Top 8 Data Centre Investors Funding Edge in 2024

This article details 8 institutions that have played a key role in financing some of the world’s most interesting edge data centre developments.

1. DigitalBridge

DigitalBridge is a leading global digital infrastructure asset management firm which has been deeply involved in the data centre space. Previously a real estate investment trust named Colony Capital, the acquisition of Digital Bridge in 2019 led to a rebranding and focus near-solely on the tech and digital infrastructure sector. Since 2010 assets under management have grown from $30bn to $80bn in 2024.

Edge investments

DigitalBridge has been quick to realise the potential of edge, founding edge innovator AtlasEdge in 2021 in a joint venture with Liberty Global. AtlasEdge combined the two companies’ assets for a pan-European play, now operating more than 100 edge data centres in cities such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, and Milan. AtlasEdge is now focused on recognising the potential of areas not covered by ‘legacy’ data centres, instead focusing their activities on Europe’s more underserved, Tier 2 markets such as Birmingham, Hamburg, and Stuttgart. DigitalBridge is also a principal investor in Leading Edge Data Centres, based in Sydney, a company which since its founding in 2018 has been a leader in providing Australian edge services across tens of strategically placed data centres – and with plans to expand to 26 in the coming years. DigitalBridge continues to be a leading presence in financing edge data centres on a global scale, so far tending to build full platforms in edge, rather than making a purely infrastructural investment in facilities.

2. Astra Capital Management

Astra Capital Management is a venture capital and private equity firm based in Washington D.C. which specialises in growth buyouts within the Communications and Technology Services industries. Founded in 2014, the firm holds $599m assets under management as of 2023 – across a portfolio of fibre, cybersecurity, wireless, and data centre services — and is focused on executing growth in businesses with proven concepts, aiming to have a lasting impact on the companies in which it invests.

Edge investments

Astra’s strong portfolio of innovative digital service companies includes DartPoints — acquired in 2020 for an undisclosed amount — a leading provider of edge colocation data centres in the U.S. market. Founded in 2012, Dartpoints now operates 11 data centres across 10 U.S. markets, providing vital data services to largely underrepresented regions. The company’s central aim is to strategically place data centres within mid-sized markets across the U.S. to address diverse and unique regional needs as well as foster economic growth. Since Astra Capital’s investment, Dartpoints has expanded rapidly and recently acquired Venyu in 2023, Louisiana’s premier cloud services provider, expanding Dartpoint’s geographical coverage to the South-Central U.S. It is currently listed as one of Inc. 5000’s fastest-growing privately owned companies in the U.S. DartPoints remains a key component of the four companies which make up Astra’s core portfolio, highlighting the faith it has placed in edge as a growth market.

3. I Squared Capital

I Squared Capital, founded in 2012, is a leading global private equity firm with $38b assets under management focusing on broad infrastructure investment. The firm has made numerous ambitious global infrastructure investments – ranging from U.S. hydroelectric plants to Indian motorways – as well as developing a significant digital infrastructure portfolio across fibre, data centres, and cybersecurity. I Squared Capital established nLighten with more than $500m of equity to enter the edge colocation market but they have also separately acquired BDx in Asia and KIO Networks in the Americas.

Edge investments

I Squared’s nLighten has quickly become one of the global leaders in the edge data centre space. nLighten was established as an edge data centre platform dedicated to servicing both traditional and low latency use cases across western Europe. Since the launch of nLighten in February 2023 it has expanded rapidly through several acquisitions towards a pan-European platform, now maintaining 34 edge data centres across most of Western Europe. Significant recent acquisitions include that of Proximity Data Centres, seen as one of the leading edge data centre operators in the UK, and EXA Infrastructure with facilities in Germany. nLighten’s expansion in an short span of time demonstrates the potential of merging the innovation of edge with powerful financial backers within the data centre space.

4. Meridiam

Meridiam, based in Paris, is a global investor and asset manager with $18b assets under management, which specialises in developing, financing, and managing long-term infrastructure projects – with the financing of data centre infrastructure increasingly forming a key part of this mandate. Notably, Meridiam has been a major presence in investing in Africa, announcing its first fund dedicated to the African continent, the Meridiam Infrastructure Africa Fund, in 2014. In line with the company’s vision of ‘delivering transformational infrastructure’, Meridiam has played a critical role in providing the financial backing for some of Africa’s first commercial data centre developments.

Edge investments

In 2021, Meridiam partnered with African investor Roha Africa to establish Raxio, one of the first pan-African providers of sustainable edge data centre services. With Meridiam’s initial investment of $41m, supplemented by an additional equity investment of $48m and $170m of debt financing, Raxio has been able to meet its central mandate of providing its services across African markets – with data centres established in seven African countries. Most recently, Raxio developed Angola’s first carrier-neutral Tier III data centre, due to be fully commissioned in 2024. Meridiam’s role in Raxio’s establishment and expansion exhibits the role investors can take in facilitating data centre and edge offerings within developing markets.

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5. Antin Infrastructure Partners

Antin Infrastructure Partners is a major private equity firm headquartered in Paris which invests in infrastructure across a range of sectors, including digital, energy, transport, and social. Founded in 2007, the firm has expanded rapidly to reach €30b under management by 2022.  Within its digital portfolio, Antin has held numerous cell tower and fibre companies across U.S. and Europe, as well as recently establishing a strong data centre holding.

Edge investments

Sticking to its mantra of ‘seeing potential, delivering value’, Antin has realised the potential of edge, acquiring leading UK edge data centre operator Pulsant – seeking to capitalise on the growing demand for UK data centre and cloud infrastructure. Pulsant was formed in 2011 through the integration of Dedipower, a managed hosting company, Luminson, a managed service provider, and Bluesquare Data, a datacentre operator. In 2012, Pulsant acquired Scottish colocation company ScoLocate, marking the beginning of its expansion towards being one of the UK’s principal edge providers. Pulsant aims to provide critical data centre services at the edge for UK regional businesses, serving over 1,000 private enterprise and public sector customers. Aided by Antin’s investment, Pulsant now holds 12 edge data centres, and recently announced a $5.7m expansion to its Manchester data centre. Antin’s investment in Pulsant highlights how large-scale investors can enable the expansion of vital regional edge services.

6. Photon Capital

Photon Capital is a smaller-scale specialised investor that builds and transforms businesses that fuel the growth of Europe’s digital economy – with data centre investment forming the central pillar of this strategy. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Photon is a hands-on investor which invests in companies based on a central vision of “transforming companies into platforms”, embracing a wide-reaching strategy of acquisition to support a broad pan-European data centre platform offering.

Edge investments

Photon focuses on sectors believed to have ‘solid long-term growth potential’ and is a key player within the European edge space through its main portfolio company Penta Infra. Penta Infra was founded in 2015, aiming to be the leading provider of reliable, sustainable and highly connected edge data centres in Europe – currently maintaining nine data centres across Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Denmark. Having raised €75 million through a new financing deal, Photon aims to further expand and consolidate within Europe. Recently, in late 2023, Photon consolidated its’ edge offering in the Netherlands and Germany with its acquisition of a data centre in Amsterdam (previously operated by Dutch telco KPN) and announcement of plans to construct a new colocation data centre in Hamburg.

7. GI Partners

GI Partners is a leading middle-market private equity firm based in San Francisco, with an investment mandate centring on companies in healthcare, IT infrastructure, services, and software. Founded in 2001 by Rick Magnuson – a co-founder of data centre giant Digital Realty – GI has total of $42b assets under management and has become increasingly focused within the data services sector. GI’s data investment strategy focuses on four complimentary infrastructure subsectors: data centres, data transport, wireless access, and tech-enabled infrastructure.

Edge investments

Within its wider data centre portfolio, GI Partners has been a key backer of edge in U.S. markets through its acquisition of LightEdge in 2021 – a leading edge hybrid cloud and colocation service provider. LightEdge was founded in 1996 and was centred around a vision of serving underserved markets within the Midwest region – it now owns and operates 12 purpose-built data centres, supporting 1,300 clients across the U.S. Since its acquisition by GI, LightEdge has expanded rapidly, making four acquisitions in quick succession. Most recently, in April 2024, LightEdge entered an agreement to acquire Connectria, a provider of multi-cloud infrastructure and managed hosting, which will provide six additional data centres to LightEdge’s present offering and provide access to new markets such as Philadelphia and New Jersey.

8. National Government of the Republic of Latvia

The Latvian Government has played a key role in expanding the edge sector within Eastern Europe through its ownership of Tet cloud – a company which has been making strides within the data centre space. Founded as Tet (and later Lattelekom) in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992, its’ origins were based on the leftover local infrastructure and services previously provided by the Soviet Ministry of Communications. The company was partly privatized in 1994, with Swedish telco Telia taking a 49% stake, though the Latvian government maintained a majority holding of 51%. In 2021, Tet bought Telia Latvia for €10.75m marking the beginning of an ambitious strategy of ‘accelerating growth’.

Edge investments

Coinciding with this vision of accelerated growth, Tet has invested heavily in edge data centres with Tet Cloud, maintaining the largest certified data centre infrastructure holding in the Baltics – in partnership with longtime associate Telia. Beginning its data centre operation in 2000 with a single twenty rack facility in Riga, Tet Cloud has expanded significantly and currently operates six edge data centres within Latvia, offering services such as colocation, cloud services and network solutions. Tet Cloud has been able to take advantage of the rapid growth within data centres and cloud services, with Latvia becoming a net cloud exporter, exporting 75% of its data centre services to customers outside the country. Tet’s success within the cloud sector demonstrates how public sector investment can be crucial in introducing innovative edge services to countries outside of traditional markets.

Jonas Topp-Mugglestone

Jonas Topp-Mugglestone

Jonas Topp-Mugglestone

Consultant

Jonas is a Consultant at STL Partners, specialising in data centres and M&A.

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