Xero CEO and founder Rod Drury has discussed innovation Down Under at a summit opened by United States President Barack Obama.

Obama told the SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington this week that bringing companies together helps "bring countries and cultures together".

The US is responsible for a quarter of the world's R&D investments, but innovation was happening in the Pacific at an increasing rate.

At a panel event on disruption, Drury and Blue Chilli founder Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin discussed innovation in Australia and New Zealand.


Drury said Pacific-based technology companies establishing themselves in the US get an element of scale and access to capital that they wouldn't have access to in Australia or New Zealand.

"Launching a global business from a small set of rocks in the South Pacific has been a really interesting journey," Drury said.

"It's meant we've had to move away from a head office mentality to establish a globally distributed business. Our C-suite is positioned right around the world. We use Google Hangouts and collaborative tools like Yammer to be the virtual watercooler."

Drury said software and computing were going through a fundamental change to put data to work to uplift economies.

Drury was invited to speak at the summit by US Ambassador Mark Gilbert.