Global private equity firm I Squared Capital has acquired Singapore-based specialists InfoFabrica and Cloud Kinetics, combining expertise to create a managed service provider (MSP) serving Southeast Asia and India markets.
The multimillion-dollar transaction - delivered via ISQ Global Infrastructure Fund II - aims to capitalise on increased customer demand for cloud migration and managed services across the region, underpinned by hyperscaler capabilities in Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft and Google Cloud.
Channel Asia can reveal that the investments will also form part of a new Asian Digital Infrastructure platform, designed to enable I Squared Capital’s digital infrastructure companies to offer "comprehensive cloud-based solutions". Specifically, the platform will house a growing pool of more 300 professionals with deep expertise and certifications in cloud infrastructure, data and analytics, application modernisation and cloud management.
The platform is co-founded by Haji Munshi who will lead the combined business as group CEO of InfoFabrica and Cloud Kinetics, joining the new-look company following executive roles at Google Cloud, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Cisco and Dell Technologies. This is in addition to support from Tameem Ebrahim, ex-founding partner of Quvat Capital and former investment banker at Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank in Southeast Asia.
“The future of data and computing will be driven by the corporate adoption of hybrid cloud solutions through an orchestrated mix of on-premises infrastructure, co-location and cloud services,” said Gautam Bhandari, managing partner of I Squared Capital. “Offering seamless and efficient migration to the hybrid cloud relieves a critical bottleneck to cloud adoption, especially in the Asia Pacific region.
“The combination of InfoFabrica and Cloud Kinetics will result in a powerful cloud migration solution provider for our clients. With these acquisitions, our global investments and commitments to the digital infrastructure sector are over $2.6 billion and growing.”
Founded in 2013, InfoFabrica recently unveiled plans to prioritise the enhancement of managed services capabilities amid the development of unique intellectual property (IP) to accelerate cloud migration across Southeast Asia.
Under the leadership of Wen Chi Li as founder and director, the business is focusing on guiding customers through hybrid cloud projects via managed and consulting services.
With customers spanning ASEAN and Asia Pacific, the provider has established offices in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, alongside the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia. From a vendor perspective, InfoFabrica aligns with AWS, Google Cloud and VMware, in addition to Microsoft, IBM, Nutanix and Equinix among others.
“We are really pleased to be partnering with I Squared Capital, their expertise and breadth in Asia, along with existing large-scale investments in telecoms and data centres, will certainly accelerate and move us closer to our vision to be the top cloud migration and MSP in the region,” added Abu Bakar Mohd Nor, chairman of InfoFabrica.
“The complementary capabilities of InfoFabrica and Cloud Kinetics is key and part of our strategy to be an end-to-end cloud specialist and also simplify our clients’ cloud migration journey.”
Meanwhile, Cloud Kinetics - founded by Karthik S. as CTO in 2012 - has operations in Singapore, Thailand, India and the US, operating as a certified cloud partner of Microsoft Azure, AWS and Google Cloud.
“The debate on the need for cloud has ended after the experience of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Munshi said. “Whether businesses are developing and testing their new applications, scaling their online e-commerce offerings, or running their core business workloads, this is possible only because of the stable, scalable solutions offered by the public cloud.
"The demand for technical capability to migrate to cloud has far outstripped supply in Asia Pacific thus far and the combined company will be a market leader in cloud migration services.”
Headquartered in Miami, Florida, I Squared Capital goes to market as an independent global infrastructure investment manager focusing on energy, utilities, telecom and transport in North America, Europe and select high growth economies - the firm has offices in Miami, New York, Houston, London, New Delhi, Hong Kong and Singapore.
The mega merger comes as cloud services look set to remain “resilient” across Southeast Asia during the remainder of 2020, providing “robust growth” opportunities as both customers and partners reposition for growth.
That’s according to IDC findings, with infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) investment expected to increase by 26 per cent during the next six months, triggered by increased demand for business continuity and collaboration technologies. During the same period in ASEAN, platform-as-a-service (PaaS) deployments are expected to increase by 38.5 per cent, alongside projected growth of 22.8 per cent within the software-as-a-service (SaaS) space.
“It is clear that organisations have benefited from cloud technology during this crisis,” observed Duncan Tan, senior research manager of Malaysia at IDC. “As ICT spending overall is seeing a decline, we are expecting to see more organisations shift budgets towards cloud based applications and technologies in the near future.”
In assessing the regional market, Tan indicated “strong sentiment” towards increasing investments in cloud services during the short- to medium-term, offering growth potential for forward-thinking partners as a result.
“As organisations in ASEAN are looking to rebound from the pandemic, there are changes that many businesses are looking to adapt to moving forward,” Tan explained. “Remote working and distributed workforce will be prominent owing to the prolonged effect of the pandemic, as well as organisations building business continuity and resiliency on cloud technologies.”
In response, Tan said such a shift in market dynamics “sets precedence” for sustained growth of cloud services across ASEAN in 2020.
“Cloud alleviated woes for many organisations during the lockdown where IT had to scramble in short period of time to support remote working by providing the scalability and elasticity required,” he added. “This included ensuring applications and data was accessible remotely and proper tools for communications, which included video conferencing were working in a secured environment.”
As ASEAN countries emerge from respective “lockdown” periods, Tan said organisations are also “re-looking” cloud strategies from a mid- to long-term perspective, in addition to focusing on how IT budgets will be allocated.
“The acceleration around the adoption of digital transformation initiatives in the region is expected to be heavily driven by cloud; automation, business resiliency, continuity, communication and collaboration tools, as well as data analytics will see an uptrend owing towards businesses having to respond in a quicker manner in the future,” Tan said.