IRIS invests in FreeAgent to become exclusive UK accountancy distributor

[UK] Business software specialist IRIS has invested in Edinburgh-based FreeAgent Central, the money management and accounting tool aimed at small businesses, in return for a minority stake.

As well as providing additional funding, IRIS will become the exclusive reseller for FreeAgent to the UK accountancy practice market, which will be re-badged under their own brand. FreeAgent will continue to target individual UK businesses, partnerships and sole traders as well as customers worldwide.

IRIS supplies software to over 60,000 business customers in the UK, which includes a major slice of the accountancy practice software market with over 14,000 practice customers, a 50% market share, says FreeAgent.

In a blog post, FreeAgent say that they’ll also be accepting further investment from “new and existing shareholders like Robin Klein of The Accelerator Group and Christoph Janz.” Klein is a previous backer of a number of startups including Moo, LoveFilm and Graze.

This time last year, FreeAgent, which left beta in February 2009, secured an undisclosed amount of Angel funding from investors Christoph Janz, Martin Armstrong and Sebastian Serfas.

The ‘light-weight invoicing’ and small biz accounts management arena is a fairly competitive one, with FreeAgent to varying degrees coming up against the likes of Freshbooks, BillMyClients and Blinksale in the US, along with UK-based Bionicbooks, ClearBooks and