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TechCrunch Roundtable: The future of the app economy for small businesses and startups

March 9, 2022

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I recently helped host a TechCrunch global digital roundtable to discuss all things apps, ecosystem and digital platforms (so basically, all my favourite subjects).

How connected tech can help startups, entrepreneurs and small businesses succeed brought together a dream-team panel, including Xero partners, HubSpot, Stripe and Shopify, to share our collective insights into the current digital platform landscape, and where connected tech and apps will make the biggest impact for startups and small businesses customers in the future. We talked about interesting developments within our platforms’ ecosystems, apps and integrations, innovations we are seeing from startups and small businesses, and more.

If you missed the live broadcast, the recording is available now here – and it’s definitely worth a watch. In the meantime, here’s what I feel are some of the most interesting insights – but I would love to get your feedback too.

Help your customers save time and be more efficient

Dorothy Copeland, Global Head of Partner Ecosystem & Alliances at Stripe said, “Businesses really need technology to help them save time and be more efficient. For example, with our startup customers, they’ll get their business set up using Stripe Atlas, set up payments with Stripe and then sign up to Xero for accounting. As businesses bring onboard more tools, it actually becomes easier for them to adopt other tools and as a result, businesses want integrated tools to help them streamline their operations and be more efficient.”

Linking up multiple platforms to create new holistic solutions

Scott Brinker, VP of Platform Ecosystem at HubSpot said, “In the B2B space, we’re seeing a rise in the  ‘revenue operations’ function, and you don’t have to have a big department to take advantage of this – it’s reframing how we connect the dots across the activities that are happening in a customer’s journey such as marketing and sales, and then how we align this with finance, data and operations. The integrations between the platforms such as Shopify for commerce, Xero for accounting, and Stripe for payments shows the way a small business runs their operations are all connected together and this is a remarkable step forward from where things were a few years ago.”

A shift away from enterprise, and towards entrepreneurs

Lola Oyelayo-Pearson, Director of UX at Shopify said, “Traditionally, business solutions focused on the enterprise customer (the big multi-year contracts and lock-ins)…but we’ve seen a massive shift in startups, entrepreneurs and small businesses needing those dynamic solutions. They’re nimble, willing to experiment and innovate, and there’s an ecosystem that wants to support them by offering enterprise-level solutions that are accessible, providing them with more choice and helping them to innovate.”

Changing the game for startups, entrepreneurs and small businesses

Xero commissioned a study (Forrester Consulting’s The Next Chapter for Small Business) to uncover the true impact of the pandemic on startups and small businesses. We found that thriving businesses excelled in technology adoption, ecosystem engagement, customer engagement, operations, and data-driven decision making.

Everyone on our panel was in agreement – we’re committed to changing the game for startups, entrepreneurs, small businesses and developers who want to innovate and collaborate on our various platforms at HubSpot, Stripe, Shopify and Xero.

I’d like to thank our panelists – Dorothy (Stripe), Lola (Shopify), and Scott (HubSpot) and also our moderator, Ray (Constellation Research) – for sharing your valuable insights.

And thank you to TechCrunch for hosting the digital roundtable (again definitely watch the recording on and also keep an eye out for the link via our Xero API social channels).

You can check out the various apps that are compatible with HubSpot, Shopify, and Stripe now on the Xero App Store.

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