Q&A with Khaled Sedrak, founder and CEO of NxtVn
NxtVn have "no shortage of adventures" says its founder and CEO, Khaled Sedrak.
What have been NxtVn’s key developments and stand outs in Europe over the past year?
I am very happy with the tremendous progress we have achieved in converting prospect sites into Data Center Parks in different phases of development. NxtVn’s key strategic offering to acquire land for large scale Data Center Parks and to connect these on a global scale has been recognized by the market and we know for a fact that major players are going back to their strategy rooms to review, what used to be their firm positions. Halli, Finland is now ready for customers and the same goes for Eemshaven, in the north of The Netherlands. Alexandrian – Egypt, Virginia Beach -US and Marseille – France are among the Parks that will be announced soon. These are such fantastic locations providing unparalleled space with unmatched power capacity at our doorstep. I don’t need to explain that these locations will be crucial hubs for global data traffic in and through Europe. That is why we are there.
How has wholesale demand (data centre) in the region evolved in recent years and how is NxtVn aiming to meet those demands this?
Like everybody knows, demand for digital infrastructure is skyrocketing. The dividing line between the wholesale and the retail data center business is becoming more and more a blurry line. There is a quantum leap in workload processing, storage capacity and connectivity needs in order to accommodate this growth. Fast go to market and cost efficiency are crucial. That is what NxtVn proposes in providing open access and neutral access to space and connectivity. Our focus is on accelerating procedures for land acquisition, zoning, permitting, security and building support infrastructure in order to be ready to meet client demand any time with maximum flexibility and modular options. We are working with big names in America, Asia and Europe to respond to their capacity needs and, importantly, to assure the level of flexibility that they are seeking. For no one is capable to exactly project longer term demand and yet customers demand that real-time needs should be accommodated immediately. This is the challenge and this is NxtVn opportunity too.
What are your strategic priorities for Europe in 2018 and what announcements can we expect from NxtVn in the region this year?
You won’t mind me saying that “Europe” includes the whole Mediterranean basin. The cables going through Egypt to Europe are the key given to make investment in Alexandria a great strategic asset. Very shortly I expect that we can announce a unique partnership in building there a first Data Center Park with great facilities and connectivity. And this is directly linked with the south of France Marseille region’s ambition to open doors to new players as part of the open competition agenda that is promoted by the new government. We are determined to be there and to be able to announce this in due course.
What are the key challenges in the region and how is NxtVn preparing to tackle them?
Europe is still far from creating the best conditions for global digital leadership.
One of the reasons for NxtVn to be established in The Netherlands is the recognition by the government that the digital economy is an at least as important main-port as the traditional sea/air ports like the port of Rotterdam or Schiphol airport. Such awareness is certainly not yet embraced everywhere. Comes on top of this Brexit, which creates new opportunities on the continent, particularly in the Calais region. Apart from our own interests we feel very much part of the industry as a whole to work with public authorities everywhere to make Europe an ever better digital place. Think about technical standards, protection of critical infrastructure and of course the ongoing concerns on data privacy.
What do you hope to achieve out of your attendance at the CE event?
Capacity Europe offers us the platform to present our offering, develop new partnerships and join or seek industry alliances. I trust our presence also helps participants to get to know NxtVn better and to see that the young start-up is changing rapidly into a global infrastructure player. Allow me to say that the announcement today of bringing Job Witteman, the visionary long-time founder and CEO of AMS-IX, as our new chief operating officer is more than a confirmation that we are on track. He is going to participate in putting the executive team on board that will deliver our digital infrastructure. Job’s down to earth style with short speech and big action will add a lot of value to our team.
Back in May, you told CE about a number of several subsea cable projects, can you give us an update on the status of these?
Our work is progressing at pace in exploring commercial options, technical conditions and potential partnerships. NxtVn Networks continues to act as a leader and catalyst in cable project development – our audacity in tackling such projects at the early-stage. The hot news today is that we made a great step in acquiring the existing Cable Landing Station in Eemshaven in Netherlands, at the border with Germany, that will help to tremendously upgrade essential intra-Europe and intercontinental connectivity in general and the Nordic-Europe traffic path. Other options for landing and subsea fiber cables will be developed in sync with the Data Center Parks site developments.
As your name suggests, can you tell us what the next venture or adventure is for NxtVn?
Ha! No shortage of adventures so far. That is the exciting thing of working with a highly qualified and very multi-disciplinary group of pioneers and entrepreneurs from Europe, the US and the Middle East. I promise you that our plans stretch way beyond what we are tackling to date. However, the next venture of tomorrow should be built on the achievement of today. Yet everybody knowing NxtVn team, and knows that “No” for an answer, will not be surprised that adventures is what continues to make our team tick.