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Exporting Add-ons

Xero’s Add-on partner program has been highly successful in providing opportunities for people with great ideas to help businesses work smarter, but some of these smart cookies are taking it a step further. More and more we’re seeing companies from one country seize the opportunity to tap into our customer bases in another.

The reason for this is clear – large pools of customers are using the cloud and want more apps that run in it. Also, there is an amazing channel of accounting and bookkeeping partners that see the value in integrated applications and can recommend them to their clients.

Xero has a regional presence in New Zealand, Australia, UK and the US. Aligning with our existing sales and partner channels lowers costs for Add-on partners to build a presence in their export markets.

I’ve been talking to some partners that have been doing really well at this over the past year:

Receipt Bank takes those bits of paper – invoices & receipts and converts them into Xero data.

Co-founder & Head of Partnerships Michael Wood says: “Receipt Bank was started as a UK focused business, but within 12 months we had clients in 5 continents – not part of the original plan!”

The challenges: “we have had to respond by developing new features for specific markets around the world and by improving our customer service so that it could cope with enquiries from different time zones.”

Plans for 2013: “Expanding operations in New Zealand, Australia and the US is a key focus, including setting up local offices.“

New Zealand based Unleashed software is Xero’s longest-standing inventory management Add-on partner, but they have not been standing still. CEO Gareth Berry: “As of writing Unleashed has active customers in 76 countries. There are markets that we concentrate on as part of our larger strategy, such as Australia, where we now have offices and employees in two states and looking to grow further in 2013. In the past year we also spent a lot of time in USA laying foundations for our inevitable move into the north American market.”

The challenges: “To be successful and service growth you need a strong local presence. We will continue this strategy and build strong local teams in every significant market.”

Plans for 2013: “We will continue to grow in Australia and look to employ more local talent there. There are a few other markets that we may open offices in 2013…“

Quoting Add-on Quotient joined the partner program last March and has already become one of our most popular Add-on applications.

Co-founder Nathan Carter says: “A large portion of our new customers are coming from Xero. The majority find out about us from the Add-on directory, plus we get quite a few from the various Xero blog articles and Xero community forums – often it’s simply a case of being mentioned or linked to by someone in the comments. ”

Tapping overseas markets: “As Xero rapidly expands its presence in Australia, UK and the US we’re right in there riding in the jet stream. Xero has a fantastic reputation as a NZ based company, so by association that rubs off on us. Being integrated with Xero has helped us to get more offshore customers much quicker than we could have off our own steam.”

Plans for 2013: “Developing more region specific tax/currency defaults, increased advertising campaigns in targeted regions and integrating with other useful SaaS applications.”

My favourite insight also came from the Quotient team: “As well as the four main regions it’s been exciting to get new customers from various pockets of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. It just goes to show that the world is full of small businesses that have the same needs as any small New Zealand business.”

If you are a Xero partner, you can come and meet all the above Add-on partners next month at Xerocon New Zealand. If you are an Add-on partner or thinking about becoming one, get along to the Add-on & API day at Xerocon to learn more about tapping into the Xero ecosystem.

 

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2 comments

Gayle Buchanan
23 January 2013 #

Awesome Ronan – looking forward to catching up very soon – there is a ‘pack’ of bookies coming on board to specialise in the add-ons which is sooooo exciting for Xero and the add-on partners.
Collaboration with The Accountant Republic Members and Linkedin group xero bookkeepers (international) is on fire.
Let me know if we can help in anyway – Goooo the Kiwi’s!

Joe from LedgerLive
23 January 2013 #

Great post Ronan and very timely.

While it’s interesting to see how Xero grows across the globe over the coming months and years, for add on developers like us, how the add on store develops is a parallel dynamic that we find equally interesting.

It’s great see uniquely useful add ons such as Receipt Bank doing well and expanding beyond their borders within the Xero community. Like their add on, our LedgerLive add on is currently focused on the UK (allowing UK Xero users to see credit scores for their customers) but that’s not to say this focus won’t expand in the coming months.

What’s really encouraging is that Xero are obviously keen to help us grow in this way.

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