Work _ XERO

Driving growth by expanding Xero’s product into financial services and small business lending.

Driving growth by expanding Xero’s product into financial services and small business lending.


Product Strategy, Design & Build, Go-To-Market


Xero is the leading digital accounting platform for small businesses around the world. Their platform sits at the heart of many small businesses’ operations. In a bid to widen the value that it offers to its customers, Xero was looking for opportunities to embed new financial services into its core product.


2+ year partnership working with over 100 small businesses to develop custom credit and lending products

Built a robust bank of SMB insights to inform financial products and services with 5000+ minutes of in depth interviews across the UK, Australia and New Zealand

Helped Xero launch their first lending product in 2021, in partnership with NatWest RapidCash, followed by additional product launches later that year with the digital lender iwoca.

_ The challenge

How to understand small businesses attitudes’ towards debt to help unlock a successful lending proposition

As part of their growth strategy, Xero were committed to co-developing customised credit and lending products. Our shared objective was to to design, prototype, and pilot lending products within the core accounting workflows.

This ambitious and innovative undertaking required a robust customer-led approach, with qualitative research at its heart, to ensure the greatest value to Xero customers was reached.

Insight cards
Snapshot of lending timeline
_ our approach

Embed customer insight at every stage of the product development process – from idea to adoption.

Through the 2 year partnership we facilitated 18 rounds of qualitative research across 3 markets.

These included deep ethnographic studies to uncover insights into the way small business owners manage company finances. We visited participants in their respective workplaces, enabling us to build a deeper understanding of the context of our audience’s business practices, and gather observational data in addition to interview data.

Key findings and insights from these ethnographic studies formed the basis of numerous collaborative concept workshops, facilitated between Xero and potential lenders. As part of these workshops, bespoke insight artefacts were created to ensure workshop attendees were able to empathise with customers and understand their worlds. This immersion led into collaborative ideation activities to identify solutions to customers’ unmet needs.

Lending concepts identified in the workshop were designed and tested with customers, before being refined and developed into fully fledged products. Additional studies to gain insights to inform messaging and go-to-market strategies were facilitated with both small business and accountants – another core audience critical to the product’s success.Throughout the partnership we supported Xero in building a self-sustaining in-house research team, complete with research methodologies and research recruitment workflows, who now support the businesses research needs.

Xero workshop post it notes
Xero recommended journey and proposals

Empowering small businesses to take control over their cashflow

Our strategic recommendations formed a core tenet of Xero’s M&A strategy, which included the acquisition of Waddle in late 2020

Xero launched their first lending product, in partnership with NatWest RapidCash in 2021

Xero continues to onboard new lenders and successfully realise their lending roadmap informed by our strategic, research and product recommendations

“Class35 really helped us make sense of the opportunities we had to help our customers, created highly innovative new service propositions and then worked with us to bring them to market.”

Head of SMB Credit & Data Product, Xero

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