Article in The New Zealand Herald – 5th March 2019,
by Chris Keall, Business Writer.
The sale of NZX-listed Diligent was sold to a US company for a fraction under $1 billion in 2016 is one of the most storied exits in New Zealand software history.
Now, a start-up that’s in the same market – boardroom governance software – says it’s about to overtake Diligent, at least by one measure.
BoardPro founder Brett Herkt says his company has around 400 customers in New Zealand to Diligent’s 450 and “they’ve saturated their market. At our current growth rate, we’ll overtake them within two months.”
Herkt is the first to admit it’s not an apples-for-apples comparison. Diligent is aimed at corporate boards.
BoardPro is aimed at small-to-medium businesses and non-profits, and doesn’t offer a number of its larger rivals features, such as those for dealing with NZX compliance issues – with the flipside being that it is, as Herkt bills it, a lot more user-friendly and suits time-poor directors without software smarts. Two early customers tell the Herald it beats their previous solution – a mess of Google Docs.
And BoardPro is a tenth of the price – it costs between $1200 and $3300 a year, depending he the number of committees catered to, with schools and non-profits getting a 20 per cent discount.
Herkt says BoardPro now has around 2500 organisations paying a monthly or annual sub for its cloud-based software – indicating revenue is somewhere in the single-digit millions.
BoardPro is now in nine countries, but its main market beyond New Zealand is Australia, where Queensland Sport, Volleyball Australia, Surf Lifesaving NSW and Citypointe Church are among its marquee customers.
He says BoardPro should be in the black by the end of this year.
As some of you know I have a number of board positions and equity stakes outside of the core business of accounting. I do this to experience multiple business models and cultures along with broadening the network of people with whom we can do business. BoardPro as a product makes this easier to do. I have numerous boards that use BoardPro and I can access all my board papers, records and history via one portal. That is a massive difference to any other product.
It is nice of Brett to be so polite about my input as like all start-ups, it has not all been calm water and we have had some hard conversations along the way.
The great thing about serving on boards, if they are active and challenging rather than box ticking and risk focused, every meeting is a learning experience. BoardPro is a board of people from which I learn new skills.