Press Release – Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce
Business Central and the Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce congratulate Rod Drury on being named EY Entrepreneur of the Year for 2013.
Chief Executive Raewyn Bleakley says it’s a feather in the cap of Wellington and the central business region that Mr Drury, founder and CEO of cloud-based accounting company Xero, has won the top award.
“This is a fantastic achievement.
“Given that Rod is a member of the Chamber and splits his time between Havelock North and Wellington – when he’s not somewhere else in the world developing new markets for his company – we are proud to claim him as our own. He’s a great champion of Wellington and the region.”
He was selected as the winner of Technology and Emerging Industry in August, and was one of five category winners in competition for the ultimate prize in Auckland last night. He will represent New Zealand at the EY World Entrepreneur of The Year Awards in Monte Carlo in June next year, joining national winners from 55 countries.
“He’s taking on the world in cloud accounting and now he’s off to take on the best entrepreneurs the world has to offer.
“Rod’s story of perseverance is one we can all learn from, and both Business Central and the Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce have been doing just that.
“For someone who is running a multibillion-dollar company and 600 staff spread over four countries he has been very generous with his time in passing on his experiences, ideas, and advice to both the Chamber and to Business Central members, most recently in Whanganui and Hawke’s Bay.
“In addition, the Chamber jumped at the chance to partner with Xero to run four free workshops for members earlier this year all centred around its area of expertise – building a global-class website, building a best-in-class product team, using ‘cloud’ tools to best advantage, and global recruitment and opening offices around the world.
“They were a fantastic opportunity for business to learn first-hand from the people behind an extremely successful company, and were extremely well received.
“This is a perfect example of business helping business, and Business Central and the Chamber look forward to furthering this extremely valuable partnership into the future and to developing similar partnerships with other companies.”
BusinessDesk Report – October 14
Rod Drury, founder of Xero, says the cloud-based accounting company’s $180 million capital raising from key US shareholders sends a strong signal to rivals that there are no constraints on the funds it needs to win global market share.
The Wellington-based company sold 9.92 million shares at $18.15 apiece, a 1.1 percent premium to their price last week, to Matrix Capital Management, Peter Thiel-backed Valar Ventures and other US investors. It lifted cash on hand rises to $230 million from the $55 million it disclosed as at Sept. 30.
“We’ve been trading on a pretty good valuation and this is a relatively small percentage of the company to give up for a safety net,” Drury told BusinessDesk. “It sends a strong signal to incumbents around the world that we have no constraints.”
“We now need to build the best global management team,” he said. “This is a further signal that we can get the best.”
Xero isn’t planning any acquisitions with the new capital and it is “more about building a war chest, building a tonne of options,” he said.
The sale represents 8 percent of the enlarged capital of the company and gives it a much wider cash buffer to fund growth as it chases 1 million customers, almost five times its current customer base of 211,000.
“Xero is emerging as the definitive software platform for small business worldwide,” David Goel, managing member of Matrix, said in the statement. “Having empowered hundreds of thousands of small and medium-sized businesses in New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom, Xero is poised to do the same for its 29 million potential customers in the US. We are adding to our investment to help facilitate and accelerate this goal.”
Valar and Matrix last injected funds into Xero in November, with $60 million of new capital, while buying $22 million of shares from director Craig Winkler, Drury, and co-founder Hamish Edwards at the same time.
US investors accounted for $147 million of the funds raised and “represent some of the most enduring and well-capitalised asset management firms in the world, all of whom will assist the company with its strategy and execution in the US market.” it said.
News from Ernst and Young
We are delighted to announce that Rod Drury, the founder of Xero, will now represent New Zealand at the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards in Monte Carlo, June 2014, joining national winners from 55 countries.
Visit Rod Drury’s Xero website and the first thing you’ll see is that a love-fest is going on. The ‘beautiful’ ‘cloud’ accessed accounting software he’s created is adored over 200,000 people worldwide. The aim is to attract millions more.
From a zero base in 2006, Xero is used in over 100 countries. With 400 staff globally and with 60% of very sizeable revenues achieved offshore, Xero clearly is keeping the customers satisfied.
When Rod Drury achieved School Certificate he had taken the family’s academic track record to the highest point of achievement to date. A fascination with Apple computers—and learning how to program via BASIC—soon taught him that you could use your brain — and technology — to build things. From there he was hooked on computers.
After stints working for a variety of business services and related ventures, Rod began his own journey of company creation that included service business Glazier, Context Connect, AfterMail, Pacific Fibre and involvement with the sale of TradeMe. He believes that Xero will be his last ‘gig’ as CEO.
All the ideas come from what he says are real experiences where he sees important things that are ‘broken’ and he wants to fix them. Taking on really big challenges is what excites him most.
One of the truly massive — some said outrageous — steps he took in building Xero was launching an IPO for the business before it had any revenue. Most of the capital involved initially was from the sale of AfterMail. His task was to convince a dubious marketplace that if they backed Xero they’d truly fall in love with this investment.
Through force of will, and after dodging invective arrows from industry peers, Xero listed. To date the money raised has turned into NZ$2 billion of share holder value with the price set by sophisticated overseas investors allocating funds to a New Zealand-originated global company.