Rod Drury of Xero, who will also represent New Zealand in the Global Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, won the top prize and was crowned Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2013.
It's been a string of positive news for Mr Drury and his online accounting software company, Xero. The company's shares had climbed to 30 per cent or at $25.20 per share as of Oct 17. The Xero stock spike came after news of a $180 million investment as new capital for the company.
Xero's price per share has increased by $20 since 2012 which is equivalent to a rise of 385 per cent. According to reports, Mr Drury's company has a market capitalisation of almost $3.2 billion.
Mr Drury received the award at a gala dinner in Auckland. He is scheduled to leave for Monaco in June 2014 to represent New Zealand at the Global Entrepreneur of the Year awards.
Cross Ventures and PowerbyProxi's Greg Cross was one of the judges for the Entrepreneur of the Year and said the standards for choosing the finalists were getting higher every year. He said the competition was intense and competitive since New Zealand has outstanding entrepreneurs.
Other finalists for the Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 were Vista Entertainment's Murray Holdaway, Synlait Milk's John Penno, Ian Kuperus of Tax Management NZ and Cecilia Robinson of Au Pair Link and My Food Bag.
The finalists for the award have been chosen from a shortlist of entrepreneurs in New Zealand. When local news contacted Mr Drury for comment, he said he was attending meetings the whole day and was not aware of Xero's stock surge.
According to Rod Drury, most of the investors interested in Xero's stocks were usually outside of the U.S. where they were aware of the potential of cloud-based services. He said most of the 29 million small businesses in the U.S. have yet to make the transition into cloud services.
Mr Drunry said Xero called had years of building its cloud-based platform. He said his company was just in the "beginning of a 5- to 10-year boom."
On Oct 14, Xero announced it has issued 9.92 million shares at $18.15 each to investors in New Zealand and United States. Mr Drury said the $180 million raised will be used to beef up Xero's management team in the U.S.
One of Xero's U.S. investors is Facebook billionaire Peter Thiel who invested $147 million from the shares. Xero is now preparing to compete with its U.S. rival, Intuit, which has 8,000 employees compared to Mr Drury's 600 staff.
Rod Drury launched Xero in June 2006 and listed the company in New Zealand's stock exchange in 2007. The Wellington-based company is focusing on pursuing growth opportunities abroad and targeting U.S. and Britain.