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Apto Meet the Team Series #4

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  • Apto Meet the Team Series #4

Meet David West, Chief Finance Officer at Apto: From integration to innovation, the foundations of Apto’s growth story

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

Executing on the Apto promise – ‘Hyperscale data centres. Designed for you. Built to scale.’ – demands financial prowess and commercial acumen, as well as hands-on experience navigating the complexities of scaling a leading data centre business.

Here we introduce you to David West – the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Apto. In this Q&A, we meet the mastermind steering Apto’s financial strategies and corporate set-up.

David most recently led EMEA finance across 16 markets at Digital Realty. He played a leading role in integrating the Digital Realty and Interxion businesses, delivering strong double-digit growth across the region and driving the energy strategy. Before this David worked in a variety of finance roles at Bunzl plc and Deloitte. He enjoys simplifying the complex and champions hassle-free business interactions for customers, suppliers, employees and investors.

Thinking big

1. What have been the most pivotal moments of your career and what prompted you to begin this journey with Apto?

David: A standout moment for me was leading the EMEA finance team following Digital Realty’s acquisition of Interxion, which was a pivotal transaction in the industry. Navigating the integration that followed, during the pandemic, was a huge leadership challenge to combine different cultures and processes as the business continued its significant growth.

During my time at Digital Realty, my role transformed from what was a UK-focused operation into leading a thriving EMEA business, whilst the business increased around 6-7 fold. My experience scaling the business fits right into what I’m doing now at Apto.

Joining and being part of Apto has felt perfect in so many ways. Our strategy of aiming for maturity from the start resonated with me, and I saw a chance to build something significant with a team that knows the intricacies of running a business in this space. It wasn’t just a career move; it was perfect timing both personally and professionally. I’m excited to be part of this journey and contribute to our growth.

Foundations for growth

2. In your role as Chief Financial Officer, what is your purpose at Apto, what does your role involve?

David: In my capacity as CFO, my purpose is to secure the right capital, develop a sound finance strategy and create a scalable structure to springboard Apto’s growth. I oversee all financial aspects, ensuring a balanced and sustainable approach to managing expenditures across the business, from construction to hiring.

Beyond that, my responsibilities extend to creating efficient and scalable back-office systems, procedures and processes. It’s not just about financial management; it’s about building a foundation for seamless scaling and an optimal experience for everyone involved.

Start-up agility, skyscraper foundations

3. The hyperscale data centre industry is going to triple in the next three years. As a start-up, what advantages do you have to grab market share as this competitive industry matures?

David: We are blending the best of both worlds – the nimbleness of a startup with the solid structure of a mature business. Think of it like this: we’re quick decision-makers, always ready to adapt to the changing market and respond quickly to what our customers need. No bureaucratic hoops to jump through, it’s about getting things done.

But it doesn’t stop there – it’s not just about being fast on our feet. We’re also laying down the groundwork with enterprise-grade back-office systems right from the get-go. We’re gearing up for rapid growth with scalable and streamlined operations. Robust policies, procedures and standards are essential for customer and investor confidence. Picture it as building a strong foundation for a skyscraper – sturdy, reliable and ready for whatever comes our way.

The strategic advantage

4. Considering your focus on industry heavyweights with substantial demands, what factors in the financial landscape contribute to this being the right time to launch?

David: The hyperscale data centre industry is gearing up for a triple jump in the next three years. It’s a massive opportunity and our business strategy is perfectly synchronised with this growth wave.

What makes this the right time for Apto? Our partnership with PIMCO. It means we can benefit from access to capital, resources and the land-sourcing capabilities of one of the largest European real estate platforms. Additionally, our leadership team’s experience opens doors to new and non-traditional data centre markets. This enables us to accelerate market entry with projects of significant scale.

Our vast sector experience and investor backing combined position us to swiftly adapt to customer needs and leverage vast connections and delivery capability, while maintaining the highest levels of integrity.

High expectations

5. In what way does Apto demonstrate sound financial principles that resonate with the core needs and expectations of your customer base?

David: Apto is all about sustainable growth, not just for today but for the long haul. This commitment sets the stage for a partnership that’s built on trust and longevity.

We get that our customers – and our investors – have high expectations, and we meet them head-on. It’s not just about securing capital, it’s about showcasing financial robustness and we address this with enterprise-grade financial frameworks. They’re the backbone of transparency, accountability and risk mitigation.

And then there’s the team – decades of experience in scaling businesses and navigating complex financial situations. When our customers see that, they’re reassured that they are choosing a partner who understands their needs and has the financial muscle to deliver on promises.

Striking the balance

6. With hyperscalers wanting to rapidly extend their footprint across multiple markets in the shortest possible time frame, how do you ensure that you scale sustainably?

David: Prioritisation is key. We focus on understanding market demands, aligning our resources with growth opportunities and working with local partners to access expertise and expedite market entry. Our partnerships with PIMCO and our supply chain play a crucial role in empowering us to swiftly make and act upon informed decisions.

We’re also in a fortunate position to be able to bring flexibility to our commercial engagements. Our team excels in problem-solving and adapting to customer requirements. With advanced design capabilities for precise pricing and project timelines, we can tailor contracts by prioritising what truly matters to each stakeholder for each project.

Not only does this ensure we meet the demands of hyperscalers while maintaining an optimal cost base, but it also fosters positive and enduring relationships. With transparent negotiations and fair terms, we build trust and goodwill – a cornerstone of our business ethos.

Solving with purpose

7. What excites you most about your work at Apto?

David: I love the absence of politics and agendas – we share a common goal of building the best company for both our employees and customers.

In our brief time together, we’ve encountered diverse scenarios and challenges. With c.100 years of combined experience on the team and our collaborative approach, we draw upon this wealth of knowledge to solve and deliver for our customers as a team.

This shared responsibility for decisions and commitment to a collaborative, transparent environment make every day at Apto exciting, and filled with opportunities for growth and success.

With a strategic blend of agility, financial strength and a commitment to sustainable growth, Apto is well-positioned to capitalise on the booming digital infrastructure industry. As David and his team navigate the challenges and opportunities ahead, they’re excited about having a role in shaping the future data centre landscape.

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