LiquidStack is one of the world’s largest liquid cooling companies for hyper-scale, edge, and high-performance computing. To learn more about the company, Pulse 2.0 interviewed Joe Capes, CEO and co-founder of LiquidStack.
Joe Capes’ Background
Joe Capes started in the Information Technology industry in 1992 when he joined APC. Those were the early days of local area networks and desktop systems.
“There were computer rooms, but data centers didn’t exist as a ‘thing.’ APC grew rapidly and was a NASDAQ darling during the 90s. We entered the mission-critical cooling space in 2000 through acquisition, and I globalized APC’s mechanical business by starting things up from scratch in EMEA, APAC, and LAM,” said Capes. “I left in 2003 and did several start-ups, including an advanced battery technology company for whom I helped raise a $21M Series A round. Then I co-founded Coolcentric, the first company to commercialize Rear Door Heat Exchangers. I rejoined APC in 2010 after Schneider Electric had acquired them. For almost another decade, I helped Schneider Electric reinvent its cooling business, supporting the integration of another acquisition in the mechanical space and leading global cooling business development for the company’s top 16 strategic accounts. Finally, I joined LiquidStack in 2019 after spending nearly two decades having a great career with Schneider Electric. I felt I could do more to contribute to the industry, bringing me to LiquidStack.”
Formation Of LiquidStack
Capes informed me that LiquidStack’s history started over a decade ago when in 2012, which is a small team of engineers gathered in a Hong Kong high-rise to form Allied Control Limited (ACL). Working in a space smaller than a standard shipping container, the company created the next revolution in immersion cooling.
“After bootstrapping the company for several years, they got acquired by Bitfury Group in 2015 where ACL was an R&D group captive to Bitfury’s development of blockchain technology,” Capes added. “I joined the team in 2019. Since then, I have overseen ACL’s spin-out into its own company, re-branded as LiquidStack and which ultimately pivoted us out of the crypto industry and into data centers, edge, and high-performance computing.”
LiquidStack was founded to drive continued performance gains in computing through LiquidStack’s breakthrough technology and unmatched experience deploying liquid-cooled data centers at scale. And they have the world’s largest liquid cooling install base and are the only company that has deployed immersion cooling at hyper-scale.
As the pioneer of 2-phase immersion cooling, LiquidStack’s cooling technology, products, and services are vital in reducing carbon footprint, mitigating water consumption for heat rejection, cutting e-waste, and massively lowering environmental impact. Together with their customers and partners, we help solve real thermal and sustainability challenges driven by the adoption of cloud services, AI, edge, and high-performance computing.
Challenges Faced Building The Company
One of the biggest decisions for the company was to pivot out of crypto in 2020. They did not want LiquidStack’s future to be pegged to the price of Bitcoin.
“I accomplished our Series A raise during the COVID-19 quarantine almost single-handedly, from my living room, without a roadshow. We recently closed a Series B raise with lead investor Trane during a historic stock market crash, tech meltdown, FTX implosion, and unforeseen banking failures,” Capes noted. “As they say, ‘Nothing of worth or value is usually easy.’”
What are LiquidStack’s core products and features? The company’s core offerings include the DataTank 48U, a 2-phase immersion cooling tank for full-scale data centers; the DataTank Modular, which is for prefabricated and modular turnkey data centers with integrated 2-phase immersion cooling up to 1.5MW; MicroModular, a prefabricated and modular turnkey edge computing solution up to 250kW, and the DataTank 4U, which provides 2-phase immersion cooling for local edge and micro data center applications. LiquidStack also designs custom solutions.
“Our products reduce energy use by 41%, can eliminate water used for heat rejection, and cost 32% less, all while providing more than 28x the heat rejection capacity compared to air cooling. In addition, our technology cools servers without air conditioning, IT fans, bulky heat sinks, chillers, or air distribution systems,” Capes explained.
Evolution Of LiquidStack’s Technology
Since being formed, LiquidStack has pioneered two-phase immersion cooling and achieved numerous awards for the energy efficiency of its solutions. And as a result, 2-phase immersion cooling has rapidly gained attention and market share as an alternative to transitionary liquid cooling technologies such as direct-to-chip (cold plates) and 1-phase immersion cooling.
So LiquidStack began investing heavily in its Intellectual Property portfolio. And since 2020, the company filed 21 new patents. LiquidStack’s technological advancements include system integration, controls, and advanced fluid management. Plus the company believes standardization, interoperability, and concurrent serviceability of systems are critical.
– In 2014, LiquidStack (then known as Allied Control (ACL)) built the most efficient data center in the world using 2-phase immersion cooling. And this 500kW data center, located in the hot and humid climate of Hong Kong, saved over 95% on cooling energy consumption compared to air cooling.
– After ACL’s acquisition by Bitfury in 2015, the companies jointly deployed over 160MW of 2-phase immersion-cooled data centers, including DataTank units operating at densities of up to 252kW per 48U rack. These sites are considered among the largest liquid-cooled data centers ever designed, constructed, and continuously operated.
– In March, LiquidStack secured Series B funding from Trane Technologies to advance sustainable cooling solutions for the high-growth data center market. And the investment will help further support the adoption of LiquidStack’s solutions and significantly reduce data center carbon footprint, water consumption, e-waste, and environmental impact. Plus LiquidStack will use the funding to accelerate manufacturing, R&D, and commercialization to rapidly expand LiquidStack’s product portfolio and delivery capabilities.
Customer Success Stories
LiquidStack is known for having one of the most extensive install bases of liquid cooling for data centers globally. And companies like Standard Power, Toyota, Microsoft, and NTT Data have all publicized their use of LiquidStack solutions. 2-phase immersion cooling drastically reduces data center carbon footprint, water consumption, and environmental impact.
For example, Microsoft stated it is seeking better ways to manage powerful new AI hardware in its cloud computing operations and focusing on immersion cooling technology. In 2021, the company test-drove a setup in which servers were dunked in tanks of cooling fluid (two-phase immersion system from LiquidStack) to manage rising heat densities.
Total Addressable Market
What is the total addressable market (TAM) size that LiquidStack is pursuing?
Future Company Goals
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