Meet Jess Ruhfus - Founder of Collabosaurus


Interview by Sophie Cottrell

Jess is one of the few. She is gutsy, brilliant and has poured herself into something that she is not only passionate about but has changed and shaken up an industry that was so ready to be shaken. Getting to hear her story, not only is beautiful and completely inspiring, but it makes you want to take greater risks in life and hang around people like her. 


Thank you so much for sitting down to chat with us, what an honour it is. What you have created with Collabosaurus is both inspiring and completely genius. Tell us a bit about your story. Where you were born, your family and your career history.

Thanks so much! Woah where to start! I was born in Melbourne as my dad headed up a radio station there. When I was 3 we moved to Sydney’s Northern Beaches and now I’m fairly hopeless when it comes to cold weather. I was a complete drama & english nerd in highschool, and then I started my Bachelor’s degree wanting to be a film producer or cinematographer. After a year studying this & doing a few work experience placements (which were awesome!) I fell into journalism & publicity a little by accident, completely falling in love with creative marketing from there. I got my first career job at a boutique fashion & lifestyle PR agency, then moved to a small business marketing education company before starting Collabosaurus.

How did the idea of Collabosaurus come about?

In both of my previous roles working in marketing & PR I was frustrated at the difficulties sourcing interesting brand collaborations the traditional way. There was a lot of time invested into reaching out cold to brands, negotiating and researching potential collaborations, and the process was messy. Tinder was becoming popular at the time and I thought – how amazing would it be to have a Tinder-like platform for brands?! The idea grew from there. We built a matchmaking platform for brands to find great marketing connections so they can save a bunch of time, tap into new audiences & grow their network.


How does Collabosaurus work? What are the practicalities for those that want to get involved?

We’ve built an algorithm that can match complementary brands together. There’s a fair bit to it – from target markets, to locations, interests & offering vs what you want, Collabosaurus will find brands that complement your profile from a marketing standpoint. We want you to be able to reach relevant potential customers in a win/win partnership so we’re very careful with our matching process.

For brands that want to get involved, it works just like a dating site! Create a profile & list your goals - Collabosaurus will match you up with amazing opportunities & then the magic is up to you.


What made you decide that this is what you were gonna do, that this is where you are going to put your time and energy? And what pushed you to take the risk?

The idea for Collabosaurus excited me to the point where it was all I could think about. For someone like me who gets distracted and bored easily, it was unusual for me to be ridiculously obsessed with a move forward. I suppose the idea nagged at me until I couldn’t ignore it anymore and I haven’t looked back since.


The tech industry is a hard one to break into, let alone starting your own business in the first place, what do you think your key elements of success have been?

Focusing energy on building great relationships has definitely been key, as they can help boost positivity when things don’t go your way. I also think that keeping a ball rolling is really important - always be looking to the next move. That way, if something fails, it’s easier to handle because you’re already working on the next strategy.

What does success really look like to you?

Well, I’m definitely not 100% there yet and I believe this changes over time. I always wanted the flexibility of work hours, which I have and am so lucky for! Now, I see success as something that also gives a little financial freedom. I would love to take a holiday or buy a house (although with Sydney prices I’ll be 90 by the time I can afford it haha). Give me a couple of years :)


Tell us about where you live. What is it about this city that you love? What are your favorite places to eat and shop and explore?

I live on the Northern Beaches and absolutely love it here. I love the feel of it, the great food & cafes - and beaches of course! My favourite places to:


Barrenjoey House, Palm Beach

Le Boulevarde, Avalon

Chia Bonita, Manly

Pocket Pizza, Manly

Riccardo’s Pizza, Narrabeen

Yok Thai, Manly


Splice, Freshwater / Newport

Deesse, Avalon

Attic, Manly


There are so many great headland walks! I would suggest the Newport to Bilgola walk, ‘The Bluff’ if you’re looking for more bush, or Manly to The Spit if you’ve got half a day.

At Sceen’ry we talk a lot about finding beauty everywhere you go. What are some of the most beautiful places you have visited in the world and what is it about them that really stands out to you?

I love good food, so finding hidden gems overseas makes places seriously beautiful in my eyes!

I loved Portofino because I walked from Santa Margheurita over the headland (so quiet and stunning) and then had one of the best ragus in my life at a tiny corner cafe. I love Paris for the architecture & the art at every turn. There are so many places! I’d say almost everywhere in Europe haha.


What is the biggest challenge and biggest reward from what you do?

I think the biggest challenges include both the constant risk of being a tech startup running a marketplace platform, and educating the market on the value of brand collaborations. They can be up to 30x cheaper than other digital advertising - that’s huge for marketing! So it’s a huge reward for me when brands partner up and are astounded by the incredible marketing & networking value they get from a clever collaboration.


What do you look for in places that inspire you, not only creatively but also personally?

Plants! If it’s indoors, I LOVE indoor jungles with cascading plants. If it’s outdoors, I love the ocean & sun.


What are 5 things you would never travel without?

My phone - the camera is too good!

Moroccan Oil - my hair is ridiculous in the sun & salt

A good book

Journal & pen

At least a 10 minute attempt to learn a new language


What are some tips you would give to aspiring business owners?

Don’t give up yet! It always takes longer than you expect, so it’s important to give it a good go. I would also recommend getting outside your comfort zone regularly. Push yourself to try new things, meet new people & explore, what’s the worst that could happen?

For the Dreamer -  For the Adventurer