Today marks a huge milestone in the life of FreeAgent Central, and in the future of small business accounting we think: we're announcing a strategic partnership with IRIS Software.
If you're not an accountant you may not have heard of IRIS, but as well as supplying software to over 60,000 business customers in the UK, they currently dominate the accountancy practice software market with over 14,000 practice customers (a 50% market share).
IRIS will have exclusive rights to resell FreeAgent under their own brand to the UK accountancy practice market, while we will continue to offer FreeAgent to all our other UK and worldwide customers (our existing FreeAgent-friendly practices will have the choice of staying with us or moving across to IRIS). We'll announce exactly how that will work in the coming weeks.
IRIS will also be making an investment in the company in return for a minority stake, and alongside this we'll be accepting further investment from new and existing shareholders like Robin Klein of The Accelerator Group and Christoph Janz. Robin is a key figure in the UK technology scene, backing other startup ventures including Moo, LoveFilm and Graze, and he, Christoph and our other investors have already been an invaluable source of expertise and advice.
Phill Robinson, IRIS’s Accounting Practice Solutions’ Managing Director, will be joining our board of directors. Previously, Phill was the Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Operating Officer (Sales and Distribution) at Salesforce.com. There are few people on the planet with as impressive a track record of success in the software-as-a-service arena, and he brings a wealth of experience which will really help us as we dramatically accelerate our growth.
All of this is a great validation for the team's hard work these last three years, and a massive boost for our vision to democratize accounting and bring simple, understandable tools to small businesses everywhere.
In truth, of course, it's our burgeoning community of passionate users who make it all possible, and all worthwhile. Thanks to each and every one of you for your custom and your kind words.
So what does this mean for you guys? Well, one upshot of the investment is that we'll be able to aggressively accelerate our development (we're hiring!) and tackle some of the bigger features, like automatic bank data synchronisation, as well as maintain our constant efforts to simplify and streamline and polish every part of FreeAgent until it sparkles.
We spend more time each day than is strictly healthy thinking about accounting software. But it means that we have some really big ideas which will take FreeAgent to the next level - and which now includes ideas for amazing tools for accountants as well. We're just so excited about it all, and of course we'll keep you posted right here as we turn these ideas into reality.
So stay tuned.
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