New Zealand entrepreneurs have long been criticised for cashing up their businesses to settle for the good life instead of growing them to global scale.

Callaghan Innovation chief executive Mary Quin says why not add simply add another "B" to the "bach, boat and BMW" trophy list - the billion-dollar company?

Isn't it possible to have it all?

Xero CEO Rod Drury is one New Zealand entrepreneur who has changed the mould by leveraging US investors to scale his business. Drury is a leading Cloud pioneer who espouses a vision of making New Zealand a "test lab for the world."


It's a vision that the "baby Bell" investors who took a significant share in Telecom at the 1990 privatisation also shared, seeing New Zealand as small enough to trial innovations.

Telecom Digital boss Rod Snodgrass reckons that though New Zealanders are way more innovative than Australians our problem is "is scaling things."

"A lot of Kiwis they come up with a really cool idea [but] not many of them are like Rod Drury. Then they go, 'Right I'm going fishing'.

"I'm a bit like that, I'm thinking I've got enough to retire soon. Whereas if you go to the US they just want to do more and more and more."

Xero's Drury is clearly on that track. About 60 per cent of Xero's revenue is set to come from offshore, off the back of the expansion of the company's accounting software and the expansion of the joint venture with ASB to the Australia market.

At the recent Xerocon, Drury also unveiled a "Farming in the Cloud" service, to bring real-time, single ledger reporting to the farm.

The service will allow farmers and their accountants, banks and rural service companies to work together from the same set of online, real-time data. It will likewise provide one centralised home for key accounting and farm management tools.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise research says our national traits - a frontier self-reliance, egalitarianism and a "she'll be right" attitude - don't cut the mustard when it comes to taking on the world.


But Callaghan's Quin reckons New Zealand can breed more such billion-dollar companies.