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Thread: Tony Lacavera creates $100-million fund to keep startups Canadian

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    Tony Lacavera creates $100-million fund to keep startups Canadian

    Tony Lacavera knows what it's like to start a business. Almost as important, he knows what it takes to grow a business.

    And it's the growing part that he wants to help with.

    Lacavera is the entrepreneur behind Canada's fourth-largest wireless carrier, Wind Mobile. He's in the process of raising up to $100 million to help new Canadian tech companies grow with a new venture capital fund.

    He created his first business in 1998, and has spent about 15 years in venture capital.
    The tech fund will only be around for this year. Lacavera plans to close the fund by the end of 2016, and concentrate on the companies it has funded.
    http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/t...dian-1.3429369

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    How Wind Mobile founder escapes the static
    Globe and Mail, April 7

    After selling the cellphone business, Anthony Lacavera has more time to pilot his own plane, produce Broadway hits and help a new generation of entrepreneurs

    He’s made a living out of being in touch, but it’s the moments of complete disconnection that Anthony Lacavera treasures the most.

    For the Wind Mobile founder, those moments occur when he flies his four-seat airplane to Ottawa, Montreal or Ontario’s Muskoka region in the summer, where he has dinner by the lake before heading home to Toronto.
    ...
    These days, Mr. Lacavera has more time to pursue his wide-ranging passions. Late last year, he sold Wind Mobile to Shaw Communications Inc. for $1.6-billion – handing over the reins to a wireless communication provider he launched in 2008 out of frustration after he couldn’t afford to pay his cellphone bills in university, and which he let go “with mixed emotions,” he says.
    ...

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    Anthony Lacavera: here’s why Wind Mobile failed
    Globe and Mail, Sep 27 2017
    Globe Unlimited
    Trevor Cole

    Anthony Lacavera spent years trying to bring competition to the Canadian telecom market. Ultimately, he failed—thanks in large part, he says, to Canada's troubling attitude toward entrepreneurs

    In 2007, brimming with ambition, Anthony Lacavera began his quest to offer Canadians a cheaper alternative to the major wireless carriers. Nine years later, he sold Wind Mobile to Shaw Communications for $1.6 billion, an experience that left him richer, but embittered. He had tried to introduce competition into the telecom market and found roadblocks at every turn. From Bell, Rogers and Telus, he'd encountered fierce resistance. From the government and regulators, which should have been protecting Canadians' interests, he'd gotten inertia or meddling. And from the people who stood to gain the most—Canadian investors and consumers—he'd received mostly indifference. After thinking about it for a few months, Lacavera partnered with author Kate Fillion on How We Can Win. The book (due out Oct. 3) devotes an early chapter to Wind's sail into troubled waters...

    ...
    The first part of the book deals mainly with your Wind experience. You called it a failure. But you sold Wind for $1.6 billion. That's a pretty successful-looking failure.
    I would have never sold the company. I would be 90 years old on my deathbed owning that company.

    You describe what happened to Wind as a case study in how Canada's economy resists competition, and you raise the issue of oligopolies.

    The Canadian economy is structured as a series of oligopolies. In banking we have a clear oligopoly with five banks. As a result of that, we pay some of the highest banking fees in the world. We have a very oligopolistic mutual fund industry, and we pay some of the highest mutual fund fees in the world. We have an oligopoly in telecommunications, and so we pay some of the highest rates in telecom in the world. Since I sold Wind, prices have gone up 25%. So the presence of competition is very important for the benefit of consumers.
    ...
    Your major investor in Wind was Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris. You're angry at how he was treated.
    Yes. I think it's a black eye on Canada.

    What do you think was behind that treatment?
    There was a resistance to foreign capital. There was a resistance to real change. And that existed not just with the Big Three lobbying the government—it existed within government too.

    Is foreign investment discouraged in Canada?
    We don't create the environment and conditions that welcome it. And when I successfully did do it, the machinery that we have to deal with it failed. You can imagine, from Naguib Sawiris's perspective as an investor—he's invested $442 million into our country. He's bought this licence. He's paid cash for it. He gets approval from Industry Canada. Six months later, with the same set of facts, the CRTC comes to a different conclusion. We had invested another $200-some-odd million, hired 700 people, built 40 stores, because we had the licence. We had Industry Canada approval. Then the CRTC was lobbied successfully by the telcos, and they blocked the Wind launch.

    The government overturned the CRTC's decision (1) but then allowed Rogers to charge you usurious data fees—$1,000 per gigabyte versus the usual $5. Obviously you tried to get the message across to government. Why were they ignoring you?
    I don't think they were ignoring it. I think the machinery just moved way too slowly. There was just not a sense of urgency. And then of course the whole time there were dozens, if not hundreds, of experts speaking on behalf of the oligopoly. "The competition is not needed, it's already very competitive, look at all these global benchmarks." Tons of stats and data. And, unlike the competitive forces in telecom in the United States, where there would be consumer advocacy groups on the other side, we didn't have any consumer advocacy support at all.
    ...
    You rail against the government's lack of effort on behalf of entrepreneurs, but they are spending a lot of money—60 programs across 17 departments—to promote innovation. Is the Canadian government friend or foe on this issue?
    They want to see more innovation. They want to see more competition. They're speaking the right language. But their execution is horrific.
    ...

    (1) After the feds overturned the CRTC decision, another upstart carrier, Public Mobile, sued and got the CRTC ruling restored. Wind appealed that decision and won. Its competitors pushed the case to the Supreme Court, which refused to hear it, leaving Wind's victory in place and resolving the matter after roughly four years of uncertainty.


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    Quote Originally Posted by pjw918 View Post
    After the feds overturned the CRTC decision, another upstart carrier, Public Mobile, sued and got the CRTC ruling restored. Wind appealed that decision and won. Its competitors pushed the case to the Supreme Court, which refused to hear it, leaving Wind's victory in place and resolving the matter after roughly four years of uncertainty.
    Didn't they participate in the first suit too? Dogs eating Dogs...


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    Quote Originally Posted by pjw918 View Post
    
    Anthony Lacavera: here’s why Wind Mobile failed
    Globe and Mail, Sep 27 2017
    Globe Unlimited
    Trevor Cole

    Anthony Lacavera spent years trying to bring competition to the Canadian telecom market. Ultimately, he failed—thanks in large part, he says, to Canada's troubling attitude toward entrepreneurs

    In 2007, brimming with ambition, Anthony Lacavera began his quest to offer Canadians a cheaper alternative to the major wireless carriers. Nine years later, he sold Wind Mobile to Shaw Communications for $1.6 billion, an experience that left him richer, but embittered. He had tried to introduce competition into the telecom market and found roadblocks at every turn. From Bell, Rogers and Telus, he'd encountered fierce resistance. From the government and regulators, which should have been protecting Canadians' interests, he'd gotten inertia or meddling. And from the people who stood to gain the most—Canadian investors and consumers—he'd received mostly indifference. After thinking about it for a few months, Lacavera partnered with author Kate Fillion on How We Can Win. The book (due out Oct. 3) devotes an early chapter to Wind's sail into troubled waters...

    ...
    The first part of the book deals mainly with your Wind experience. You called it a failure. But you sold Wind for $1.6 billion. That's a pretty successful-looking failure.
    I would have never sold the company. I would be 90 years old on my deathbed owning that company.

    You describe what happened to Wind as a case study in how Canada's economy resists competition, and you raise the issue of oligopolies.

    The Canadian economy is structured as a series of oligopolies. In banking we have a clear oligopoly with five banks. As a result of that, we pay some of the highest banking fees in the world. We have a very oligopolistic mutual fund industry, and we pay some of the highest mutual fund fees in the world. We have an oligopoly in telecommunications, and so we pay some of the highest rates in telecom in the world. Since I sold Wind, prices have gone up 25%. So the presence of competition is very important for the benefit of consumers.
    ...
    Your major investor in Wind was Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris. You're angry at how he was treated.
    Yes. I think it's a black eye on Canada.

    What do you think was behind that treatment?
    There was a resistance to foreign capital. There was a resistance to real change. And that existed not just with the Big Three lobbying the government—it existed within government too.

    Is foreign investment discouraged in Canada?
    We don't create the environment and conditions that welcome it. And when I successfully did do it, the machinery that we have to deal with it failed. You can imagine, from Naguib Sawiris's perspective as an investor—he's invested $442 million into our country. He's bought this licence. He's paid cash for it. He gets approval from Industry Canada. Six months later, with the same set of facts, the CRTC comes to a different conclusion. We had invested another $200-some-odd million, hired 700 people, built 40 stores, because we had the licence. We had Industry Canada approval. Then the CRTC was lobbied successfully by the telcos, and they blocked the Wind launch.

    The government overturned the CRTC's decision (1) but then allowed Rogers to charge you usurious data fees—$1,000 per gigabyte versus the usual $5. Obviously you tried to get the message across to government. Why were they ignoring you?
    I don't think they were ignoring it. I think the machinery just moved way too slowly. There was just not a sense of urgency. And then of course the whole time there were dozens, if not hundreds, of experts speaking on behalf of the oligopoly. "The competition is not needed, it's already very competitive, look at all these global benchmarks." Tons of stats and data. And, unlike the competitive forces in telecom in the United States, where there would be consumer advocacy groups on the other side, we didn't have any consumer advocacy support at all.
    ...
    You rail against the government's lack of effort on behalf of entrepreneurs, but they are spending a lot of money—60 programs across 17 departments—to promote innovation. Is the Canadian government friend or foe on this issue?
    They want to see more innovation. They want to see more competition. They're speaking the right language. But their execution is horrific.
    ...

    (1) After the feds overturned the CRTC decision, another upstart carrier, Public Mobile, sued and got the CRTC ruling restored. Wind appealed that decision and won. Its competitors pushed the case to the Supreme Court, which refused to hear it, leaving Wind's victory in place and resolving the matter after roughly four years of uncertainty.


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    Classic Lacavera Whining at it's finest. He claims WIND prices have gone up 25% but ignores that they're still far below his introductory rate plan pricing when HE launched WIND. Then goes on to whine how everything he did was met with challenges and how this country hates entrepeneurs?! No Anthony, this country had no tolerance and a rightful lack of trust in a network that performed horrendously on launch. WIND needed to earn it's trust, and earn it's spot in the arena. But Tony is arguing it should have further been handed to him?

    This is why WIND failed. He was out of touch. He's still out of touch. He blames the government, but the government protected and fostered WIND's agenda too.

    He's just a spoiled brat who won't accept his own failures. A failure he seemed to have profited out of too no less.

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    Quote Originally Posted by seekr View Post
    Classic Lacavera Whining at it's finest. He claims WIND prices have gone up 25% but ignores that they're still far below his introductory rate plan pricing when HE launched WIND. Then goes on to whine how everything he did was met with challenges and how this country hates entrepeneurs?! No Anthony, this country had no tolerance and a rightful lack of trust in a network that performed horrendously on launch. WIND needed to earn it's trust, and earn it's spot in the arena. But Tony is arguing it should have further been handed to him?

    This is why WIND failed. He was out of touch. He's still out of touch. He blames the government, but the government protected and fostered WIND's agenda too.

    He's just a spoiled brat who won't accept his own failures. A failure he seemed to have profited out of too no less.
    By no means am I on Lacavera's side, he could have done more for WIND for sure, but I don't fully blame WIND for their network performance, I don't see a way they could have really prevented their network from becoming congested. They lacked spectrum, no network should be exclusively AWS, and even then, they didn't get enough of it to have a reliable network. Combined with Osracom rightfully getting cold feet, they invested significantly in WIND and essentially had no say over it's operations. Don't get me wrong, the company was mismanaged and diluted, they couldn't afford to offer 10 or 20gb of data with only sparse spectrum holdings like they had, but they are not the only ones at fault here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by qag01 View Post
    By no means am I on Lacavera's side, he could have done more for WIND for sure, but I don't fully blame WIND for their network performance, I don't see a way they could have really prevented their network from becoming congested. They lacked spectrum, no network should be exclusively AWS, and even then, they didn't get enough of it to have a reliable network. Combined with Osracom rightfully getting cold feet, they invested significantly in WIND and essentially had no say over it's operations. Don't get me wrong, the company was mismanaged and diluted, they couldn't afford to offer 10 or 20gb of data with only sparse spectrum holdings like they had, but they are not the only ones at fault here.

    Sent from my Z957 using HoFo mobile app
    Congestion was not a problem when they launched in 2009. The problems I am referring to were the unmet expectations they set, a flawed and very poor implementation of the network that was premeiered, data speeds that were no where near advertised, etc. etc. etc.

    For this, they kind of are at fault, because they used Orascom (a global and established telco leader in their own markets respectively) to help deploy the network here. They were also the ones who decided the ambitious goal of being CANADA'S 4TH PLAYER instead of smartly focusing on a regional carrier market first and expanding after.

    They also anticipated 1.5 million users in 3 years, they made this lofty goal with the knowledge of the network and spectrum they had.


    I know you're not defending Lacavera, but this guy, along with the bullish expectations of Naguib showed a lot of ignorance entering a market they were not fully understanding and aware of.

    Also, they tried to play the system. They were basically 100% backed by a foreign company, who called all the shots, but on paper pretended Globalive was majority holder. This is why they ended up getting sued in the first place. The government turned a huge blind eye to this and still allowed them to proceed for the sake of consumer friendly competition.

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