domestically and internationally. Throughout my career I’ve gravitated toward industries that are inherently complicated and critical — I want to be part of companies that are doing things differently.
- As for the investors, we learn what metrics they hone in on when examining SaaS business, what type of metrics excites them and what they look for in SaaS founders.
- Xero’s lead investors includes Accel Partners, Matrix Capital Management, MYOB, TCV, Valar Ventures and others.
- The flat hierarchy circles back to the “diversity of thought” theme seen in the robust conversations back in apartment 404.
- It also found 71 per cent think knowledge of automation in the financial sector will be crucial to their success over the next five years.
- “That was the technology scene in the 1990s, because it was really hard and personally very difficult with all the travel, to build long-term businesses. So you get into a point and you’d sell them, and everyone was happy.”
- In a 28th St office near the Flatiron Building, he loves his life in Manhattan leading a team of developers that work on “strategic projects”.
- Rod and his team have created and scaled a massive SaaS platform for small businesses around the world that’s madeXerothe largest tech company coming out of New Zealand.
Walker recalled that, three years earlier, Drury had shown him a basic prototype of a new accounting system. The entrepreneur, having studied information systems at university, had technical skills himself and in 2003 was able to mock up a model of his big idea – but it was never spoken of again and Walker had long forgotten about it. He had a lot of faith in Drury as a businessman but that wasn’t a lot of information to quit on a portfolio of customers which was earning him a comfortable living. Just weeks prior, Drury sold his email archival business AfterMail to US tech firm Quest Software for $US45 million. Craig Walker was working around Wellington as a technology contractor for a range of small business clients that couldn’t afford to have their own chief technology officer.
“What we’re doing is spending more time pushing our Denver office now. We’ve got 100 people there.” “We still get asked ‘when will you pay my dividend and how come you’re making a loss?’ Well, we have so much capital, investors don’t want us to give money back. They want us to invest for longterm growth and spend more than we earn,” Drury argued. VP of MarketingLachlan is responsible for our inbound marketing strategy to drive awareness and demand for Karbon. Coming from senior positions in professional service, sport and non-profit industries, he has a proven record of helping businesses grow through results-driven marketing. “The Xero App Store now provides strong foundations for encouraging greater digital transformation, while democratising access to technology for small businesses,” he said. A new app Partner Dashboard gives developers access to analytics and insights to help track customer conversion and get real-time customer feedback. The Xero App Store has improved search capabilities and personalised recommendations powered by machine learning to make it easier for businesses to find the right apps for their needs, with detailed app reviews highlighted.
But the company has become a poster child for New Zealand’s tech sector, having blazed a trail for the country’s now-burgeoning tech startup industry. In July 2006 Drury founded Xero, a publicly listed software as a service accounting-software company, and served as its CEO. Drury made his initial fortune through Glazier Systems, a New Zealand software development and consulting company, which was sold in 1999.