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Beany secures $1.5m for offshore expansion

Beany secures $1.5m for offshore expansion from angel investors

Online accounting platform Beany has secured more than $1.5 million for its offshore expansion plans, thanks to the support of angel investors including women's business network SheEO.

Founded in 2014, Beany provides online accounting services for more than 1,500 SMEs around New Zealand. It helps business owners with all their accounting needs, from financial statements and tax returns to business advice – everything a traditional accountant does, but faster and for more cost-efficient fees.

Beany's founder and CEO, Sue de Bievre, says the $1.5 million came from three key backers: SheEO, leading businesswoman and SheEO Country Lead Theresa Gattung, and Ice Angels, the angel investment arm of business incubator Icehouse. Beany's founders also reinvested in the round.

"We are incredibly grateful for the support we've received from these investors," says Ms de Bievre. "Collectively they've helped us overcome the extreme barriers women-led businesses face when it comes to securing financial support, here in New Zealand and around the world.

"US research shows that only 2% of available capital goes to female-led companies, despite 38% of all start-ups being led by women. Sadly, that kind of handbrake is exactly why we need non-traditional organisations like SheEO."

Ms de Bievre says Beany started looking for capital in 2018, after experiencing rapid growth. But despite hiring a specialist firm to help them identify potential investors, they were unable to secure the backing they needed to support the growth.

"We specifically requested the inclusion of female investors in the list of leads to approach. Surprisingly we were provided with a traditional male focused list and despite my personal approach to everyone on that list, there was no encouragement for what we were doing and a clear resistance to invest in a female led business.

“This is the reality of gender inequality which is not only an economic challenge but also a social issue. Tacking gender equality requires a change of attitude in the business sector as well as financial incentives and more support for female owned businesses.

“We will not achieve full economic potential by excluding half of our working-age population and empowering women to participate equally in the global economy could add $28 trillion in GDP growth by 2025.

“We can’t ignore the evidence that countries with greater gender equality not only offer better socioeconomic opportunities for women, but also tend to grow faster and more equitably.

“This growth for the NZ economy is a key driver for our expansion plans and to grow Beany into a global business, expanding first into Australia and the UK."

Motivated by a bigger purpose Sue changed tack and secured an interest-free loan from the disruptive economic model of SheEO, after which it started a new capital raise. SheEO investors were asked to participate and enthusiastically agreed to invest $500,000.

Instrumental in that decision was SheEO's local initiator and leading activator Theresa Gattung, who recognised Beany as "investment-ready", and decided to invest her own money too.

"I'm very happy to back Beany and through SheEO working with Ice Angels, to create a pathway for women-led companies working on some of the world's biggest challenges to raise the capital they need to scale," says Ms Gattung.

Also in the mix was angel investor group Ice Angels, who then agreed to invest $400,000 in what CEO Robbie Paul describes as "a very solid investment" and an investment from K1W1 which focuses on businesses building future wealth for NZ.

Sue says Beany's initial difficulty raising capital through the "usual" channels is an example of how the cards are stacked against female-led businesses, and the need for groups like SheEO.

"If Beany's experience is anything to go by then Kiwi businesswomen are being let down by the money men who've for too long decided which ventures fly and which fail."

"That's a huge lost opportunity if successful female-led businesses are being under-funded. We need to look at who's making those decisions, and on whose behalf, and whether they're in New Zealand's best interest if those businesses don't get the chance to create wealth and jobs and expand offshore."

"Fortunately, Beany is now able to pursue that goal and take our platform to the world, thanks to the backing of investors who can see we have a winning platform," concludes Ms de Bievre.

(Ends)

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