Just months after evroc pledged to raise €3bn within two years, the Swedish startup has revealed that it will build its flagship hyperscale cloud centre next to Stockholm’s international airport.
The startup, which intends to create a green rival to Amazon Web Services (AWS), wants to provide the largest AI infrastructure in Europe to help clients that cannot use other US-based services because of security concerns.
“We wanted to build a sovereign and sustainable cloud for Europe. Now we believe that we can build a better cloud [than AWS and Google]”, says evroc’s founder Mattias Åström.
As a first step for its €3bn investment goal, evroc is now raising €600m in a combination of venture capital, debt and grants for its flagship data centre.
The 3,500sq m flagship centre
Given its Swedish roots, the location of its first cloud centre will not come as a big surprise, but it is also the availability of green energy in Sweden that is behind the decision, Åström says.
“It's all about finding access to land, electricity and having close proximity to our development hub in central Stockholm — this is a very good location,” he says.
The 3,500 square metre data centre will be built next to the motorway, near Arlanda airport, and will be constructed with stone instead of cement.
“We want to show how you can build sustainably and become a champion for what the next generation of data centres should look like,” Åström says.
The data centre will be home to 16k graphics processing units (GPUs), more than can be found at any other single location in Europe.
The GPUs will be used to create the infrastructure for large AI projects for companies and government agencies that either have no AI development infrastructure of their own, or cannot use those based in the US, including European military agencies.
“Some agencies have their own data centres and that can continue even if it is not environmentally friendly and not very efficient — but when it comes to AI, it becomes too expensive. So by sharing this AI infrastructure, we will enable a great many companies, authorities and others to train their models,” he says.
Competing with the US
Åström has previously stated that the company doesn’t want to compete head-to-head with Google or AWS but wants to offer services to those unable to use US-based cloud providers.
But he believes that since evroc is building its data centres 15 years after the US giants, he has an advantage.
“When AWS built its data centres 15 years ago, the thought of AI hardly existed,” he says.
“By watching what others have done, you can question a lot of that and skip the steps that the others had to go through.”
Raising €600m in funding
Evroc raised €13m led by Swedish private equity company EQT in a pre-seed round in June.
The building of the data centre itself will only cost about one-tenth of the €600m evroc now wants to raise — the rest will be spent on all the GPUs and computing power inside.
So who is most likely to cough up the capital?
Apart from lending from public and private actors as well as traditional venture capital, Åström also mentions the good relations evroc has with the EU.
“They view what we do very positively. Because we are both targeting sovereignty and sustainability. Then we are creating a new industry in Europe too,” he says.