Cloud computing group Internet Corp raises €8.4m as it rebrands as Ekco

Dublin company has just completed its ninth acquisition since it was founded in 2017

Internet Corp, a Dublin-headquartered cloud services group that will rebrand as Ekco next week, will seek to raise €25 million in fresh capital this year, on top of €8.4 million in funding it secured in the days before Christmas.

The SME-focused computing group, which is backed by high-profile Irish investors, has just completed its ninth acquisition since it was founded in 2017, snapping up UK cloud computing business, Cloudhelix, last month.

The December funding round was led by ACT Venture Capital, which has backed the company since its inception. Other existing investors tapped for cash include former AIB chairman Lochlann Quinn; Sencheer, the investment vehicle of the family of the late Superquinn founder Feargal Quinn; and Pageant Holdings, the investment vehicle of businessman Nick Furlong.

It brought the total equity raised by Ekco to date to €16.4 million, on top of €20 million in debt funding from Ulster Bank. It is understood that the company is in talks with other banks about securing more debt facilities.

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The company, which sells cloud back-up services to businesses, was founded by tech entrepreneurs, chief executive Eoin Blacklock, and his business partner, chief operating officer Jonathan Crowe. They previously founded cloud back-up operator KeepitSafe, which was sold to US group J2 Global in 2010.

Malahide-based Ekco, which now employs close to 100 people, is expected to use its fresh funding to continue its strategy of mopping up smaller cloud operators.

Four businesses

Since it was founded, it has acquired four businesses in the Netherlands, where it generates 60 per cent of revenues; four in the UK, the source of 30 per cent of sales; and a single Irish buyout, Datastring. The wider group generates 10 per cent of sales in Ireland, with the balance in the US.

Recently-filed company documents also suggest Ecko is preparing to take 100 per cent control of Datastring, in which it originally took a majority stake in 2018.

Mr Blacklock and Mr Crowe, both Trinity College graduates and both in their thirties, were heavily involved in identifying acquisitions for J2, for which they continued to work after it bought KeepitSafe.

“Our business is expanding rapidly as the demand for specialist SME cloud service providers continues to grow,” said Mr Blacklock.

“There is a huge opportunity for a consolidated European vendor. Having previously built a $120 million revenue business in the US via consolidation we’re confident of becoming the leading player in Europe.”

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is Business Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Caveat column