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Hug a shareholder

Yesterday Xero had its Annual Shareholder Meeting and today a further investor briefing in Auckland. We made the local news…

Xero on 3 News

All of us at Xero look forward to Annual Meetings. We had great feedback from shareholders who appreciated hearing our board talk about the business. They were impressed by how in touch with the business our board members are.

Xero accounting software board members

Our board is Sam Morgan, Craig Winkler, Sam Knowles, Rod Drury, Craig Elliot and Graham Shaw.

A key message was explaining to shareholders that we are just at the beginning of the Xero journey and we will continue to invest to build our team. We believe that all who attended understand the opportunity and why we choose to invest for growth. You can read the full Annual Meeting presentation here: Xero Investor Page

As well as going through progress and strategy we demonstrated our new ‘Files’ features – now in testing – and previewed our new native iOS application for Xero business. We were pleased to hear plenty of oooo’s and ahhh’s when we demoed our new mobile bank reconciliation. It’s coming soon!

Here’s a few pictures to get a feel of the afternoon:

Xero shareholders at the AGM at Te Papa

It was great to have our US-based Director Craig Elliot address our shareholders and explain why he was excited to join our team.

US-based Director Craig Elliot address Xero shareholders

Annual Meetings are a big day, as as everyone is in town we’d come straight out of a board meeting. Here’s a sneak peak inside…

Xero board meeting

The Xero Annual Meeting is one of the biggest in New Zealand. It was great to catch up with and thank our valued shareholders and see so many who have been with us since our IPO. It was great to explain that even though we’ve had a great run to date it really is still just the beginning. We’re fired up and excited to continue to build this business into a significant global company.

Ross Jenkins our CFO and Chris Ridd, MD of Xero Australia will be presenting in Sydney and Melbourne next week. Shareholders and analysts are welcome to attend. Register here.

Any questions that arise from the presentation, please ask away below.

Update: NZ Herald: Xero shows other companies how it’s done 

 

 

 

Read more about Business, Shareholders

 

7 comments

Mike Porter
3 August 2013 #

Another great presentation and strategic overview. A few questions.
1. Handling growth rate
What pace of growth could the curent background infrastructure of Xero sustain?
You’ve been clear that you’re working hard to build the platform to handle 1m + but if you suddenly tripled or quadrupled customer numbers over a year, could you handle that level of inflection? I realise you’ve signalled 80% by year end. But would be interested to know whether a rapid rise would present problems.
Xero has done an amazing job of building a fly wheel for growth that is slowly cranking and developing amazing market momentum. I’m curious to know whether you feel you could go quicker – either by way of further capital investment or a referral scheme, but you’re holding back due to the necessity to build the underlying platform and not become a victim of your own success.
If you were confident of handling 5m+ customers in the background, would you or could you change the current sales strategy ?
2. US market
Xero represents an opportunity for accountants to differentiate their service offering. Arguably the US market has been stale for years. I would theorise the US aggressive corporate culture lends itself to mirroring Australian dynamics and should display an attitude of early adoption. More so than say a deeply conservative UK dynamic. Do you have a view or early observation on this ?
Thanks for the inspirational journey.

Rod Drury
3 August 2013 #

Good questions Mike

1. Up until now keeping up with doubling has been a race. We have made some big steps in the last year in our hosting architecture that we’re comfortable on projected growth rates with upside.

Interesting how some media interpreted our ‘at least 80%’ as saying we were slowing down. It’s only 4 months into the financial year so we simply don’t know. It is hard to keep folding a piece of paper but the board wanted to say that growth will again be substantial this year and comfortable saying 80%+ at this early time.

Selling to small business is hard and it takes a while to build a brand. But we think our product strategy and network effects could mean that things really take off over the next few years which is why we’re investing for a million customers now. That is not just platform but management talent so we can grow a team that can handle fast growth. Right now we are focussed on proving our Accountant model in California with offices in NorCal and SoCal, and serving the rest online. When we see that working well we’ll probably add people in other states.

2. US is growing faster than other countries as you’d expect but its still early days. Intuit has dominated for years so we have some work to due to let accountants know about Xero and to change their mindset. Early signs are good but lot’s to do.

It’s also interesting how many have said the US is make or break for Xero. We actually see that NZ, AU and UK are a substantial markets so we can afford the time for the US to take off which are very confident in. But we do think the business is not as risky or exposed to the USA as commentators might portray.

Creating a brand in the US does provide a global halo though which is why we are going for it there.

Rod

Mike Porter
3 August 2013 #

It might be hard folding paper but if you keep showing me tiny blue dots on enormous grey circles you might yet become a kiwi origami grand master !

@HeatherSmithAU
3 August 2013 #

It’s exciting to see Xero go from strength to strength.

It’s rewarding to know implementing Xero in a small business in many cases is going to make their life easier and their business scalable.

Its encouraging to see ongoing improvement in Xero deployed rapidly.

and finally…I look forward to the day of female representation on all boards….

Rod Drury
3 August 2013 #

Hi Heather, we’re very aware of our lack of diversity on our board. Though we do have height, hair length and weight diversity we are actively looking for female directors in our new markets (USA especially) who can add skills to the team. Anyone is more than welcome to send me names of exceptional people to chase.

Anna
3 August 2013 #

I was hoping you would have reached 200,000 by this year’s annual meeting. Since this did not happen, will you be letting the market know when this milestone is reached or will you wait until 250,000 customers? Also, would you consider having your next year’s annual meeting in Auckland instead of Wellington? I have been shareholder for over 5 years and would like to attend, but travelling to Wellington is impractical.

Rod Drury
4 August 2013 #

@Anna we did a shareholder briefing in Auckland on Friday morning which was very well attended. We have done that for the last 3 years at least.

We are doing Sydney and Melbourne later this week coming so we are getting around.

The largest number of our shareholders are still in Wellington but we’re getting around the big bases anyway.

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