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Payroll entrepreneurs Stuart McLeod and John Freeman will no longer be needing to count their pennies. Their two-year-old bootstrapped startup, Paycycle, which provides an online payroll system, is being acquired for $1.5 million by New Zealand’s accounting software provider Xero. Of the amount, $500,000 will be paid in cash and the rest in shares of Xero, which is listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange. The shares will fully vest over three years.
Stuart was managing Contract1, a Contractor Management company. He was extremely experienced in payroll and all the software solutions available at the time, and found himself continually frustrated at the lack of attention to detail and the appalling user interfaces. If there was a way to make the job of a payroll person more difficult, they would have found it. About the same time, Xero entered Australia and declared that they wouldn’t be offering a payroll solution with their product. That was the epiphany moment. Stuart had lunch with John (his former boss at AusAID), and Paycycle was born.