​Icelandic datacentre venture Verne Global lands $98m

Verne Global, operator of datacentres in the frozen north, has landed more funding to grow its business.

Verne Global, the UK-based datacentre company known for its Icelandic facilities, has landed $98m in series D funding.

The new financing round, announced today, was led by Icelandic asset management and private equity firm Stefnir. The cash injection will provide Verne Global with the funds to expand its wholesale and colocation services, and help it develop more datacentre space in the chilly north.

According to Tech.EU, Verne Global's Series D financing is the first major round for a European tech company this year.

Others backing the company in today's round include Verne Global's existing investors the Wellcome Trust, Novator Partners, and General Catalyst.

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Verne Global is one of a handful of datacentre providers that have trekked north in the hope of taking data and computing workloads from the south with them. One element that makes Iceland potentially attractive to firms with tons of data to store is that energy is dirt cheap in the country but as clean as whistle, sourced almost entirely from geothermal power.

So far Verne Global has secured clients like BMW Group, which moved some of its dedicated high-performance computing (HPC) applications to its Icelandic facility back in 2012, the year it opened. The car company now runs aerodynamic calculations, computer-aided design and engineering, and crash simulations at Verne Global's 44-acre datacentre campus in Keflavik, Iceland.

Verne Global's other clients include RMS, CCP Games, Datapipe, COLT, RVX Studios, and Iceland cloud company GreenQloud.

"The unprecedented amount of new data created and processed by companies each day is forcing the industry to re-evaluate where that data resides," said Jeff Monroe, Verne Global's CEO.

"The team at Verne Global has successfully executed a compelling business plan that we believe will only increase in relevance as companies worldwide look to address the ongoing data center power demands," said Arnar Ragnarsson of Stefnir.

Verne Global opened as Google launched its first Scandinavian datacentre in Hamina, Finland. Since then, Facebook has also opened its massive facility in the northern Swedish town of Luleå, where a new 1,000km fibre link connecting it to the south of Sweden is being rolled out.

Finland also has ambitions of becoming a 'safe harbour' for data, aiming to turn its tough data protection laws into a competitive advantage. The country recently started the rollout of its undersea cable to Germany.

While lower energy costs, cleaner power, and free cooling make northern Europe an attractive location for datacentres, the facilities' distance from large population centres remains a barrier. According to Amazon Web Service's distinguished engineer James Hamilton, the "cruel realities of the speed of light" - that is, latency - is one reason AWS won't be heading north any time soon.

Still, certain latency-insensitive but heavy workloads, like Bitcoin mining, processing seismic data, or video rendering could easily be shifted to northern European facilities.

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