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Apto Meet the Team Series #1

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  • Apto Meet the Team Series #1

In conversation with Russell Poole, CEO of Apto: Leading the next wave of Europe’s digital economy

This is the first in a series of articles introducing you to the Apto Leadership Team.

With over two decades in the data centre industry, Russell Poole’s journey is nothing short of remarkable. Now the CEO of Apto, his experience, industry insights and relentless focus on customer-centric values are poised to help lead the next era of data centre growth.

Russell’s journey began in 2000 when he became the UK Managing Director at IXEurope, overseeing its transformation from a startup to a major industry player, marked by a pivotal acquisition by Equinix in 2007. During his tenure, he spearheaded the development of over 20 new data centres, managed a footprint exceeding 250MW across the UK and Nordic regions, and played a pivotal role in Equinix’s expansion into Africa.

In this article, we delve into the inspiration and mindset that underpin Apto’s vision, culture and value proposition.

The inspiration behind Apto

In the competitive data centre industry, what inspired you to launch Apto and what sets the organisation apart?

Russell: Launching Apto was driven by a combination of factors, but above all, it was the opportunity to build a company where we could truly focus on our customers. We all want to be a part of something different, to create an organisation that was not just responsive but anticipatory of customer needs, and always puts those needs first.

A business that is more approachable, with excellent funding, access to real estate, a strong leadership team and a relentless focus on our customers. We feel this is our chance to build a data centre company that stands out in the industry.

Your journey in the data centre industry

How do you believe your extensive experience has uniquely positioned you to launch Apto and address the evolving needs of the market?

Russell: With 23 years in the data centre industry I’ve had the privilege of building, scaling and operating numerous data centres. I’ve learned more than a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t. But it’s not just about the buildings and the infrastructure; it’s about the people and the culture. I’ve discovered that building strong teams and fostering a customer-centric mindset are keys to success.

So, when it comes to Apto, it’s not just a business venture or just another data centre company. It’s a culmination of everything I – along with the rest of the Leadership Team – have learnt. We’re about aligning seamlessly with the ever-changing demands of the industry, rooted in a profound understanding of what works and what doesn’t.

Industry challenges and customer needs

The data centre industry is currently facing various challenges. Can you shed light on how these factors are reshaping the industry and what the implications are for customers?

Russell: The data centre industry is at a crossroads. There is tremendous demand driven by the continued use of the cloud and the rise of AI, along with our increasing daily interactions with the Internet. These factors necessitate significant capacity expansion and the market is struggling to meet this demand.

Now, I’m not saying we are going to solve this problem single-handedly, I expect demand to outpace supply for the foreseeable future. But if we acknowledge that tier-one markets have become saturated, tier-two and tier-three markets represent an opportunity to scale capacity quickly. These are the locations that provide a strategic advantage for our customers.

The industry is also adapting to new regulatory obligations, such as Article 8 Taxonomy Regulations, which impose changes that will have implications for both Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) and reporting requirements for data centres [more on this when we introduce our Chief Development Officer, Roger Gough].

Apto’s unique position and mission

Given these market conditions, tell us more about how Apto will help customers lead the next wave of the digital economy in these new high-growth and emerging markets across Europe? What distinguishes Apto’s value proposition?

Russell: Apto has been launched specifically to meet the evolving needs of cloud service providers with ambitious expansion strategies. One of the key factors that sets us apart is our ability to bring speed to market – one of the most critical customer requirements.

Our robust financial backing and wide-ranging real estate reach allows us to identify and develop suitable sites in record time. When a customer expresses interest in specific locations, we can usually present them with a range of options in a matter of days. Through our network of local partners, we can also expedite processes related to permits and power, enabling us to bring data centre solutions to market swiftly.

This focus on speed and flexibility has been integral from the outset, and we are already witnessing positive feedback from our customers. We understand that success in the data centre industry means not only understanding customers’ needs, but also executing quickly and effectively.

The Apto difference

You talk about the quality of the team and your different approach, can you elaborate?

Russell: Building a truly world-class team is central to our mission at Apto. I honestly couldn’t be more thrilled. These aren’t just experts, they’ve been trailblazers in the digital landscape and have all played a part in setting the gold standard across the industry.

We are shaping a workplace where our team thrives and where it feels great to be. Crafting our unique culture is a special privilege, and we firmly believe that an authentic culture, reflecting who we genuinely are rather than aspirational ideals, is the path to success. Our team has rallied around shared behaviours and values, laying the foundation to our culture.

We have captured our core values as: astute, progressive, trustworthy and obsessed. We bring clarity to the complex (astute), connect curiosity with courage (progressive), work our words into action (trustworthy) and customise to ensure customer success (obsessed). Coming together as Apto.

These values aren’t just words; they guide everything we do, from our interactions within the team to how we welcome new members. Culture, in my view, manifests in everyday actions. It’s in the way we support each other both within Apto and beyond.

Shaping the future with Apto

Looking ahead, what excites you about the future with Apto? How is Apto positioned to take on the challenge of delivering the capacity needed to drive the next wave of growth in Europe?

Russell: We’re excited about the journey ahead. Our ability to deliver the capacity that fuels the next wave of technology innovation in Europe is a challenge we embrace. The chance to build a company with a very straightforward approach to the market and with world-class execution, but also a joy to be part of, is a rare and exhilarating opportunity. The most successful companies are the ones where everybody’s having the most fun.

We believe that Apto is well positioned to help our customers advance their cloud expansion strategies and fast-track their entry into locations that will drive future demand.

Thank you, Russell.

We trust you’ve enjoyed delving into the Leadership Team at Apto. Stay tuned for the next instalment in the series.

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