Friday, 07 September 2018 10:22

ACS acquires River City Labs, commits $7.5m to support tech start-ups

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The Australian Computer Society, the professional association for Australia’s ICT sector, has acquired Brisbane-based platform solutions provider River City Labs Group including the operations of the RCL accelerator and Startup Catalyst, with a commitment to invest $7.5 million in ramping up River City’s support for tech entrepreneurs.

Founded in Brisbane by Steve Baxter in 2012, the River City Labs Group fosters the growth of tech start-ups and scale-ups in Queensland and is focused on building platform solutions.

ACS’ acquisition, announced on Friday, follows River City’s issuing of an expression of interest seeking buyers for the company in May this year.

The organisation says more than 20 expressions of interest were received, which were then shortlisted first as a group of six, and then again as a list of four.

“We’re tremendously excited by being afforded the opportunity to grow River City Labs. ACS’ vision is for Australia to be a world leader in technology talent that fosters innovation and creates new forms of value,” said ACS president Yohan Ramasundara.

“We understand that new jobs growth in a digital economy comes from tech startups, and we are pleased to be in a situation where we can contribute to growing the tech ecosystem both in Queensland and more broadly across the country.”

Ramasundara said that for existing tenants and partners of the RCL Group, services would continue unchanged, and the team would remain the same, with Steve Baxter still involved as an adviser and continuing to be a major influence.

“After six amazing years, I’m truly excited to see RCL evolve. When we launched this process it was about finding the right custodian for RCL, not just to maintain business as usual but to take it to the next level. ACS came to the table with fresh new ideas, a compelling vision for supporting tech entrepreneurship in Queensland and beyond, and a willingness to invest. There are so many people who’ve contributed so much to this journey, thanks to all of you. But don’t go anywhere – the job has only just begun,” Baxter said.

ACS says that, since its launch, more than 700 start-up founders have set up office at River City Labs, and just under 29,000 people have passed through the doors, attending more than 1000 start-up and community events. It has run programs in partnership with some of Australia’s biggest companies, including BOQ, CUA, Suncorp and Telstra.

The RCL Accelerator, powered by muru-D, has graduated 28 Queensland start-ups including Travello, Maxwell MRI and Punta. Startup Catalyst takes start-ups, investors, corporates, tech-savvy youth, and innovation leaders to international start-up hotspots including Silicon Valley, London, Berlin, Israel, and parts of Asia.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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