Canadian tech entrepreneur and investor Chris O’Neill is joining New Zealand-headquartered Xero as the company’s first-ever chief growth officer.
O’Neill has played a notable role in the North American tech ecosystem, leading companies across Canada and California, including Evernote and Google.
O’Neill comes from Portage Ventures, which he joined as a partner in 2020 to help the firm “plant a flag” in Silicon Valley. According to his LinkedIn, O’Neill currently serves as a senior advisor to Portage after shifting out of the partner role in 2021. A spokesperson for Portage confirmed to BetaKit that O’Neill remains an advisor for the venture firm.
O’Neill was also the president and CEO of notetaking app Evernote for three years, just after departing from his decade-long tenure at Google.
At Google, O’Neill held the roles of director of the Google Business Organization, and managing director of Google Canada, among others.
Now, at Xero and based in San Francisco, O’Neill will be responsible for the strategic direction and operational performance within Xero’s applications and services division. He will also lead the further development of Xero in the Americas—including the United States and Canada—working closely with Xero’s president of the Americas, Tony Ward.
Founded in 2006, Xero provides accounting software to small and medium-sized businesses. Its platform enables users to have access to real-time financial data on any device, comprising 1,000 third-party apps and 300 plus connections to banks and other financial partners.
Xero’s applications and services division comprises a number of Xero’s existing businesses, including recent acquisitions that are an “increasing area of growth and strategic significance” for the company.
Xero has been active in expanding its presence within Canada. Most recently, Xero acquired Calgary tax preparation software startup TaxCycle for $75 million CAD.
After acquiring Toronto-based Hubdoc for $70 million USD in 2018, Xero also appointed Hubdoc’s co-founder and CEO Jamie McDonald as general manager of product, accounting, and global service. McDonald has since joined New Zealand’s A2X Accounting alongside fellow Hubdoc founder Jamie Shulman.
Faye Pang was named as Xero’s country manager for Canada in 2020. And, in its commitment to the Canadian market, Xero also named its existing Toronto office as its North American hub for product development and technology innovation.