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Rack Centre to create West Africa’s largest data centre in $100m expansion

Rack Centre’s expansion programme will increase capacity to a total net lettable white space of 6000 square metres.

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Leading carrier neutral data centre operator in West Africa, Rack Centre, has announced an expansion programme that will increase capacity to a total net lettable white space of 6000 square metres, which will pave way for 13MW of  IT power capacity in its Lagos campus.

This was disclosed in a press release by the company, which was seen by Nairametrics.

The expansion is expected to bring carrier neutral scale to West Africa, and this is in response to increasing demand for data centre space from cloud uptake, telecommunication investment and outsourcing of IT facilities by enterprises in the region.

READ: Multichoice, StarTimes, others’ reception increase by 23% in Nigeria- Report

The funding for this expansion will come from a $250m pan-African data centre platform, established by Actis and Convergence Partners, a leading ICT infrastructure investor in Africa.

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In addition to the expansion in  Rack Centre, the platform is also actively developing additional buy and build opportunities across Africa, to establish a network of carrier neutral data centres aimed at catering to carrier, cloud and hyperscale customers. 

Back story:  It is noteworthy that on March 2020, in a bid to pave way for the expansion programme, Actis, a London private equity firm, announced an investment in Rack Centre, taking a controlling stake in the business alongside Jagal.

READ: Are we heading towards a food crisis?

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Why this matters

Nigeria is a key entry point for global telecommunications, content, and cloud players seeking access to the region. Despite the potentials of the country; with 138 million internet subscribers, more than any country in Africa or Europe, and the largest population and GDP in Africa, a lack of cost-effective, energy-efficient IT infrastructure, has been a constraint to doing business in the region. 

However, in a bid to create unrestricted connectivity between customers, telecommunication carriers, and internet exchange points within its data centres in the region, as a unique scale carrier neutral player, Rack Centre brings global best practice to Nigeria, as the first carrier neutral data centre in the region, to achieve Uptime Institute Tier III Certification of Constructed Facility (TCCF).

READ: Lagos announces N10 billion public-private partnership for aquaculture centre

The global leaders that the platform has engaged include:

  • Tim Parsonson, Co-founder, Teraco Data Environments – the largest carrier neutral operator in Africa, who joins the Board as Chairperson on the board.
  • Frank Hassett, a veteran of the global data centre industry and previous Vice President of Infrastructure, at Equinix, brings over 1300MW of build and operate experience, to assist with hyperscale expansion.

While speaking on the expansion of capacity, Andile Ngcaba, Chairman of Convergence Partners, said;  “Africa is at the start of a critical time in its development, as the 4th industrial revolution offers the chance to leapfrog many of Africa’s challenges, and harness the immense potential of its people. Convergence Partners is delighted to partner with Actis in accelerating the growth of high quality data centre infrastructure, an indispensable part of the foundation of this revolution in the region.”

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Dr Ayotunde Coker, Managing Director of Rack Centre, emphasized that the group is proud of the quality and scale bar which they have set in the region.

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“We are proud of the quality and scale bar we have set in the region and are scaling to be the de-facto digital data hub for West Africa

“Mass adoption of digital working models and content distribution is driving growing investment in the region and Rack Centre offers a world class location to house these IT and telecoms facilities,” Coker said.

Supporting this ambition, engineering consultancy Arup, have been appointed for the project.  The leadership status of Arup is uncontested,  having designed over 2,000MW of IT capacity for industry-leading tech giants, and co-location providers across the globe.

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Tech News

Edlyft raises over $1.4 million venture capital during pandemic

Edlyft raised over $1.4 million in venture funding from a number of investors.

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Edlyft, an EdTech startup, has so far raised over $1.4 million in venture funding from a number of investors.

The investors include Kleiner Perkins, Y Combinator, Kapor Capital, Village Global VC, January Ventures, and Backstage Capital. Also, funding came from some respectable entrepreneurs such as Jeff Weiner (former CEO, now Executive Chairman of LinkedIn).

It is practically impossible to run a business without capital, and sometimes, it is difficult to raise funds if the business is not well managed or successful.

Therefore, a balance must be struck; just as businesses strive to raise more funds for different purposes such as expansion, they must also strive to remain profitable.

Commenting on the latest development, one of the co-founders of the group, Erika Hairston told Forbes:

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We started our post-demo-day fundraise in the final weeks of Y Combinator’s winter 2020 batch. Given that Black women receive only 0.06% of venture funding, I had a determined mindset; yet no one could’ve predicted the challenges of rising at the peak of uncertainty across the globe.

“I remained optimistic however because due to pandemic and children and young people not being able to go to schools and universities, our work only became that much more needed in the world.”

She added, “Initially, it felt impossible to build new relationships with institutional funds who didn’t already know us or who weren’t focusing only on their portfolio. As the world adjusted to fully remote, so did we and the investor community. One of the fun facts about our fundraising journey is that 10% of our investors came solely from introductions over Twitter.

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What you should know

Edlyft is a paid support platform that helps college students and adult learners through CS courses, by pairing them with inclusive mentors, online group tutoring, and tools for navigating complex subjects.

Venture capital is a form of private equity and a type of financing that investors provide to startup companies and small businesses that are believed to have long-term growth potential.

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Market Views

Biggest IPO: World’s biggest Fintech plans to raise $34 billion 

Ant Group has begun the process of a concurrent initial public offering in what could mark one of the biggest IPOs of 2020.

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Biggest IPO: World's biggest Fintech plans to raise $34 billion 

The world’s payment juggernaut, Ant Group, is hoping to raise $34.5 billion in its dual initial public offering (IPO) after setting the price for its shares today, making it the biggest listing of all in modern history, in a report credited to CNBC news.

The Chinese financial powerhouse had earlier disclosed previously that it would divide its stock issuance equally across Chinese major stock exchanges, which include Shanghai and Hong Kong, issuing 1.67 billion new shares at each of those exchanges.

READ: Square buys $50 million worth of Bitcoins

READ: Airtel announces share price today as pre-IPO interest hits $200 million

READ: This report explains why Nigerians are bent on leaving the country

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Ant Group’s Shanghai-listed shares will be quoted at 68.8 yuan each. The issuing of 1.67 billion shares would raise 114.94 billion yuan or $17.23 billion.

  • The Hong Kong-listed shares have been priced at 80 Hong Kong dollars each, raising 133.65 billion Hong Kong dollars or $17.24 billion.
  • The listing would produce a return of at least $34.5 billion, as the figure could go higher if the so-called over-allotment option is exercised, depending on demand.
  • It would make it the largest initial public offer of recent memory, putting it ahead of previous record-holder Saudi Aramco, which raised about $29 billion.

READ: MTN may rake in $600 million from Jumia’s planned listing

READ: Jack Ma’s fintech firm is set for IPO, signalling prospects for Nigerian fintechs

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READ: Gold futures drops to $1727.80 as America, China tension deepens

What you should know

Ant Group, formerly known as Ant Financial and Alipay, is an affiliate company of the popularly known e-commerce company Alibaba.

  • Ant Group remains the world’s most valuable FinTech company, and most valuable unicorn company, with a target valuation of over US$280 billion.
  • The group owns China’s largest digital payment platform, Alipay, which serves over one billion users and 80 million merchants, with total payment volume (TPV) transaction reaching RMB118 trillion in June 2020.

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Business

5 Nigerian startups selected to join 7 others at the Africa Tech Summit Connects (ATS)

5 Nigerian startups to join 7 other African firms on the Africa Tech Summit Connects (ATS).

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Five Nigerian firms have been shortlisted among the 12 African startups to pitch live at this month’s digital Africa Tech Summit Connects in Kigali, Rwanda.

This is to showcase their solutions to the global audience of 500 investors, corporates, and other stakeholders.

Disrupt Africa and Africa Tech Summit (ATS) disclosed it had reviewed its partnership to integrate startup-focused sessions plenary and pitching chances in its virtual Africa Tech Summit Connects event scheduled to hold virtually on the 20th – 22nd of October 2020.

What you need to know

ATS is a fully-virtual event and not a webinar. The event would maximize their time with AI-powered smart matchmaking and give startups opportunities in the online business community.

Why this matters

The three days course will enable them to engage with parties through a variety of online mediums. It would encourage the exhibition of recent developments in the continent across the start-up world, and it would focus on fintech, logistics, ed-tech, agri-tech, e-commerce, investment, regulation and policy, blockchain, connectivity.

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With over 50 African tech start-up applicants seeking to raise either pre-seed, seed, or Series A funding; 5 out of the 12 selected to participate and present their solutions to the audience, and also connect virtually with those interested are Nigerian start-ups. The selected start-up companies are;

  • Medsaf (Nigeria),
  • Seso Global (Nigeria),
  • Wella Health (Nigeria),
  • Vybe (Nigeria),
  • Scrapays (Nigeria),
  • Agro Innova (Ghana),
  • PayDunya (Senegal),
  • Snode (South Africa),
  • Moja Ride (Ivory Coast),
  • Eneza Telecom (Kenya),
  • Kolute Systems (Senegal),
  • Abiria (Kenya).

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