AFTER a better than six-fold return on his investment so far, MYOB founder Craig Winkler has taken cash off the table from his stake in accounting software company Xero, cutting his holding to 15.7 per cent.

Mr Winkler on Friday raised $NZ15 million ($12 million) from the sale, which has reduced his stake from 19.5 per cent. Xero co-founders, Rod Drury and Hamish Edwards, took $NZ5 million and $NZ2 million out respectively.

The transaction formed part of a placement and share sale to two US investor groups, including one backed by PayPal founder Peter Thiel, which have taken a combined 16.8 per cent stake.

The three Xero investors sold a combined $NZ22 million of their holding, with Xero also placing 10 million shares at $NZ6 each to raise $NZ60 million.

Investors reacted bullishly to the news, pushing the shares to a record high of $NZ6.89, closing up NZ44¢ at $NZ6.88.

The sale follows the recent listing of Xero shares on the Australian stock exchange, which has triggered renewed interest in the stock amid optimism for its growth outlook.

''As founders, you don't have many opportunities to take money off the table,'' said Mr Drury, Xero's chief executive. ''The US investors wanted to buy more.''