AustCyber, the organisation charged with growing a local cybersecurity ecosystem, will merge with innovation hub Stone and Chalk as the two non-profits hope to boost Australia's domestic industrial capability in critical and emerging technologies.
The plan is to provide startups and scale-ups with "enhanced access to domestic and international customers, talent, and expertise together with the right sources of capital", the organisations said.
The organisations explained that this would accelerate the growth and maturity of the companies involved, while also creating new and highly-skilled jobs for Australians.
AustCyber, headed by Michelle Price, will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Stone & Chalk, but it will retain its standalone brand, staffing structure, and national network of Cyber Security Innovation Nodes. AustCyber currently boasts 10 Nodes across the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, and Western Australia
AustCyber will also continue to operate as one of the Australian government's Industry Growth Centres.
As part of the merger, Stone & Chalk will make its commercialisation support services available to Australian cybersecurity founders. This includes investment support, customer and talent acquisition, corporate partnerships, ecosystem support, and curated mentorship from commercial leaders.
AustCyber will likewise provide its expertise to Stone & Chalk's tech founders to ensure they are "secure by design" before they write any code at all.
"Together, they will also provide a powerful voice to better shape the policy and regulatory landscape for critical and emerging tech products and services," a statement from Stone & Chalk said.
Stone & Chalk CEO Alex Scandurra said COVID-19 has made it clear that Australia can no longer depend so heavily on imported technology, which contain critical dependencies in supply chains.
"I am inspired and humbled to have the privilege of supporting the rapid growth of Australia's cyber and emerging tech companies," he said. "Our mission is to help them to rapidly and intelligently scale and in doing so, develop Australia's industrial capability in strategically significant areas of emerging technology.
"In making our two organisations one, we are combining the greatest concentration of cybersecurity industry expertise in the country with the most developed technology commercialisation infrastructure that Australia has ever built."
Price said she has long respected the capabilities of Stone & Chalk and joining forces would provide the organisations' existing ecosystems with the tools they need to evolve, develop, and thrive.
"It will also support those areas of the economy developing strategically important technologies whose industries are still forming and the understanding of economic and societal impact is still taking shape," she said.
"In this environment, it has never been more urgent to provide commercialisation pathways for Australia's cybersecurity founders and build a cyber resilient industrial capability to support our nation to prosper in the years to come."
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