by CIO New Zealand staff

‘Make New Zealand the test lab for the rest of the world’: Rod Drury

Feb 21, 20144 mins
Cloud ComputingE-commerce Services

Xero chief executive Rod Drury says while 60 per cent of Xero’s revenue come from offshore, the company will continue to focus on the New Zealand market.

Drury says one of the queries he gets is that if Xero is doing great overseas, are they going to stop doing things in New Zealand.

He says this is not the case. “We have a vision of New Zealand as the test lab for the rest of the world.”

“What is cool about New Zealand is that it is small perfectly formed country,” he states. “We can do some stuff in New Zealand you can’t do anywhere else.”

At the same time he espouses New Zealand businesses providing technology as a service to have a goal of getting 30 per cent of their revenue from offshore.

This way, he says, the country will benefit by having a bigger revenue base to build better schools and hospitals.

“We are fundamentally socialists,” he says, “the way we get that is by driving exports.”

Drury notes the accounting software company had now over 250,000 customers across the globe at the end of January, compared to 135,000 about a year ago.

“It took five years to get our first 50,000 customers, but in the last 12 months we’ve added 115,000 more. Now with a quarter of a million customers globally, and with the Australian market fast approaching 100,000 customers, we are gaining real momentum.

“The results we have achieved over the last year is testament to the innovation of the product development team which is working hard to build the features enabling us to target all small businesses in our core markets, as well as the wider teams in US, Australia, the UK and here in New Zealand,” he says at Xerocon 2014 in Auckland.

He says Xero now has 650 staff, of which 300 joined over the past year.

We are building a world class business, and are opening offices across the globe, he states.

He says Xero has more than $200 million cash following a capital raise last year.

“We have not seen a business in New Zealand that has this sort of opportunities before,” he says. “That really means we can do anything.”

Farm to market – in the cloud

Xero will be offering around mid-year a ‘Farming in the Cloud’ service, which brings real-time, single ledger reporting to the farm.

The service will allow farmers and their accountants, banks and rural service companies to work together from the same set of online, real-time data. It will likewise provide one centralised home for key accounting and farm management tools.

A major part of the service is a growing eco-system of farming software partners that are fully integrated with Xero’s online platform.

“Farming is the backbone of our nation,” says Ben Richmond, head of Xero’s rural strategy.

“When the rural sector does well, New Zealand does well, and Xero is committed to working with farmers, their advisors and stakeholders to lift the future of farming productivity together.

“There’s a huge appetite for greater collaboration with industry stakeholders and by working together from the same set of data, the accounting role becomes less about compliance, and more about exploring opportunities for greater profitability.”

Farming software partner Figured has been instrumental in delivering farming specific tools to complement Xero’s accounting expertise.

“With seamless information between all parties and no need to transfer data, everyone’s focus is on adding value rather than gathering information,” says Duncan Anderson, project director,

The work can be done using the complete livestock reporting and farm budgeting tools combined with Xero.

“Ultimately, this means better teamwork between farmer and accountant, better organisation, better decision-making and better farming.”

Xero says agricultural provider PGG Wrightson has also joined its growing network of farming partners, and more partners will be announced shortly.

Xero is working with Vodafone to launch Farming in the Cloud. Vodafone is contracted to deliver the government’s five-year Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) which will provide greater coverage and better speeds, improving connectivity in the rural sector.

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