FreeAgent Kick-Starts Global Expansion with First US Acquisition and Investment
Small Business and Freelancer Accounting Software Provider Backed by Influential Lightbank
CHICAGO, May 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Cloud accounting software leader FreeAgent, the UK's top small business and freelancer online accounting software provider, kick-started its global expansion strategy by completing its first US acquisition. The company announced the acquisition of Lightbank-backed financial forecasting software firm 60mo, whose team will be incorporated into FreeAgent's new American division, FreeAgent Inc.
In addition to the acquisition, FreeAgent's fortunes were boosted by a new investment from Lightbank, the influential Chicago-based venture capital fund. The new funds from Lightbank and a cash infusion from existing UK investors will allow FreeAgent to focus on establishing and growing its US division in the coming months.
FreeAgent plans to leverage 60mo's expertise in the US accounting software market to adapt its award-winning online accounting system specifically for American users. The new division aims to deliver the fastest, most flexible software for freelancers and small businesses to use to stay on top of their finances.
"We are very pleased to announce this acquisition and new round of funding," said Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent. "I'm delighted that we are being joined by an expert team with a wealth of knowledge in the US accounting software market, together with the tremendous boost of having Lightbank on board."
Unlike widely used software packages such as Quickbooks, FreeAgent is designed specifically for freelancers and independent workers. According to the Freelancers Union, there are 42 million such workers in the US, providing fertile ground for market growth for FreeAgent Inc.
"We already provide the leading online accounting system in the UK, which frees small business owners and freelancers from the complexity of operational tasks like invoicing clients or filing their tax returns," said Molyneux. "It's never been more important for small businesses to stay on top of their money, and we're committed to 'democratizing accounting' to make people feel smarter about their finances."
Molyneux notes that FreeAgent has already made inroads in US markets, with American customers currently using a universal version of the product, along with users from over 80 other countries. However, the company's goal is to deliver the award-winning automated accounting, tax-forecasting and filing capabilities the flagship UK product offers through new, US-specific features.
"As FreeAgent Inc. grows, we intend to invest even more in our US operations," Molyneux added. "We envision creating new jobs and extending our lead as the best online accounting system on both sides of the Atlantic."
"Easy-to-use accounting software is in high demand here in the US and around the world," observed Lightbank Partner Paul Lee."FreeAgent has already built a rapidly-growing business focused on providing UK freelancers and companies with incredibly empowering software. Our investment is the first step in bringing that product and methodology to the US market."
FreeAgent Inc. will be based in Chicago, and a dedicated US version of the FreeAgent system will be launched in the coming months. The firm also plans to adapt the UK system's unique tax forecasting and tax return-filing capabilities and incorporate these into the US version of FreeAgent in the near future.
In addition, FreeAgent Inc. plans to explore new partnerships with banks and the accounting profession in the US, mirroring the relationships it currently enjoys in the UK with Barclays and the market leaders in UK accounting practice software, IRIS. For more information about FreeAgent, please visit http://www.freeagent.com/.
FreeAgent provides the UK's leading – and multi-award-winning – online accounting system designed to meet the needs of small businesses and freelancers. Since launching its system in 2007, FreeAgent has rapidly grown a loyal community of 20,000 customers worldwide.
FreeAgent has won major awards at the SIFT Media Software Satisfaction Awards and British Accountancy Awards and has attracted investment from leading European business figures, including Robin Klein from the Accelerator Group.
Since 2011, FreeAgent has been part of the award-winning MyBusinessWorks applications package that Barclays provides to its UK business customers. FreeAgent was also selected in 2010 to power the IRIS OpenBooks online accounting system for IRIS Software, whose customers comprise around 50% of the 28,000 accountancy practices in the UK.
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