Exa and HGC owner funds edge platform in Frankfurt with $500m

Exa and HGC owner funds edge platform in Frankfurt with $500m

Chad McCarthy.jpg

Two former Equinix executives are to build a European edge data centre platform with US$500 million from the owner of two major carriers.

I Squared Capital (ISQ), which bought HGC Global Communications in Asia and Exa Infrastructure in Europe for a total of $4 billion, is funding Harro Beusker and Chad McCarthy, both formerly of Equinix, to start nLighten.

McCarthy (pictured), who is CTO, said: “The motivation to create nLighten came from our desire to make data centres local, to provide for evolving data use and environmental functions in the community.”

nLighten will be based at Eschborn, 8km north-west of the centre of Frankfurt am Main, and it sees that its investment this year will focus on Germany, saying it expects to open ten strategic locations in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Cologne, Leipzig, Munich, Nuremberg and Stuttgart in the second half of 2023.

This will give it a latency of 2 to 6ms for German customers, said nLighten.

But ISQ said nLighten intends to build, acquire and operate multiple edge data centre platforms across Europe.

Beusker said: “We are very excited to provide our services in Germany. We believe that Germany is one of the best places to launch our edge data centre platform with presence in all key economic hubs. From here we will expand into several other European markets.”

ISQ said that nLighten is part of its global data centre portfolio, including KIO in the Americas and BDx in Asia. ISQ bought KIO in 2021 for a reported $1 billion.

BDx grew out of HGC in Hong Kong, a project in which Martijn Blanken, now CEO of Exa Infrastructure was involved from 2018. Last year BDx and Exa Infrastructure said they were forming a partnership that will launch hyperscale growth across Asia, Europe and North America.

ISQ said that the nLighten management team includes Christian Zipp, former VP of sales of Germany and Netherlands at Digital Realty.

nLighten said it is pursuing the deployment of innovative energy solutions, including grid stabilization and the recovery and export of heat to nearby buildings and utility networks.

Beusker said: “With our team of experienced professionals, we are looking to create a step-change in the data centre industry. We will be close to the customer, bring connectivity ecosystems to regional markets, and actively support the energy transition.”

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