Brand platform Collabosaurus founder in rare female-led tech exit to Cali Social founder

Brand platform Collabosaurus founder in rare female-led tech exit to Cali Social founder

(L-R) Cali Social founder and CEO Lauren Swidenbank with Collabosaurus founder Jessica Ruhfus

In a rarity for Australian businesses, Collabosaurus founder Jessica Ruhfus has completed a female-led tech exit transaction with digital marketing agency entrepreneur Lauren Swidenbank, who has taken control of her fast-growing brand collaborations platform.

Sydney-based Collabosaurus, which has been bootstrapped since being founded in 2015 by Ruhfus and delivered an average of 84 per cent annual growth since then, has been acquired by Swidenbank, the CEO and founder of Cali Social, a performance marketing agency specialising in female-first brands.

Collabosaurus is a tech platform, described as a brand match-maker for marketing collaborations, offering a unique and cost-effective solution for businesses seeking to expand their reach and impact.

Ruhfus, who has a background in fashion publicity and marketing education, established the platform after being frustrated by the task of sourcing value-based brand partnerships for events, products and social media during her career.

The platform, which boasts more than 10,700 brands including ASOS, Marks & Spencer, Walmart, Cointreau and Microsoft, appealed to Swidenbank because of its healthy profit margin of 46.8 per cent.

“I’m excited about the scalability and potential of Collabosaurus and was impressed by the platform’s unique model fostering win-win marketing collaborations, amidst rising saturation and an uncertain economy,” Swidenbank says.

“I will be focused on leveraging my background in performance marketing to continue the growth trajectory of the brand and enhance Collabosaurus' market presence.”

Swidenbank plans to continue plans by Ruhfus for Collabosaurus to extend its reach in the luxury brand space and into overseas markets.

Financial details of the acquisition have not been disclosed, but the entrepreneurs cite data from Pitchbook that all-female founder tech exits account for only 0.8 per cent of total exit value, making the transaction a rarity in the market and a step towards diversifying leadership and approaches in the tech sector.

Ruhfus describes the deal as an ‘organic and swift acquisition process’ that was initiated over dinner.

“We both had a shared vision for the future of the brand, and I have full confidence that Lauren's leadership will continue to propel Collabosaurus forward,” Ruhfus says.

Following the sale, Ruhfus says she will devote her energy to another of her ventures, No.2, an ecommerce brand in the home fragrance category which she says is experiencing ‘impressive traction’. 

Brisbane-based Swidenbank’s Cali Social has become a leader in the digital advertising space specialising in promoting female-first brands through data-driven advertising campaigns.

Analytics are a specialty of Swidenbank, who was an economist before venturing into the world of digital marketing working with the likes of clients such as Noelle Australia, Millwoods, Epsilon and Molten Store.

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