Kiwi accounting startup Common Ledger raises $1m, looks to follow Xero

Common Ledger co-founder Carlos Chambers.

Common Ledger co-founder Carlos Chambers.

It's fitting that the land of the Long White Cloud is fostering a bunch of cloud tech companies which are attempting to take on international markets.

With exports like cloud accounting firm Xero and point-of-sale SAAS company Vend, New Zealand is quickly gaining a reputation for its thriving tech scene.

Since launching in 2014, Common Ledger is vying to become another strong NZ tech export. The company can already name a number of high profile New Zealand and Australian accounting firms, including Grant Thornton, amongst its customers.

Today, the cloud-accounting startup told Business Insider it had raised $1 million in a pre-series A round to help it establish an Australian customer base and look at expanding into the UK.

The latest raising, which took two weeks and saw more than half the existing investors chip in, comes as the Kiwi dollar strengthens against the Aussie dollar.

"We were over in Melbourne last week, it felt a lot more comfortable spending Kiwi money than it usually does," co-founder Carlos Chambers told Business Insider.

Participants in the funding round include Simon Holdsworth, of the Datacom empire and an early investor in GreenButton, Serge van Dam, the founder of mobile banking company M-Com, and Ian Frame, previously CEO of Rangatira Investments.

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Feeding off a fragmented accounting market caused by big software providers including Xero, Intuit, MYOB and Reckon competing for marketshare, the startup enables accountants to access their client's financial data regardless of which platform they use.

Chambers said the fragmented Australian market plays out well for the startup.

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"It's a bigger market and a very fragmented market and accountants are really struggling with the technology solutions available," he said, adding he's all for competition but "the accountants are the ones who do end up dealing with the problems from this because they end up with clients on a whole range of systems."

With so much activity in the cloud accounting space, Chambers – who was a commercial lawyer before he fell into startups – wants to take advantage of investor interest and will begin raising for a series A round which he hopes to close before the end of the year.

"There's more and more money being raised and invested in this space," he said. "We're looking at that towards the end of the year [to raise the next round] to continue to fund growth in Australia and look towards expansion in the UK," he said.

The company has grown to a staff of eight.

As for who's going to win the cloud accounting war, Chambers said he didn't like to pick favourites: "We're very vigorously agnostic," he said, "We play nicely with all of those players." 

 - BusinessInsider.com.au

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