In 2016, Iceland was voted the world’s safest location to host a data center. As STEM industries around the world continue to compete and integrate next-generation strategies built on extreme algorithmic AI and hybrid computing, businesses are looking to Verne Global, the data center based in Iceland, to support their high-power computing (HPC) needs. Strategically placed mid-way between the world’s two largest data markets, Europe and North America, Verne Global is located on a secure former NATO Base in the city of Keflavik. The 45-acre campus relies on 100% renewable energy generated power. No matter where in the world the customer is located, Verne Global arranges the shipment and delivery of customers’ computers and network equipment and the company’s white-glove IT service ensures that customers’ equipment will receive the attention and maintenance that it needs. Customers are pleased as Verne Global has a 98% customer satisfaction rating and a Net Promoter score of 88.
London TechWatch caught up with CEO Dominic Ward to learn more about Verne Global, its expansion plans, and latest round of funding, which brings the company’s total funding to $125M across two rounds.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We raised $27M, and all current investors – the Wellcome Trust, Novator Partners, Stefnir, and General Catalyst – participated in the round.
Tell us about the product or service that Verne Global offers
Verne Global delivers data center colocation and Infrastructure-as-a-Service solutions for high-performance workloads and large-scale, intensive-compute users. Located and operating in an optimised environment and built upon 100% renewable resources, the data center drastically reduces the environmental impact of high-performance computing whilst also offering significant cost savings.
The inspiration for Verne Global was driven by a desire to identify the ideal environment in which to locate a data center. With 100% of its power generated from renewable resources and with the perfect climate, Iceland was the natural, optimal choice.
How is Verne Global different?
Verne Global’s data center campus is purpose-built and located on a highly secure former NATO base. Iceland’s exceptional power-availability, robust network, and national grid powered by 100% renewable energy make it the ideal choice for large-scale intensive compute or high-performance compute users. Abundant, scalable power is delivered by one of the world’s most modern grids, with its long-term fixed pricing, whilst Iceland’s northern latitude location offers optimised conditions for cooling the data center equipment.
What market is Verne Global targeting and how big is it?
Our customers turn to Verne Global for their power-intensive HPC workloads and extreme algorithmic AI compute needs. Our data center campus hosts customers deploying power-hungry applications that are pushing the boundaries of research across a range of industries, including financial services, earth sciences, life sciences, engineering, scientific research, and AI.
What’s your business model?
Verne Global is built upon an ethos of enabling maximum performance and flexibility for customer computing workloads. Our strategic location will allow us to continue to expand with customer demand, ensuring all our customers can truly scale their connectivity at a global level and meet all their high-performance computing needs.
How has COVID-19 impacted Verne Global?
Our onsite staff has been able to support the daily operations of the data center throughout the pandemic, and COVID-19 has not impacted customer operations. We pride ourselves on providing a level of support to our customers which means they can continue to operate from our data center whether they are able to visit or not. Our world-class operations team provides our customers with all of the remote support that they might need.
What was the funding process like?
Verne Global has a very stable shareholder base of four long term investors who have continued to support the strong growth of the business for a number of years.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
The world’s financial markets have been volatile in 2020. However, our ability to continue to raise capital in this environment was driven by strong demand from both existing and potential customers for high-performance computing solutions.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the cheque?
There is an increasing demand for compute and complex high-performance computing from enterprises across the board. The technological power and bespoke support provided by Verne Global, and a 98 percent satisfaction rating and a Net Promoter score of 88 from existing customers demonstrate our ability and prowess in supplying this demand, all of which led our investors to fund Verne Global’s expansion.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We are in the process of expanding our campus, further increasing its capacity in order to comprehensively serve our customers’ demand. The most significant milestone in the next six months will be completing this development and launching for our customers to utilise this increased capacity.
The most significant milestone in the next six months will be completing this development and launching for our customers to utilise this increased capacity.
What advice can you offer companies in London that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Unfortunately, all markets may be somewhat volatile and unpredictable in the months and years ahead. For companies that have not received new capital recently, liquidity will be especially critical, while a stronger focus on cash will also likely be necessary.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
Our business will continue to grow with existing and new customer demand over the near term, and we will continue to support that growth by ensuring that we provide them with the infrastructure, service, and support that they have come to trust.
What is your favorite restaurant in London?
Tendido Cero, it’s the best tapas in town!
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