Stone & Chalk acquires Ribit matchmaker


James Riley
Editorial Director

Ribit, the digital student job and internship matchmaking service set up by the CSIRO’s Data61 as part of funding from the federal Digital Careers program has been acquired by Stone and Chalk, the nation’s largest cross-industry tech incubator network.

The Ribit matching service was launched by the CSIRO’s Data61 in 2016 with an allocation of funding from the federal government and led by senior Data61 executive Liz Jakubowski.

The service aimed to remedy the disconnect between Australia’s tech companies and its emerging startup tech ecosystem, and the talent being delivered by the nation’s university system. Ribit has always focused its data-matching platform on connecting STEM and digital talent with Australian business.

Alex Scandurra
Buying time: Stone and Chalk chief executive Alex Scandurra on the Ribit acquisition

Stone and Chalk, which has a physical footprint in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide but operates a national program, has been a Ribit partner since the start and has now acquired the service.

While terms of the arrangement were not disclosed, Stone and Chalk chief executive Alex Scandurra told InnovationAus the acquisition involved a cash payment and a schedule of two years of services back to the CSIRO.

Liz Jakubowski will remain at Data61, but three staff contracted to Ribit who managed the data platform will move across to Stone and Chalk. Ms Jakubowski will assist with the transition of the company while Stone and Chalk is looking to recruit a manager for the leadership role.

With Stone and Chalk having now moved beyond its roots as a FinTech specialist incubator, Mr Scandurra said there was now an opportunity to broaden the horizontal reach of the Ribit platform.

Although all Ribit partners will remain with the venture across the acquisition, Mr Scandurra said a priority would be to find sustainable revenue streams for the organisation.

Liz Jakubowski said the timing was right to take the platform to the next level.

“At CSIRO, we support a culture of research and technology transfer to industry. As an organisation which plays a vital role supporting the emerging technology ecosystem, Stone & Chalk is the ideal organisation to take Ribit forward from being a highly valued research program to a multi-functioning service that meets the growing needs of the market.”

“The platform has now reached the right level of maturity to transition out of CSIRO and continue to build its future model and deliver even more impact through Stone & Chalk,” said Ms Jakubowski.

Mr Scandurra said the Ribit platform was the ideal choice for Stone and Chalk as it expanded its network beyond FinTech into emerging technology areas.

“As Ribit’s anchor customer, we’ve worked closely with the team since its launch. The platform has strong links to most universities and TAFEs and provides live data on skills in demand by employers.

“Our business partners have already engaged hundreds of very capable students from it and we’re very excited to have the opportunity to take this important platform forward.

“We want to help small and large entrepreneurial businesses find the finest emerging talent to supercharge their growth – software engineers, web developers, data analysts, PhD researchers, designers, business analysts, marketing and communications,” he said.

Editor’s note. An earlier version of this story stated that the Data61 Ribit venture had been funded through the National Innovation and Science Agenda. This is not the case. Ribit was funded through the federal Industry department’s Digital Careers Program.

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