Six Degrees launches into UK market

Six Degrees home page

British entrepreneur Alastair Mills has launched Six Degrees Group, raising 60 million funding to support a new set of enterprise cloud services aimed at UK mid-market organisations.

Mills secured backing for the private venture from Penta Capital, the same private equity firm that invested two years ago in his previous enterprise SpiriTel. This was sold to Daisy Group for 37 million in November 2010, realising a near 200-per cent return on investment.

The privately owned managed data services provider has a converged services portfolio including datacentre, connectivity, voice and cloud offerings. It also celebrated its launch with the opening of a new datacentre.

"Public cloud services like iCloud and Amazon Web Services have captured the imagination of consumers but these are not enterprise-grade products," said Six Degrees Group chief executive Mills.

"Our private cloud is built for business and we see the benefits as being transformational that's why we've seen nearly 800 percent growth in 12 months in our cloud solutions, and why we've made a big investment in more data centre space to help us grow."

The group was formed from 30 million-worth of acquisitions completed earlier this year, which included datacentre owner UKSolutions, networking provider NetworkFlow and voice services company Protel with combined base of around 900 customers.

At its launch, Six Degrees Group stated that already employs almost 100 staff, serves over 1,200 business customers and is targeting companies that employ between 50 and 1,000 people. It already supplies to large corporates such as investment banks, corporate lawyers, and brands like ICAP, Linklaters and GAB Robins.

One of the company's launch services is a cloud-based voice business continuity and disaster recovery offering called Livenumber, which it said had seen significant uptake from legal and financial services companies in particular. Its also offers applications for compliance, information security, change management, business continuity, disaster recovery and business optimisation.

The group has also invested in expanding its core network and datacentre assets to improve its reach and capabilities as well as developing in-house expertise in managing web-based services, user profiles and secure workflows to underpin capabilities like "bring your own device" (BYOD).

In support it released survey results that found four out of five office workers now believe their own devices smartphones, tablets and laptops are better than the ones given to them by their employers. Nearly half the workforce also wanted to use their own device to access company information when not at desk or outside office hours.

At the same time, it found four out of ten companies do not permit BYOD, now or in the future. Of those, seven out of ten decision makers would not adopt BYOD even if it guaranteed them improved productivity, increased profits and decreased costs.

Mills said the research demonstrated that UK Plc is behind the times. "They're telling us that managing what people do and restricting how they do it is more important than output," he added. "We are disabling and controlling when we need to be enabling and empowering."

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.