Cybersecurity network AustCyber has merged with tech incubator Stone & Chalk in a bid to boost the growth of “high impact Australian companies in critical and emerging technologies”.

On paper, the deal is an acquisition that will see AustCyber become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Stone and Chalk. However, the two non-profits said the terms make it closer to a merger.

The merged organisation will provide Australian startups and scale-ups with access to a combined pool of customers, talent, expertise and capital.

Australian cybersecurity firms will benefit from Stone & Chalk’s commercial network and emerging tech startups can gain access to cybersecurity support from AustCyber.

Combined, the two organisations say their network has created more than 2,500 jobs.

The two firms believe that combining their resources will make the new entity better positioned to shape Australia’s emerging technology regulatory landscape.

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By GlobalData

“The Covid-19 pandemic has made it clear that Australia can no longer depend so heavily on imported technology which contains critical dependencies in supply chains,” said Stone & Chalk CEO Alex Scandurra via a press statement.

“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. The integration of Stone & Chalk and AustCyber will enable our joint organisation to pursue a resilient and prosperous future not just for founders, enterprise and governments, but for all of Australia.”

AustCyber will retain its own brand, staffing structure and National Network of Cyber Security Innovation Nodes based in 10 locations across the region.

AustCyber will remain one of the Australian government’s Industry Growth Centres.

“It’s in our nation’s interests to be investing in scalable, flexible and sophisticated ways and means to nurture and propel forward emerging tech industries,” said AustCyber CEO Michelle Price. “AustCyber has demonstrated its ability to do this for cybersecurity and it’s critical we apply similar approaches to other emerging technologies.

“I have long respected the capabilities of Stone & Chalk and know that joining forces will provide our existing ecosystems with the tools they need to evolve, develop and thrive.”

In 2020 there were 177 completed technology acquisitions in Australia with a total value of $3.89bn, according to GlobalData’s deals database. There were eight technology mergers throughout the same period.

Read more: Australia’s technology industry sees a rise of 15.9% in deal activity in Q4 2020