CSIRO kickstarts success for ground-breaking innovators

Nicole Bittar

‘Zero wasted potential’ is the calling of workforce intelligence platform Reejig, but it could equally apply to the impact of CSIRO’s Kick-Start program — which was instrumental to the global ascension of the Sydney-based enterprise. 

The Kick-Start program provides innovative Australian startups and small and medium-sized businesses with facilitation and co-funding support to access CSIRO’s research expertise and capabilities to help grow their business.  

Reejig uses the world’s first independently audited Ethical Talent AI, which enables organisations to make data-driven decisions about how they build resilient and market-leading workforces, from attracting and retaining top talent to creating career pathways and workforce agility.

Focusing on its mission pillars of people, business and society, Reejig’s chief executive officer and co-founder Siobhan Savage said, “we believe in a world of ‘zero wasted potential’, where every single person, no matter what your background, or what you look like, has access to meaningful careers”. 

(L-R) Reejig chief executive and co-founder Siobhan Savage and Singular Health chief operating officer James Hill

Ms Savage described Reejig’s experience of working with CSIRO as “unique” in that Kick-Start was a necessary starting point. 

“We were working with skills extraction of structured documentation, for which is difficult to find people’s skills and documents, and we wouldn’t have been able to build that without the resourcing support and innovation of the CSIRO team. So firstly, the product wouldn’t be possible,” she said. 

“The skills extraction part of our product is about solving some of the world’s most complicated problems. So Kick-Start has played a very important part of our journey.”   

In terms of the bottom line, Ms Savage said “we weren’t funded; we were self-funded. None of us were taking any salaries, so when we paid for your product, we had no money”. 

“And the dollar-matched funding from Kick-Start made it possible for us to be able to do that,” she said. 

Reejig recently announced its $6 million Series A capital raise to expand globally. Developed from seed funding of $2.2 million, the raise — led by investment from Skip Capital and Atlassian — sees the four-year old enterprise triple in size.

“It also helps that we have world-class investors, who are very well-known and respected, and if they are part of this journey with us, there’s a feeling that there’s something going on,” Ms Savage said. 

“It’s all very exciting, but I think, from a business perspective, we haven’t even started.” 

 The winner of this year’s Top Tech HR Product, Reejig’s workforce intelligence platform is tackling major HR challenges around hiring, retaining and reskilling staff. 

“I think people resonate with our mission: we’re not selling a product, we’re changing the world,” Ms Savage said. 

How has CSIRO’s Kick-Start program fostered and nurtured Reejig’s development? 

“The ability for us to give organisations full visibility of their skills, to help them deploy talent in a meaningful way and to help employees create meaningful careers for themselves — all of that is anchored on skills,” Ms Savage said.  

The Kick-Start program was integral to Reejig’s development. 

“Because we worked with CSIRO researchers, we could see that it was viable way of solving problems and we could start to scale the platform. 

“Without the Kick-Start program, we could have tried to solve it a different way, but we wouldn’t have had the same cut-through,” she said.  

Similarly, the program has helped further the development strengths of Perth-based medical technology company Singular Health Group, not once, but twice. 

The first AI project involved transforming 2D CT scans into workable 3D models; followed by a generative tool that automatically designs cranial implants for surgical procedures. 

Last year, Singular Health achieved FDA approval for its volumetric rendering platform in record time — and is breaking into the US Defence and healthcare markets. 

“The Kick-Start program is fantastic. It has not been a core driver, but has allowed us to explore different avenues and expedite the process,” said Singular Health’s chief operating officer, James Hill. 

“The program enabled us to access CSIRO’s expertise and integrate it into our team — to explore different verticals inside the business without having to recruit AI experts.” 

Timing is everything in terms of aligning business objectives with such initiatives.  

“I would encourage businesses that are a couple of years into their journey, with an established core team already in place, to consider a CSIRO Kick-Start collaboration. If you’re too early, and in the ideas stage, I don’t think you have enough established processes, procedures or human capital to effectively manage the Kick-Start project,” Mr Hill said. 

“But if you have a couple more people to manage the project and make sure that it aligns with your business objectives, then you can leverage the scientific and R&D capabilities to bolster your team, enhancing your overall capabilities.” 

For more information and to submit an EOI, please get in touch with the CSIRO Kick-Start Program team.

This article was produced by InnovationAus.com in partnership with CSIRO.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

Leave a Comment

Related stories