Exclusive: new IX Reach owner tells Capacity of plans for January relaunch

09 November 2017 | Alan Burkitt-Gray


The new IX Reach, formed out of the broken up Console Connect, will be relaunched in January and will be much bigger than the old IX Reach, which the founder has just bought back.

Stephen Wilcox, who founded IX Reach in February 2007 and sold it to Console Connect in March 2015, is the new owner of the recreated company, as Capacity exclusively reported yesterday.

Wilcox had stayed with Console Connect after the 2015 acquisition but left “earlier this year, to pursue new ventures”, and had “no intention of coming back”, he told Capacity in an exclusive interview after we broke the news.

He has spent the last few weeks rebuilding the company that he set up more than a decade ago. Now “the network is seriously larger, covering Europe, North America and Asia”, he told Capacity. “My purchase of the network happened last month” and the deal included “the entire customer base”, he told us.

However, the re-founded IX Reach does not have the five worldwide offices that Silicon Valley-based Console Connect used. “We’ve inherited an office near Manchester airport [in the UK],” he said. “We haven’t any formal offices anywhere else, but we have a sales presence in the US. It’s early days at the minute.”

UK-based Wilcox would not tell Capacity how much he paid for the part of Console Connect that he acquired. The software platform, brand and technology team went to PCCW Global, also for an undisclosed price. Nor would Wilcox say how many people from the old Console Connect he had taken on.

“We’ve got the dust settling at the moment,” he said. “All the systems [of the two parts of Console Connect] were wrapped up together. We’ve just spent a month untangling them.” And he had to bring back the IX Reach brand and rebuild the website, he added.

“We’re trying to pull everything together over the rest of the year and we are doing the PR plan.” He hopes to relaunch the brand officially to the industry at the Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC) conference in Hawaii in late January.

It’s still unclear why the former management and owners of Console Connect decided to split up and sell off the company.

As we reported yesterday the company appointed a new CEO, Jef Graham, in September 2016, succeeding former CEO Al Burgio, who became chief strategy officer. Burgio is no longer with either side of the broken-up business, he told us yesterday. In April this year – after Wilcox’s departure – Graham announced four C-level appointments, including a CFO and a chief network officer.

“When the company appointed a CEO, Console Connect was trying to do a C-round of funding,” said Wilcox, who suggested the appointments were part of the changing “vision and direction” that the company was adopting.

According to the public records Console Connect raised $10.4 million in series-A investment in July 2014 and $26 million in series-B investment in November 2015. It raised $10 million in debt in April 2015, which followed $3 million in January 2014.

There is no record of any series-C investment being completed. “I expect they never did the C-round,” suggested Wilcox.

Wilcox left “because I thought my time was done and I wanted to go in a new direction, with no intention of coming back”, he told Capacity.

The business “was on the market for a little while, and I was a shareholder as well”. Console Connect hired Bank Street Group to find a buyer, having already decided to split the business, and Wilcox decided to buy what was essentially the old IX Reach, but much larger, because it included “the whole global business”, he said. He expected Bank Street Group to make an announcement in the past few days, but nothing had appeared by 11:00 UK time this morning.

“What I bought back is Console Connect’s global network business, but I had to change the name,” said Wilcox, who went back to the old IX Reach name.

“In 2007 in IX Reach we were doing carrier-to-carrier and data centre-to-data centre transport via direct Ethernet connection. We were on the original launch with Google and Amazon when they started offering direct connection. [That business] all got wrapped up in Console Connect.”

Today the new IX Reach is operating in “a much bigger area of the market – everyone is talking about direct connection”.