AustCyber and financial technology startup hub Stone & Chalk have agreed to merge to boost Australia’s technology footprint and address gaps in the market exposed by Covid-19.
The pair announced its union in a bid to foster investment and build talent and partnerships, while aiding policy and regulations for critical and emerging tech products and services.
AustCyber CEO Michelle Price said talks with Stone & Chalk began in the second half of last year after the pair recognised their existing partnership agreement could be better served as a full amalgamation.
“One of the key strategies behind the merger also aims to expand Australia’s export potential as the pandemic revealed Australia can’t rely on imported technology,” she told iTnews.
“We've got a lot of legacy [technology] within the economy.
“While there was a rapid uplift around digital technologies during the lockdown, the economy is now reeling from seeing just how much legacy has been exposed as a result of that.
“We believe that our scale in coming together will be able to accelerate how organisations across different sectors of the economy to tackle that [legacy] challenge.”
Under the merger, AustCyber will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Stone & Chalk, though it will retain its own branding, staffing structure and the National Network of Cyber Security Innovation Nodes.
AustCyber will also continue to operate as one of the Australian Government’s Industry Growth Centres.
Price said that while the merger was “very unusual” in the Australian landscape, it would ultimately deliver increased scale and expertise.
“Often what happens with a merger is you get absorbed into another organisation or it operates as a bit of a partnership, so we’re actually referring to it as an integration,” she said.
“The two brands will be displayed together and tell a story of integration, increased scale and expertise within an impact network we're joining forces to deliver.”
The internal amalgamation of both organisations, which is expected to be completed by mid-2021, is already underway, with combined staff slated to grow to 50.
Price said AustCyber’s Sydney-based node had already moved into Stone & Chalk's Sydney hub.
For states without co-location availability, Price said that there will be a focus on combining the scale of the physical network to bring “maximum value to our partners and customers.”
“Behind the scenes it's full integration. We will both together now be looking after our combined network of startups and scale-ups. That's now over 560 companies between the two ecosystems,” she said.
“We're combining them, so that they can collaborate together and have a multiplier effect across those industries and so when you think about that from a strategic perspective, all startups and scale-ups need to be as secure as they possibly can be.”