06 Oct 2021

Kao Data - Welcome to the next chapter in our journey

It’s only Wednesday, but it’s already been quite the week at Kao Data. Yesterday we announced the news that Infratil Limited, a New Zealand headquartered, listed infrastructure fund, have invested up to £120-130 million in Kao Data and our mission to design, develop and operate high performance data centres.

It’s a landmark moment for the company and the culmination of a great deal of work by my colleagues, Board members and fellow investors that started before my tenure as Kao Data’s CEO. And, while the confirmation of new investment in some part feels like the end of the process – in reality it marks the beginning of a new and exciting phase in our continuing development.

Over the last four years since Kao Data went operational in 2018 our business has been on what can only be described as a truly transformative journey. We have moved from an idea conceived by our founders, Goldacre through to a start-up, high growth scale-up and now an established data centre developer and operator in the world’s busiest colocation market.

Along the way we’ve re-designed the traditional data centre 'playbook’ and achieved numerous industry ‘firsts’ – first OCP-Ready data centre outside of the United States, first wholesale colocation data centre in the UK to use free-air cooling, first UK data centre to operate a fossil-fuel-free campus – they keep coming. And why? Well, behind everything Kao Data does and stands for is an entrepreneurial spirit that at times is simply infectious. It frames all our thinking, fuels our approach to data centre design, operation and management, and enables us as a company and team to punch above our weight.

This ‘can do’ attitude makes the improbable possible, and led us to secure pioneering customers such as EMBL-EBI, InstaDeep, Civo and a range of financial services clients. Further, despite stiff competition from our more established peers, it led us became the host of NVIDIA’s Cambridge-1: the UK’s fastest and most powerful supercomputer.

During that time our organisation has grown exponentially. Our C-level leadership team has handpicked new team members to join our ranks. They have immersed themselves in the worlds of boundary-pushing engineering, of HPC and GPU accelerated computing and ensured that sustainable operations have, at all times, remained central to our decision-making.

This week however, our evolution as a leading provider of sustainable, high performance colocation data centres reaches a new milestone. This new investment from Infratil, alongside our existing shareholders Legal & General Group and Goldacre Noé group, will see Kao Data accelerate its growth, underpinning the UK Governments National AI Strategy, and its One Government Cloud Strategy’(OGCS), with sustainable, high performance infrastructure, while expanding our operations across new locations.

In fact, as of this moment, Kao Data has become a multi-site operator, having signed an agreement to acquire two new data centres with a long-term anchor lease from a leading financial services organisation. This purchase will enable us to scale quickly, increasing our operational capacity to around 55MW, and enable our business to deliver high performance multi-site services for both new and existing customers.

Our new sites are massively exciting, but it’s worth pointing out that Harlow will always be our home. It was on the site of our very first data centre – KDL1, that back in 1966 Sir Charles Kao first pioneered optical fibre technology, and it is from him that we take our name. Our specialist industrial scale campus in Harlow will remain central to our strategy, but new sites open up new opportunities to provide the same stellar level of service to additional industries and sectors.

Becoming a multi-site data centre operator has long been part of our strategic plans. But to have achieved this milestone is a feeling of true elation that extends from our management team to our operational and facility management personnel. Our new partnership with Infratil will undoubtedly continue to propel us forwards and further reinforce our position as one of the UK’s leading high performance data centre providers.

On behalf of the Kao Data team I’d like to thank Infratil CEO Jason Boyes and welcome him and his team into the UK’s data centre market and the Kao Data family. Together we will continue to build a platform for sustainable, digital growth, helping the UK retain its position as a global leader in tech, and underpin its ambitions to 'build back better'. Knowing that our investors have the same beliefs, mindset and entrepreneurial spirit will be pivotal in making this vision a reality.

Lee Myall

Lee Myall is the former CEO at Kao Data and has spent more than 20 years leading teams that design, develop and deliver mission-critical digital infrastructure.


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