Tuesday, March 30, 2010

FreeAgent powers ahead with Iris

Image representing FreeAgent Central as depict...Image via CrunchBase
FreeAgent Central, has agreed a strategic partnership with Iris, the UK’s largest private software house, opening up the significant accounting practice market to their award-winning online accounting software ‘FreeAgent’ and positioning the company for rapid growth.

Iris, which supplies software to over 60,000 business customers, currently dominates the accountancy practice software market with over 14,000 practice customers (a market share of around 50%).
Iris is a software giant in the UK backed by Hellman and Friedman the private equity house that took Getty Images private in 2008.

CEO Martin Leuw has been building IRIS into an exceptional business with revenues of £120m and profits of £40m in 2009. Their strategy has been to focus on sectors which they serve really well with appropriate products.

Its a real endorsement and validation for what Ed Molyneux and Roan Lavery, the founders and the team have built at FreeAgent that Iris selected them to partner and invest in.

Iris is also investing investing in FreeAgent, acquiring a minority stake and Phill Robinson, Iris’s Accounting Practice Solutions’ Managing Director, is joining FreeAgent Central’s board. 

Phill, well known in web circles, was formerly Chief Operating Officer and Chief Marketing Officer - Sales and Distribution at Salesforce.com and will be invaluable to FreeAgent Central as it looks to continue its rapid growth both in the UK and internationally. 

This is an important milestone for FreeAgent Central and will bring online accounting to the mainstream of the accounting practice software market. Accountants have a unique opportunity to help small businesses thrive, and FreeAgent will help them that to do that even more effectively by connecting them live to their clients’ accounting data. 
Users of FreeAgent become passionate advocates within days of starting to use the service and the FreeAgent team is  planning to build some powerful analysis tools for Iris’s practice customers too.
The FreeAgent product has been getting rave reviews for some time. This distribution deal will empower many more freelancers.

Existing investors, including The Accelerator Group and serial angel investor Christoph Janz, also participated in the investment round.
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