It really does take one to know one. Not long ago, we at Xero fancied ourselves a startup (and in many ways, we still do). So you can imagine our excitement as we recently opened our San Francisco doors to 500 Startups — the leading accelerator, aggregator and supporter of all things startups.
One big happy family
At the center of the festivities was a fireside chat with Xero CEO Rod Drury and Dave McClure, Founding Partner of 500 Startups. The standing-room-only crowd gathered around these two in a setting that felt more like a family and community event than a startup shindig.
In fact, Rod walked everyone through his journey from idea to humble beginnings to startup to now:
“Essentially, we floated as a public company — a startup, really — with 100 customers. We did all that in New Zealand. By the time we came to the US, we were fully funded and armed with a product.”
Seated right next to Rod was Dave. “I was referred to Rod by Peter Thiel, my former boss [and Xero investor]. I first met Rod in December 2012,” recalled Dave. “Naturally, I thought Xero was too expensive and didn’t invest in them. [Insert expletive here].”
Rod continued the Xero tale and shared great tips for aspiring startups:
“Even though you’re pre-revenue, getting your shareholder loans in a formal P&L statement inside an accounting software is hugely important. When the time comes that you have those VC conversations for angel funding, you’ll be able to see right away who’s involved in your funding.”
Extended family, too
It wouldn’t be a true gathering without our extended family. We’re honored that some of our add-on partners and accounting partners joined us for this special event.
Nothing but love
Xero is proud to be a Gold Annual Partner of 500 Startups — and we wholeheartedly believe in the 500 Startups mission and what they’ve accomplished (and shall continue to accomplish). In many ways, we still embrace the startup mindset — so it’s important for us to give back and mentor those just starting their own companies. And what better way than to gather the startup community in this unique setting. It was the perfect place for Xero to fuel this local entrepreneurial spirit and support aspiring startups. All this plus good food (Tacolicious, even more local love) and a fun backdrop to network and share stories:
“The game of technology is so much fun. You want to build a long-term business with an awesome team that you can play with every day. You want it to be a public company,” said Rod. “We have over 750 people, 280,000 customers and 17 offices in 13 locations. It’s a neat global family, a fun culture. We all want to get big and see what we can do. We all want to build something purposeful. Besides, I have three kids so it’s pretty easy to be at work all the time.”
All and all, it was a truly memorable evening.