New Zealand-founded accounting software firm Xero has raised a $110.8 million round of capital to grow its business in the North American market.
Xero — which provides online accounting software for small/medium businesses and accountants — said that the new funds come from Accel Partners and Matrix Capital Management, its largest institutional investor. Accel is providing the lion’s share of capital in the deal — $100 million at a $15.052 per share value — which is expected to close by the middle of March 2015.
The money will be put to work growing the company’s business in the U.S. and, on that note, Xero is also bolstering its U.S. and global team with a new hire. Russell Fujioka, formerly of Dell and a current partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, has taken on the role of U.S. president, based out of Xero’s San Francisco office. In addition, former Salesforce CFO Graham Smith has joined the Xero board as a non-executive director.
Xero beefed up its U.S. team in February 2014 when it hired a U.S. CEO, new board director, and an additional U.S.-based director to its team. Its inaugural U.S. CEO, Peter Karpas, has since moved on, and it looks like Fujioka has taken on his responsibilities (and more) with this new role.
There’s plenty of competition in the accounting software space in the U.S., and Xero must do battle with Intuit, arguably the biggest player in the space, and smaller rivals like Freshbooks.
Accel partner Andrew Braccia believes that Xero — which claims to have more than 400,000 small businesses on its books — has what it takes to compete though:
Accel always looks for enduring technologies with global reach and we see the need and opportunity for millions of small businesses to grow on Xero’s platform. We’ve worked with several other leading companies in the region to broaden their global reach and we hope this experience will be valuable as Xero’s strong leadership team looks to expand in the United States.
Prior to today, Xero had raised over $240 million from investors, according to CrunchBase. Its most recent round was $150 million in October 2013, led by Peter Thiel-backed Valar Ventures and Matrix Partners.Read More
Is this the most southerly start-up hub in the world? Quite possibly, but is it also the best? A series of incubators, accelerators programmes, networking events and investment schemes have been popping up in Wellington as of late…
- Population: 200,000
- Pros: Setting up a business is hassle free and cheap, there’s a great standard of living and it’s the least corrupt country in the world.
- Cons: The time it takes to get to the US and Europe is a big challenge to overcome, raising investment locally can also be tricky.
- Cost: Amazingly, there’s no capital gains tax! That minor miracle aside, rent and other living costs are also favourable.
- What to expect: A friendly environment in which to do business alongside all the challenges that come with being based in such a southerly country.
To get a better understanding of what New Zealand has to offer start-ups we sat down with Linc Gasking and Derek Handley, both of which were able to offer some tips for anyone thinking of relocating their business. The former is co-director of Global Entrepreneurship Week and has over 20 years’ experience in start-ups, the latter is an entrepreneur, speaker and author who founded The B Team alongside Richard Branson and Jochen Zeitz.Read More
Primary and intermediate teachers and principals have “overwhelmingly” rejected the Government’s latest pay offer saying it will not fix the industry’s staffing “crisis”.
About 30,000 New Zealand Educational Institute Te Riu Roa (NZEI) union members voted on what was the third round of offers, in a secret online ballot that closed last night.
NZEI president Lynda Stuart said today the message from members was that the offers did not do enough to fix the crisis in teacher recruitment and retention.
“The big concern for members was that the offers had nothing that would give teachers more time to teach or principals time to lead.”
The move comes after members rejected two previous offers, and began strike action.
“From the beginning of this process we’ve been clear that to attract and retain teachers we need to be paid fairly and have the time and support to ensure every child gets the best possible education,” Stuart said.
“While the latest offer for teachers included a total salary increase of approximately $9500 – $11,000 over three years, it failed to address the important issues of time and class size, which underpin the crisis in education.
“Disappointingly, we end this year without the necessary movement from the Government, and with still not enough to meet the needs of children, schools and teachers.”
Stuart said the union had informed the Ministry of Education and Education Minister Chris Hipkins of the outcome of the ballots, and would seek further negotiations immediately, requesting a new offer by early in Term 1 next year to bring back to members. The ministry’s education secretary Iona Holsted said despite the rejection they remained committed to continuing bargaining in good faith and minimising any further disruption for students’ learning and parents.Read More
New Zealand First will be the only party in Parliament to oppose legislation which would promote teaching children a second language in school.
In a statement, the party said the legislation would be “irresponsible at a time when our teachers are already under workload pressures”.
But given the bill has the support of the rest of Parliament, it would still progress to the select committee stage.
Former education minister Nikki Kaye won the support of current Education Minister Chris Hipkins and the Labour caucus, plus the Greens and Act, to progress her bill to select committee.
But NZ First is holding out and said in the statement National left workforce constraints and funding shortfalls in the education sector that needs to be addressed first.
It said expanding the primary curriculum is
an unnecessary distraction at this time.
As well as this, NZ First wants to develop a similar curriculum progression document for New Zealand Sign Language, another official language.
The bill requires the Government to set 10 priority languages – likely to include Mandarin, Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, Pacific languages and possibly Hindi as well as official languages Te Reo Māori and New Zealand Sign Language.
It also requires the Government to resource the provision of those languages in primary and intermediate schools.
Hipkins said there was real value in second-language learning. “Kids who do a second language generally tend to do better in their first language,” he said.Read More
Education Minister Chris Hipkins has vetoed the University of Victoria’s plan to change its name.
In a move that caused an outcry from Wellingtonians and former students, the university’s council made an application to change the institution’s name to the University of Wellington on September 27.
“I have considered the university’s recommendation and supporting information along with advice received from officials,” Hipkins said today.
The council’s consultation showed staff were divided on the name change – and there was significant opposition from alumni and students.
That opposition was also reflected in surveys conducted by the Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association and the VUW Law Students’ Society and, to a lesser extent, the Tertiary Education Union.
“I also received more than 450 pieces of correspondence on the name change question from students, alumni and others mostly opposed to the name change,” Hipkins said.
“Many of these referred to a change.org petition with more than 10,000 signatories listed as opposing the name change.”
Victoria University vice-chancellor professor Grant Guilford led the charge for a change to University of Wellington to eliminate confusion for potential overseas students. He was also concerned about other universities taking credit for work done at the Wellington campus.
“The achievements of our staff and students, and for that matter our city, can be attributed to other institutions and countries, dimming our international standing,” Guildford said.
The Education Act requires the minister’s approval for a university to change its legal name.Read More
Feminism, a word first heard around 1970, has often celebrated breakthroughs only to discover challenges ahead. But this year it begins to feel like women are changing the culture of national life. It is not just that a second generation of New Zealand women has produced a Prime Minister, and that she had a baby this year, and that she has lead a difficult coalition government through its first year without too many mishaps. It has more to do with the fact that women being in positions of power and prominence no longer seems remarkable.
A generation ago, when women became leaders of both main political parties and held the positions of Governor-General and Chief Justice, it was a subject of frequent comment. Now, not so much. We have our third female Prime Minister, our third female Governor-General and second female Chief Justice, and we take it for granted.
Women head half of our government departments, though they are struggling to get similar equal representation at the top of the private sector. But the new challenges for this generation of women are not so much positional as cultural. They are changing some of the ways things are done in workplaces of all kinds and they are pressing for better pay in jobs performed predominantly by women.
They are even changing the culture of sports in which they are involved. This year our top women players of hockey, football and cycling have all forced the removal of male coaches whose manner, tactics or personal behaviour were not acceptable to them. Women in positions of leadership have much still to do for the wellbeing of women generally and the better functioning of society. But the way they are now taking their rightful share of power and improving the civility and sensitivity of politics and public debate shows what a difference they can make. Women, all women, are our New Zealanders of the year.Read More
National’s Nikki Kaye will hold 30 public meetings across the country early next year to engage with teachers and parents she believes remain ignorant of the radical reforms proposed in the Government’s Tomorrow’s Schools Review.
The report released by an Independent Taskforce on December 7, proposed the biggest shake-up of the New Zealand education system for 30 years – removing most of the powers currently held by school boards of trustees.
While acknowledging the Tomorrow’s Schools Review undertook “significant consultation”, Kaye believed many of the 19,000 parents and trustees on school boards did not know important details of the changes.
“From my perspective I think it’s really important there are multiple people out there informing people about the recommendations,” Kaye said.
“They’ll be lots of educators that will be aware of the report, but they’ll be lots of parents that aren’t aware of the detail. And I’m finding there are even boards of trustees that aren’t aware of what’s being proposed.”
Kaye said National had “serious concerns” about the proposal to scrap the 10 Ministry of Education regional offices and set up 20 education hubs in their place with oversight of about 125 schools.
These hubs would oversee a more collaborative approach aimed at benefiting all students in the hub including: sharing principals, teacher support for curriculum and assessment, student suspension decisions, and services smaller schools lack – such as IT and accounting.
Kaye said the Education Hubs would “transfer more responsibilities from parents to bureaucrats” and disempower community decisions on schools.
However, Duty Minister Andrew Little said the National Party and Kaye were “politicising” children’s education, despite it being “great she’s getting out there and talking to folks”.
Little also denied accusations from some principals of larger schools throughout New Zealand the proposed Education Hubs would remove decision-making powers from school communities.Read More