By Dave Zilberman, Managing Director at Comcast Ventures
Investors always have that special story featuring the “Hail Mary” or the pivot to breakout success. For me, the acquisition of EdgeConneX by EQT AB is the success story that I like to tell most — because it almost never was.
About ten years ago during an EdgeConneX board meeting in a small Reston, VA office, a pit developed in my stomach. EdgeConneX launched in 2009 and was only my second investment as a Managing Director at Comcast Ventures. (We were the largest investor in the Company’s Series A.) After a year in, the founders and I realized its mission to build co-location facilities at cell sites wasn’t quite panning out. In that somber board meeting, CEO and Co-Founder Randy Brouckman said, “I have an idea. Let’s sign a site development services contract with Sprint that’ll generate cash and get the drumbeat going for EdgeConneX.” I, along with my fellow astute board members were very skeptical — services contracts are fine, but they don’t generate the type of value creation that venture capitalists seek after all. Randy and his COO and Co-Founder Edmund Wilson were passionate about the endeavor so the board begrudgingly acquiesced.
From there, Randy and Edmund used that cash and moved into building edge data center solutions. It was a business-saving “pivot” that proved to me that investing in entrepreneurs with an initial idea is not enough. Founders have to be visionaries. EdgeConneX grew to become one of the world’s largest providers of regionally distributed edge data centers.
EdgeConneX now has 41 data centers in over 30 markets in nine countries. Through their global platform of hyperscale and hyperlocal data centers, they host some of the world’s largest cloud, content, caching, and broadband network providers.
Although this transaction concludes the journey for Comcast Ventures and me, it was the tremendous effort by all involved that provides EdgeConneX the opportunity to partner with EQT for their next phase of expansion. Congratulations to the EdgeConneX team.
“Comcast Ventures has been with us EVERY step of the way on this winding, fun and successful journey. They were supportive as we made the necessary adjustments and course corrections. It is easy to be supportive when things are going well, but they stood with us through both thick and thin — A real partner and coach! I’m both grateful for all their support over the years and I’m happy to see a very successful and deserved outcome with our acquisition by EQT.” – Randy Brouckman, EdgeConneX CEO and Co-Founder
Investing in Visionaries: EdgeConneX acquired by EQT was originally published in The Forecast on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.