By Nancy Dahlberg
Lil Roberts owned a number of small businesses in South Florida, from a systems integration business to print manufacturing to a product business.
In all of them, “I always felt the pain as a small business owner that you couldn’t get your numbers when you needed them from the accounting industry.”
It wasn’t the CPA’s fault, she said, the industry just didn’t adapt to new technology. “The world was moving at one speed, very fast, and that industry wasn’t moving at the same speed.”
When she exited her last businesses in print manufacturing – a sector that was disrupted – Roberts said she looked for an opportunity that was scalable, that helps small business owners and that can change an industry. Along with co-founder Steve Gelley, she founded Xendoo, a fin-tech startup based in Fort Lauderdale.
“Xendoo is a cloud-based monthly subscription providing bookkeeping and accounting for small businesses,” said Roberts, Xendoo’s CEO. “We have leveraged technology to be able to deliver to small business owners their numbers in a timely matter when it matters most to them.”
Xendoo launched in August of 2017, after about nine months of building the tech.
How Xendoo works: After a short sign up process, subscribers are on-boarded and assigned a team. As part of the subscription service, they get monthly bookkeeping, a monthly profit & loss statement and balance sheet.
“When your month ends, you need those numbers as soon as possible … Most small business owners run their business from their bank account and they don’t understand that you really need to know from a profit and loss perspective where you are at.”
Depending on the plan selected, Xendoo may also do corporate tax returns, tax strategy and planning, too, Roberts said. Sometimes working with a client means getting them caught up, because they haven’t been diligent about it.
“The main thing is we keep them compliant. We deliver peace of mind.”
Building a team: That’s always a challenge, Roberts said. “It’s the balance -- you can’t go out and hire a bunch of people and wait for the growth, and you can’t wait too long to hire and crush your staff.”
Another challenge, she said: Culture fit. “Of course you need skill, but if you don’t hire a team that not only has skills but also has the right culture for your company, no matter how good the tech is, your business won’t survive.”
Xendoo is now a team of 12 and its management team includes Luanne Bryant, who was integral in building up the digital division of City Furniture, Brad Tuckman who founded CreativeDrive and Carlos Franco, product owner who has experience scaling products.
A year of wins: Winning eMerge America’s Startup Competition in April 2018 opened doors for Xendoo and kicked off an incredible year to come. After that big win a year ago, Xendoo participated in the Silicon Valley LAUNCH accelerator of Jason Calacanis, who was an eMerge judge.
“Winning eMerge was a tremendous blessing and gave us the opportunity to go to California and get on the radar of a lot of VCs.”
This month, Xendoo won the Rise of the Rest Miami pitch competition and took home the big check – a $100,000 investment.
“There are no words to describe the feeling,” Roberts said. “It’s the hard work of Team Xendoo and what we are doing for small business owners and to be recognized for that is something very special. We are very grateful to the Miami ecosystem.”
Now and next: Now Xendoo has customers in 45 states and nine countries. It passed a major revenue milestone in January, its first $100,000 month. It opened a learning center, Xendoo U, for small businesses on its website. And Roberts is in the middle of a fund-raising round, seeking $2.5 to $3 million.
Once the round is closed, Xendoo will be relocating to larger offices and a major hiring effort, including adding a lot of sales firepower, will kick off. “We will turn on the growth.”
Until then, Xendoo is looking to hire a senior developer architect engineer and two strong bookkeepers (inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org)
All the businesses Roberts has owned before played a part in understanding the human side of business: understanding your customer and understanding team culture.
“This business will grow to be a very large business and we are very passionate that at the end of the day what we are doing is helping small business owners understand their numbers and have financial education around their numbers,” Roberts said.
Her advice to entrepreneurs? “If people work hard and stay the course and do the right thing, always waking up wanting to move the needle, you can get there. And South Florida is now becoming a community that you can get there here.”
Headquarters: Fort Lauderdale
Business one-liner: Xendoo is a cloud based monthly subscription providing bookkeeping and accounting for small businesses.
CEO: Lillian Roberts
Recent milestones: Winning Rise of the Rest Miami contest; completing a client refactor in April; first month over $100,000 in January; launched the Xendoo U Learning Center for customers.
Financing: Xendoo raised $1.2 million in a seed round in 2017. Now raising a second seed round of $2.5 to $3 million.
Biggest personal challenge: Having enough hours in the day.
[READ MORE ON REFRESH - Steve Case: Miami clearly is on the rise as a startup city but the work isn’t done]
Photo at top of post: Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine and Broward Mayor Mark Bogen stop by to congratulate the Xendoo team in Fort Lauderdale.
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