News & Analysis

Xero is positioning itself as the ‘startup’ platform of choice, whilst MYOB loses its grasp on the space

- December 3, 2014 3 MIN READ

Accounting software startup Xero has been making headlines in the past few weeks as it starts to knuckle down on its strategy of being the go-to platform for startups and new businesses across Australia and New Zealand.

If MYOB has the reputation of being the ‘preferred accounting software for small business’ then Xero is certainly fast becoming the ‘technology partner of choice’ for startups when it comes to managing their numbers.

Today marks another significant milestone in its quest to further cement its place within the startup ecosystem as it announces a new strategic partnership with StartupAUS, the country’s national (original) peak body for high-growth startups. At the moment, the partnership is for one year, with Xero being the exclusive accounting software partner for the not-for-profit industry body, and will be involved in regular events and initiatives across the Australian startup ecosystem. Chris Ridd, Managing Director of Xero will also join the StartupAUS advisory board from a strategic perspective.

“Xero is the perfect partner for StartupAUS — an acclaimed startup success story and a strong advocate for tech entrepreneurs in Australia,” said Peter Bradd, a founding Director of StartupAUS.

“They also enable new ventures through their products, helping to give them the tools they need to grow quickly. Chris Ridd is a valuable addition to our StartupAUS advisory board, and will no doubt be able to provide insight to Australian startups on how Xero has become a global force in online accounting and cloud computing. Partnerships with companies like Xero will enable StartupAUS to ramp up our efforts to make Australia a better place to launch a tech business.”

The partnership follows a string of other alliances that have been formed by Xero with other high-growth business communities such as The League of Extraordinary Women, Startup Grind and the ‘Xero for Startups’ program that the company launched with startup co-working space Fishburners just last month. Part of the program includes a six month free subscription to all new users of the platform.

Currently, Xero has over 160,000 paid Australian users, and given the similarities between most tech-startups and the journey Xero as a company itself has taken (and is still taking), Ridd says that it makes sense for Xero to be playing in that space, as well as sharing their experiences to help up and coming entrepreneurs to make their ventures successful.

The sudden push by Xero to secure marketshare in the rapidly growing local startup ecosystem, as its competitor, US accounting software giant Intuit has also started its bid to take a slice of Australia’s technology space launching a strategic partnership with Startup Weekend Australia on November 20th this year.

“We want to help Australian entrepreneurs grow, and show the world what they are capable of,” Ridd said. “We’re committed to contributing and fostering the startup culture in Australia in the long–term and we’ll continue to invest in a series of activities, events, and programs, rather than just a one–off, flash-in–the–pan announcement,” Ridd said.

“We’ve already seen great success with our initial partnerships in the startup community and can’t wait to partner with more organisations to provide resources and mentorship to budding entrepreneurs. We will actively help and drive the startup ecosystem every day of every week of the year.”

One of the reasons that Xero has become so popular in the tech space is due to its growing ‘add-on’ market that allows other aspects of the business such as people management, sales and quotation software and CRM systems to plug directly into and seamlessly share data into the Xero system cutting out time consuming administrative tasks from the startups day to day operations.

“At the moment we are growing at a rate of over 300 businesses signing up to Xero every day” says Ridd. “The beauty of that is that about 40% of those are coming from having had no accounting software because they are just starting up, or they have been using an internal system such as an excel spreadsheet in their business. Then about 60% of our other new customers are coming from incumbent software providers and most of those are coming from MYOB.”

In fact, Xero is converting so many MYOB customers over to its platform that the company has had to set up strategic partnerships with file conversion providers to keep up with the demand.

MYOB which was once the standard go-to software for all businesses in Australia and a disruptor itself back in the day, has now been disrupted, with Xero fast becoming a ‘best-practice’ product amongst the next generation of emerging entrepreneurs across the country.