Xero partners with StartupAUS for Australian entrepreneur support

Cloud accounting company Xero is offering Australian technology entrepreneurs a year of free access to its online products under the terms of a new agreement it has struck with Australian startup body StartupAUS.

New Zealand cloud accounting player Xero has partnered with Australian startup industry body StartupAUS.

Under the terms of the one-year agreement, Xero will be the exclusive sponsor for StartupAUS for accounting software, and will become involved in organising regular events with the startup organisation.

Xero managing director Chris Ridd will join the StartupAUS advisory board in order to provide strategic direction and insight to the not-for-profit's board of directors.

"Xero is the perfect partner for StartupAUS — an acclaimed startup success story and a strong advocate for tech entrepreneurs in Australia," said Startup AUS director and entrepreneur Peter Bradd. "Chris Ridd is a valuable addition to our StartupAUS advisory board, and will no doubt be able to provide insight to Australian startups.

"Partnerships with companies like Xero will enable StartupAUS to ramp up our efforts to make Australia a better place to launch a tech business," he said.

The deal is the latest move in the cloud accounting company's "Xero for Startups" program, which was established just last month, with the aim of supporting the local entrepreneurial community.

Xero has already joined forces with local technology incubator Fishburners to offer all startups within the Fishburners community a free six-month subscription to its online accounting software.

"We want to help Australian entrepreneurs grow, and show the world what they are capable of," said Ridd. "We're committed to contributing and fostering the startup culture in Australia in the long term, and we'll continue to invest in a series of activities, events, and programs.

"We've already seen great success with our initial partnerships in the startup community, and can't wait to partner with more organisations to provide resources and mentorship to budding entrepreneurs," he said.

Xero reported a NZ$24.5 million net loss after tax for the six months ending September 30, an increase from the NZ$17.1 million that was reported during the same period last year.

The company blamed its investment in product development, sales, and marketing for its reported first-half net loss.

Xero's partnership with StartupAUS comes as local online service marketplace startup Oneflare moves to sponsor the University of New South Wales' (UNSW) co-op scholarship program, in a bid to help young entrepreneurs begin a career in the startup sector, while also scoping out new talent for its own ranks.

The sponsorship will grant three UNSW co-op scholars the opportunity to work at Oneflare for six months each, among other companies such as Coca-Cola Amatil, Macquarie Group, and Atlassian.

Having also been co-op students, Oneflare's CEO Marcus Lim and COO Ken Tabuki wanted to give back to the university and equip students with the same skills and experience they gained from their own work placements.

"Sponsoring the co-op scholarship program is a direct fit with Oneflare's long-term strategy — our main asset is human capital, so investing in that is a real priority," said Lim. "The program is mutually beneficial; we're very open to the prospect of hiring scholars to work with us once they've graduated."

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