Peter Thiel Invests $3 Million In Xero To Support Its US Expansion

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PayPal founder and early Facebook investor and board member Peter Thiel has invested NZ$4 million (that’s about $3 million USD) in online accounting software company Xero to support its expansion into the US market.

Thiel, who manages a hedge fund called Clarium Capital, will also join Xero’s US Advisory Board.

Xero says it began developing opportunities in the United States market in March 2009 when the company appointed Andy Lark to be the first member on the Xero US Advisory Board. Lark is Senior VP of Global Marketing for Large Enterprises at Dell.

In January 2010, Xero entered an arrangement with US based personal financial management and payments solutions firm Yodlee to provide automated daily bank account feeds into Xero’s online accounting solution.

The investment in Xero will be made through Valar Ventures (website not live yet), Thiel’s New Zealand investment firm – Xero is headquartered in Wellington. The Xero placement is the firm’s inaugural investment.

The placement is expected to close next week and will be priced at NZ$1.4918 – the volume-weighted average share price of Xero over the thirty trading days prior to 20 October 2010.

Xero CEO Rod Drury in a statement says access to Thiel’s extensive network will provide a boost as the company plans to take on Intuit’s Quickbooks in the US small business market.

That may be so, but it’s far from the only startup with those plans – Outright.com, Less Accounting, Kashoo and Free Agent leap to mind.

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