AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Vapor IO, developers of the first fully-integrated hardware and software solutions for edge computing, today announced a Series C funding round led by private equity firm Berkshire Partners, with participation from current investor Crown Castle. The new investment will be used to officially launch the company’s groundbreaking Kinetic Edge colocation and interconnection services, while rapidly expanding its footprint of edge data centers.
The Kinetic Edge platform offers a new category of colocation built around infrastructure-side edge computing at the intersection of the wireless and wireline networks. By deploying micro data centers at the base of cell towers and in nearby wireless aggregation hubs, Vapor IO expects to be the largest provider of edge data center colocation services integrated directly into the wireless infrastructure.
“As the concept of edge computing has gone from niche technology to mainstream trend, we have methodically laid the foundation for infrastructure-side edge computing,” said Cole Crawford, founder and CEO of Vapor IO. “Vapor IO is building the largest footprint of interconnected edge data centers and we are rolling out at an accelerated pace. We’re thrilled to welcome Berkshire Partners as a lead investor and to have the continued support of Crown Castle. This will help establish Vapor IO’s leadership in the market and offer unprecedented value and performance to our customers.”
The Kinetic Edge
Vapor IO’s Kinetic Edge enables carriers, cloud providers, CDNs, web scale companies and other innovative enterprises to place IT equipment (compute, storage, and networking) in Kinetic Edge locations—one hop from the existing 4G LTE and emerging 5G wireless networks.
“Vapor IO is a leader in edge computing,” said Beth Hoffman, a managing director at Berkshire Partners. “With premier technology, increasing mobile edge demand and a large market opportunity, Vapor IO is poised for impressive growth. We look forward to partnering with the company’s exceptional management team to deliver scalable mobile edge infrastructure and to having the opportunity to work alongside Crown Castle again.”
Vapor IO’s Kinetic Edge architecture will create city-sized logical data centers using high-speed fiber and both open and proprietary software. By combining multiple micro data centers, the Kinetic Edge can offer infrastructure that positions compute and storage extremely close to users while also spanning a geographic region. With Kinetic Edge, Vapor IO is first-to-market with a comprehensive package of edge colocation, interconnection and networking services.
Vapor IO will leverage its partnership with Crown Castle, as well as utilize its award-winning technologies—the Vapor Chamber, Vapor Edge Module and the Synse open source telemetry system—to build and operate the nation’s largest network of edge data centers.
Colocation on the Kinetic Edge
Vapor IO’s primary offering will be providing Kinetic Edge product bundles that include:
- Colocation: With rollout plans that include all major US cities, Vapor IO will offer customers edge computing colocation services that extends to all major metropolitan regions. Multiple sites in any one Kinetic Edge city can be treated as a single, logical data center than spans the entire metropolitan region.
- Interconnection: Edge meet-me rooms and interconnection services provide high-speed access to last-mile networks, regional data centers, metropolitan aggregation points and peering centers, as well as public cloud and private data centers.
- Software-Defined Networking: Using the web-based Vapor Edge Portal or secure APIs, Vapor IO customers can configure virtual private networks to create their own unique edge computing topology including Kinetic Edge data centers as well as private and colocation facilities—making it possible to treat all of a customer’s IT equipment in a region as if it were all in the same building.
- Highly-Secure Lights Out Multi-Tenant Facilities: The Kinetic Edge utilizes Vapor IO’s patent-protected enclosure systems, which include the Vapor Chamber and the Vapor Edge Module. Vapor IO’s Kinetic Edge is designed with multiple layers of physical and logical isolation to provide customers with a highly secure environment for their equipment.
- Remote Operation and APIs: Vapor IO’s data centers at the Kinetic Edge are designed for remote operation via the web-based Vapor Edge Portal as well as via APIs provided by Vapor IO, including those offered by the Synse open source telemetry system running in each location.
Vapor IO has deployed multiple Kinetic Edge data centers in Chicago, IL with plans to have 13 sites underway by the end of 2018, nearly 50 by the end of 2019 and over 100 by the end of 2020, providing coast-to-coast coverage. Specific cities and more detailed rollout plans will be announced later this year.
Continued Partnership with Crown Castle
Vapor IO has expanded its partnership with Crown Castle, the nation’s largest provider of communications infrastructure. The partner-driven edge colocation business that originally operated under the code name “Project Volutus” will now be offered commercially under the Vapor IO Kinetic Edge brand, but will continue to leverage Crown Castle’s assets, including its tower real estate and metro fiber.
“The exponential growth in mobile data and the development of new applications that require high speed data networks with low latency make this an exciting time to be in the shared communications infrastructure business,” said Phil Kelley, senior vice president of Corporate Development and Strategy for Crown Castle. “Vapor IO is a leader in edge computing and their solution provides edge colocation with the most dense compute per square foot, which optimizes the use of the valuable land under our towers. When you combine our distributed real estate and high capacity fiber connectivity with Vapor IO’s capabilities, Crown Castle is uniquely positioned to enable edge computing.”
J.P. Morgan Securities LLC was retained by Vapor IO as an adviser on the transaction.
- Kinetic Edge video
- State of the Edge 2018 Report
- Open Glossary of Edge Computing
About Vapor IO
Vapor IO is developing the largest nationwide edge colocation and interconnection platform at the edge of the wireless network. Serving the world’s largest wireless carriers, cloud providers, web-scale companies and other innovative enterprises, the company’s Kinetic Edge combines multi-tenant colocation with software-defined interconnection and high-speed networking. The Kinetic Edge delivers the most flexible, highly-distributed edge infrastructure at the edge of the wireless network. The company has deployed its Kinetic Edge in Chicago, IL and has plans to have projects underway in the top 20 markets with 100+ sites by 2020.
About Berkshire Partners
Berkshire Partners, a Boston-based investment firm, has raised nine private equity funds with more than $16 billion in aggregate capital and has made over 125 investments in primarily middle market companies since its founding in 1986. The firm is currently investing Berkshire Fund IX, a $5.5 billion fund raised in 2016. The firm seeks to invest $50 million to $500 million of capital in each portfolio company. Berkshire has developed specific industry experience in several areas including consumer products and retail, communications, business services, industrials and healthcare. Berkshire has a strong history of partnering with management teams to grow the companies in which it invests with the goal of consistently achieving superior investment returns. Previous investments in the communications sector have included Crown Castle, Telx and Lightower. For additional information, visit www.berkshirepartners.com.