By JOHN VAN KLAVEREN
GEELONG is emerging as Australia’s Silicon Valley after expanding education management system provider Sky Software sold for $21 million.
Sky Software chief Nick Stanley said the sale of the three-year-old privately-owned company to United Kingdom’s Tribal Group highlighted the level of global interest in Geelong’s IT capability.
Tribal stumped up an initial $4 million, with a further $17 million payable to the end of 2017 dependent on earnings growth.
Mr Stanley held Sky Software with chief operating officer Michael McKeand and chairman Clive Mayhew, who retired after the sale.
Sky Software provides cloud-based student management systems for vocational and higher education markets in Australia, Asia Pacific and Europe.
The company posted an unaudited loss before tax of $600,000 last financial year, although the value of its gross assets was $4.5 million.
Sky Software employed 40 staff and aimed to hire 40 more in the next three years to support its expansion, Mr Stanley said.
“We have the right skills, infrastructure and people for an IT software company to compete and expand globally.
“We continue to remain committed to Geelong and our global expansion, with Tribal, will allow us to continue creating and maintaining jobs in Victoria over the coming years.”
“We see this as a big upside underpinning our delivery model. A range of roles will evolve out of this and there are opportunities for reskilling for those open to a new career.”
Mr Stanley said the expansion would require business analysts, project managers, customer relations specialists, support-desk technologists, administration staff and accountants.
The Independent reported in December that Sky Software received a $400,000 State Government grant to establish a global support centre.
Tribal and Sky Software combined will have more than 500 customers in 60 countries and 1400 staff in 17 offices.
Mr Stanley said servicing global markets could be a challenge for a small company based in Geelong but the Tribal deal gave Sky Software “the sheer weight and muscle to ramp up to the next level”.
“It’s a good outcome for the local market and jobs growth in Geelong and will lead to significant growth in our team,” he said.