Six Degrees Group: New industry Force Emerges with £60m Funding to Build Leading Managed Data Services Group

A new Group has been formed through the merger of three leading converged service providers to create a new force in the UK managed data services sector.

Following a significant fundraise and the acquisition of datacentre UKSolutions, MPLS provider NetworkFlow and voice services company Protel, the new Group has 60 staff across four offices and 900 customers.

The Group is led by ex-SpiriTel chief executive Alastair Mills and is backed by Penta Capital who previously provided funding to SpiriTel and has now fronted the fundraising exercise to raise £60million for the new Group, representing one of the largest single investments in the sector in recent times. Mills has retained his core team from SpiriTel, including CFO Ronnie Smith, commercial director Jonny Shanmuganathan and company secretary Andrew Booth. This management team will be joined by the directors of the acquired companies and another significant senior hire is expected to be confirmed within the next week.

UKSolutions was founded in 1996 by managing director Daniel Lowe who started the business as a 17 year old student. Dan is well-known in the datacentre space, having campaigned vociferously about the impact of the UK Carbon Reduction Commitment on IT outsourcing and the Cloud. UKSolutions has thrived, despite being in a highly competitive market, by focusing on mid-market customers who require bespoke solutions and have high information security and service quality requirements.

NetworkFlow was founded in 2000 by Graeme Duncan as a provider of enterprise-grade Internet connectivity products. In 2002, it was granted RIPE authorisation and begun the build-out of its network which was expanded in 2006 to include an MPLS core. The company now has interconnects with over 20 major network operators, including LLU agreements, allowing it to offer a blend of fibre and copper access circuits.

Protel was founded in 2001 by managing director David Hamilton as a managed voice services provider. Its services include global inbound and outbound voice delivery, voice business continuity solutions, fixed mobile convergence offerings and SIP trunk migration services, all managed via its bespoke customer portal.

The three initial acquisitions provide a formidable growth platform for the new Group which will expand by implementing a clear strategy of providing three key managed data services elements: core, connectivity and overlay services. UKSolutions provides core enablement: through its 15,000 square feet of datacentres spread over two sites it delivers solutions that include the provision of dedicated managed hosting environments, hybrid cloud infrastructures and full private cloud architectures. NetworkFlow provides access and WAN connectivity: through its own next generation network it provides high-bandwidth connectivity solutions for enterprises. Protel provides overlay converged services that leverage the underlying core infrastructure and access technologies. To complete its converged communications portfolio, the Group expects to acquire mobile voice and data capabilities in the near future.

See Six Degrees Group for more details