New Zealand-based cloud accounting software developer Xero has topped Forbes list of the world's most innovative growth companies.
Xero scored what Forbes calls an "Innovation Premium" of 91.7, ahead of cloud ERP developer Netsuite on 89 and UK-based mobile banking and payments company Monitise, on 85.6.
The ratings are effectively measures of market sentiment rather than an objective evaluation of innovation. Forbes describes the Innovation Premium as a "measure of how much investors have bid up the stock price of a company above the value of its existing business based on expectations of future innovative results (new products, services and markets)."
Xero founder and CEO Rod Drury said it was an awesome accolade and would provide a great PR platform for Xero's global expansion.
"Look at what we've done," he said. "We've completely changed the way small businesses do their books and the way thousands of people do business."
Drury said now the New Zealand, Australian and UK markets were up and running Xero's focus was shifting to emulate those successes in the US.
He said Xero had succeeded in those markets where its main US rival, Intuit, has not, in displacing incumbent providers. He said Xero was number one in all accounting software in New Zealand and number one in cloud accounting in Australia, ahead of MYOB, and in the UK, ahead of Sage.
Drury said the US market was very competitive but "vast".
Two other IT companies made the top 10: Ultimate Software Group, a developer of cloud-based HR software, ranked eighth with a score of 74.3, while business travel and expense management software vendor Concur Technologies ranked 10th with 72.1.