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Apto Meet the Team Series #2

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  • Apto Meet the Team Series #2

Meet Mark Dolan, Chief Strategy and Acquisitions Officer at Apto: Charting the journey for Apto’s strategic hyperscale expansion

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

With 20 years as a senior real estate executive in APAC and EMEA, Mark specialised in the data centre industry with pivotal roles at Google and Digital Realty Trust. At Google, he led global infrastructure initiatives for APAC East, developing robust real estate and utility portfolios essential for launching Google products across key markets. Prior, he held a similar role at Digital Realty Trust across UK, France and the Netherlands, and later facilitated market entry, operations build-out and growth in Australia and Japan.

Mark now spearheads strategy at Apto, executing on site selection, acquisition and development to expedite the delivery of custom-built hyperscale data centres in selected high growth and emerging European markets.

Welcome to Apto

Welcome to the leadership team. What motivated you to jump from a large organisation like Google to join a startup like Apto?

Mark: Having a direct influence in shaping a new business and driving customer impact is hugely attractive for me. In larger corporations, individual efforts can sometimes feel distant from outcomes. Joining a startup offers hands-on opportunities to effect real change, building something from scratch and actively contributing to growth.

Why Apto? I’m inspired by the business’s vision and values which emphasize customer centric problem solving and delivering on our word. Coupled with the extensive experience and expertise of the leadership team and our financial backing, we have the means to deliver on our promise to fast-track entry into locations that will drive future demand. I’m fully bought into this.

Bridging the gap

How does your experience within the data centre sector to date position you for your new role at Apto?

Mark: Throughout my 14 years at Google and Digital Realty Trust, I’ve had the privilege of seeing the data centre world from both ends of the spectrum. At Google, I was fully immersed in understanding what end users really needed, the decision making processes and the complexities they encounter. While at Digital Realty Trust, I gained firsthand experience from the operator’s perspective.

This diverse experience, couple with my front-row seat at the industry’s most significant growth stage thus far, has given me a unique vantage point in the hyperscale data centre market. It positions me perfectly to lead Apto’s European expansion plans and facilitate strategies that are customer-centric and operationally sound.

Strategic market targeting

Where is demand for capacity coming from and how does this align with your strategy for Apto?

Mark: My main focus revolves around pinpointing key markets that not only hold promise for future growth but also meet the precise needs of our customers. It’s not just about growth for growth’s sake.

The data centre industry is currently at an inflection point where traditional market drivers intersect with new technological shifts. In the past, location decisions were primarily driven by supply and demand dynamics – a land grab to build as much capacity as possible in certain metros. But not all capacity is equal.

If you consider cloud-related requirements, factors like data sovereignty, latency minimisation and compatibility with specific cloud architectures are a priority. AI/ML applications might not be as location sensitive, changing the way we view the criteria. Furthermore, each customer brings unique requirements, contributing to the complexity of our strategies.

At Apto, I’m crafting bespoke solutions that transcend the conventional approach. It’s not just about providing data centre capacity. It’s about delivering on our customers’ business case while ensuring we carve out a profitable market share so that we can effectively scale once we establish ourselves in each market.

The Apto advantage

What advantages do customers gain by partnering with Apto rather than opting for self-building their data centres?

Mark: When considering between self-building or partnering with Apto, the decision varies by customer.

Honestly, if a customer already has experience and resources to build in a market, convincing them might be challenging. However, reality shows that the pace and scale of the industry often surpass what they can handle alone. We’re ahead of the curve on what’s driving data centre needs which could mean we already have a head start in meeting future demand. We could also offer greater opportunities for scalability and market expansion.

For customers eyeing faster launches – say, 12 to 24 months earlier in some cases – teaming up with Apto becomes a compelling option.

Building data centres demands significant time and resources – Apto offers a shortcut, reducing risk and removing complexity. Our edge lies in exclusive land access, local expertise and a strong network that enables us to cut through regulatory, logistical and infrastructure hurdles to save time, money and hassle. Ultimately, we accelerate time-to-market in a way that self-build can’t always match.

The PIMCO partnership

Apto has been formed to develop and operate the European data centre assets of global investment manager, PIMCO. How does this differentiate Apto’s proposition?

Having been involved in site selection with Google, I recognise the challenge of accessing quality development land. PIMCO’s premier real estate expertise and access to significant capital is very compelling. Apto benefits from access to scale, resources and land sourcing capabilities of one of the largest European real estate platforms. Apto also has a broad, intimate understanding of acquisition processes and local market dynamics – giving us a head start in seeking development land and faster access to critical resources.

Crystal ball look ahead

Fast forward a decade from now, what do you envisage for the data centre industry?

Mark: I anticipate continued and accelerated growth. However, we need to improve the industry’s perception by communicating the foundational and significant role that data centres play providing critical services. This often goes unrecognised, leading to unwarranted criticism.

Addressing perceptions through more sophisticated and organised positive messaging and education is crucial – highlighting the economic, community and societal impact. While there have been improvements, continued evolution and better organisation is imperative for sustained progress.

I’m encouraged that the team at Apto are committed to sustainability, community engagement and developing our people in new markets – these are key elements of our strategy as we grow.

Tenacity and customer centric innovation

Finally, what attribute do you believe will be crucial for your success in this role at such an exciting and fast-moving organisation like Apto?

Mark: I believe tenacity is essential for success in this role. With experience on both sides of the table and understanding precisely what our customers need, I’m resolute about executing and delivering on these needs. Being agile in decision-making and staying focused on customer needs are also keys to success in this dynamic environment.


With Mark’s his visionary approach and unwavering dedication to delivering solutions and experiences that customers value, Apto is poised to make an impact on the evolving hyperscale data centre landscape.

Stay tuned for more insights from the visionary minds shaping Apto’s future in the data centre landscape.

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