Craig Winkler

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Spotlight Reporting raises $3 million for expansion as cloud market goes through the roof

6:25AM | Wednesday, 4 June

Australia is the hottest market at the moment for cloud software, according to Spotlight Reporting chief executive officer Richard Francis.   The company offers business intelligence cloud software to hundreds of professional firms and organisations across the globe, with a particularly focus on Australasia, the United Kingdom and the United States.   It recently raised $3 million that will be used to expand the company’s physical presence in Australia as well as the UK and US, and fast track its product development.   Investors participating in the funding round include MYOB co-founder and Xero director Craig Winkler, former Xero chairman and former Kiwibank chief executive officer Sam Knowles and Xero director and Spotlight Reporting advisory chair Graham Shaw.   “You have Xero shaking things up big time, QBO aggressively pursuing market share, MYOB coming back to market with cloud products, plus dozens of add-on software providers like Spotlight Reporting trying to enrich the experience of business owners, accountants and others,’’ he says.   “We already service many leading accounting firms and organisations in Australia, and have accomplished ex-Xero Jason Forbes as our director of sales.   “He’s based in Brisbane and we are looking actively right now for senior account managers in New South Wales and Victoria.   “Even in the age of SaaS, having a physical presence and getting to know your customers personally is so important.   “Australia is so important to get right.”   In addition to its Brisbane office the company also has offices in New Zealand, San Francisco and is about to open an office in London.   Francis says the company’s immediate focus will be to add more sales and account managers, positions key to expansion.   “You can’t skimp on customer service or experience,’’ Francis says.   The company is also looking at expanding other core functions by adding developers and marketers; Francis says time will tell where it is best to place them.   “Our vision is nothing less than supporting millions of business customers and their advisors globally in making better decisions for superior outcomes,’’ Francis says.   “This capital raise is an important step on the long road towards achieving our vision.”

MYOB co-founder Craig Winkler among early investors, as Practice Ignition raises $650,000 seed funding

2:08AM | Friday, 21 February

Practice Ignition, an Australian firm that helps accountants to streamline their interaction with clients, has raised $650,000 in seed funding from investors including MYOB co-founder and early Xero investor Craig Winkler.   The new funding will go towards expanding the company’s development team and business team.   “Our aim is that all accountants across Australia can use our platform by the end of fiscal 2014,” founder Guy Pearson, told StartupSmart.   Other investors include New Zealand-based software developer Trineo, several accountants, and Xero’s vice president of payroll, Stuart McLeod.   Pearson, a former accountant, is also behind cloud-based services advisor Interactive Accounting.   He says the investors who’ve injected funds into Practice Ignition, which was formed in 2012, were people he’d met through his previous venture.   “Pitch to people that know your industry or find someone that likes your solution,” he advises fellow entrepreneurs.   “That might be 100 cups of coffee later.”   The seed funding was in exchange for around 22% equity in the firm, valuing it at $2.5 million.   More than 400 accounting practices in 20 countries around the world are currently using Practice Ignition’s platform to on-board new clients, the company says in a statement.   The platform automates the creation and acceptance of legal engagement documents and provides tools to collaborate with clients, as well as giving firms the ability to offer real-time quotes and turn traditional websites into a service-based check-out system.   Craig Winkler said in a statement that he invested in Practice Ignition because its cloud platform enables accountancy practices to scale up their businesses by automating workflow, invoice and payment tasks.   “Practice Ignition re-invents and streamlines the collaboration between advisor and clients, while dramatically reducing administration costs for accountants,” he said.

Xero acquires Max Solutions after raising $15m

3:54AM | Friday, 15 March

Accountancy software company Xero has raised $15 million to fund global growth and has made its first acquisition for the year, snapping up Max Solutions in a deal worth almost $5 million.

Melbourne start-up set to link up with Universal Studios

8:09AM | Monday, 1 August

A Melbourne telegram start-up has been approached by Universal Studios, which wishes to pre-purchase several thousand telegrams to help promote a new Hollywood blockbuster.

MYOB founder to fund YumTable expansion

5:24AM | Monday, 2 May

Restaurant booking start-up YumTable is to expand internationally with financial backing from MYOB co-founder and former CEO Craig Winkler.

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