DUG kicks off $26m IPO

17/06/2020 - 15:05

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Building a supercomputing facility in Australia to rival the world’s biggest is among DUG Technology founder Matt Lamont's ambitious goals, to which end the company has announced a $26 million initial public offering.

DUG kicks off $26m IPO
Matt Lamont with DUG's Bruce supercomputer in West Perth. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Building a supercomputing facility in Australia to rival the world’s biggest is among DUG Technology founder Matt Lamont's ambitious goals, to which end the company has announced a $26 million initial public offering.

Mr Lamont said the IPO was part of a bigger plan to grow the company’s high-performance computing as a service offering.

It follows an $18.2 million pre-IPO in February, with potentially more needed down the track.

High-performance computing as a service means offering space on a supercomputer backed with support staff to run machine learning, big data or other number crunching applications.

The service is used by fields as varied as weather forecasting, academic research and military analysis.

Previously, DUG had been known as DownUnder GeoSolutions and focused on data processing for the resources sector.

“We’ve seen great opportunities in the high-performance computing world,” Mr Lamont told Business News.

“We need to expand our capacity and our machines, computers and computing rooms.”

That will require significant investments in years ahead, depending on demand, potentially north of $100 million.

As part of the company’s transition from specialising in geophysics, it has picked up a range of clients, including Curtin University and the Bureau of Meteorology.

“It’s quite unique what we’re doing,” Mr Lamont said.

To give a practical example, it would mean a scientist or researcher could use high performance computing without the level of computing knowledge required to use the platforms of some multinational technology businesses, he said.

Mr Lamont said he hoped to build a computer with more than an exaflop of processing power, which would be more powerful than the world’s premier existing supercomputer, Summit, in Tennessee.

That could be in Western Australia, depending on negotiations with state governments.

It would be powered by a purpose-built solar or wind farm nearby.

“There’s nothing like that on earth today,” he said.

“We aspire to build the world’s biggest machine.”

The company is already on the way to building a similar facility in Houston.

Exciting, not exiting

Mr Lamont said he was keen to be part of the business long term, with no exit in sight.

Similarly, he said a public listing had been chosen because it was the right fit.

“We talked to multiple private equity companies but we’re focussed on growth long term… we were never completely aligned,” Mr Lamont said.

“We’ve grown the business on the back of reinvesting earnings.

“But the opportunity is too big now.”

The raising is being led by Canaccord Genuity, with Platform Communications advising on public relations and Clayton Utz offering legal support.

The exact price and valuation will not yet be disclosed.

Mr Lamont said his team were reinvigorated by the move into high performance computing as a service.

“It’s really exciting what we’re doing,” he said.

“We’ve had a great time in the oil industry.

“Now we’re moving into new areas, it's really exciting all over again.”

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