Anthony Lacavera

Globalive and WIND Mobile Chairman
TurningPoint: A meeting in a Chinese Restaurant in Cairo

imgThe winds of change are blowing through the wireless communications industry.  Can you feel it?  WIND Mobile is the brainchild of 36 year old entrepreneur Anthony Lacavera.  He is out to change the wireless industry in Canada and challenge the way Bell, Rogers and Telus do business.  Lacavera puts it simply. “It’s time someone shook them up.”

Born in Welland, ON, Anthony graduated from the University of Toronto in 1997. Even in school he had an entrepreneurial spirit and when he graduated he stepped into the world of telecommunications. “We started selling long distance service to hotels.  It was a niche market that allowed us to grow our business without drawing too much competitive pressure from the big guys.  From there we gradually diversified to calling cards, internet services and working with small businesses and hospitals.”

In 2006, Globalive caught the attention of the Big Three and they began to aggressively compete with Lacavera. He found himself at a crossroads. “I was at a point where we couldn't grow anymore without major financing and without investing in our own infrastructure.  I needed a big international partner.”

Research, phone calls, e-mails ….and nothing.  There were no magic doors opening for Lacavera.  He kept calling and requesting meetings.  Finally Anthony received word that one of the biggest wireless entrepreneurs in the world was willing to see him.  The meeting was set up in a Chinese restaurant in Cairo. It would become the biggest turning point of Lacavera’s life.

Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris owns over 25 wireless companies and services over 120 million people worldwide.  Anthony arrived and swung into his business pitch. “I’m an entrepreneur and I started my own business,” he told Sawiris. “I’m proud of it.  For me it’s everything and from what I’ve built we have a great opportunity to partner in Canada in wireless”. Sawiris listened intently then the table fell silent. Finally Sawiris looked at Anthony and said, “I like this opportunity. We’re going to do this.” With that, Lacavera had the $700 million dollars in capital he needed to push Globalive to the next level. “I was more energized than I ever had been. I was so pumped; I couldn’t wait to get back to Canada.”  Sawiris had a business team sitting in Lacavera’s office the following week.

The last two years have been challenging for Lacavera as Globalive dealt with Canadian foreign investment policies and tough regulations.  WIND Mobile finally launched in December of 2009 and now has over 100,000 new customers.  “My dream is for Globalive to become the fourth largest telecommunication company in Canada.  I want to stay independent and offer customers a choice for wireless, internet and TV.”

Under Lacavera’s leadership, Globalive continues to make its mark in the competitive world of wireless services and the accolades are pouring in. “We have been named one of Canada’s fifty best managed companies six years in a row, and one of Canada’s top thirty business work places. I’m so proud.  It’s really a true reflection of your company.” Lacaverra is also passionate about giving back and helping other young entrepreneurs succeed in business. He volunteers with an organization called TheNext36.ca. “The committee we’ve created is truly unprecedented.  We are encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation in Canada.”

Anthony’s Advice

Don’t be afraid of failure –embrace it.
         Not everything you try will work. Move on.

Don’t be afraid of the word “No”
         A quick “No” is almost as good as a “Yes”… you’re not wasting any time

Don’t take rejection personally
         Just because they don’t like your idea don’t think it’s a reflection of you– it just didn’t work for them

Don’t run from your mistakes
         Meet them head on and fix them or you’ll end up with a company that can’t move

Set Short Term Goals
         Nothing can boost your confidence more than getting some small wins.

Of course balance in life is important too. Anthony says, “Always make time for yourself to do whatever you enjoy no matter how much work you have to do.”

The meeting at the Chinese restaurant in Cairo marked a turning point not only for Lacavera but for every wireless customer in Canada.  There’s a new kid on the block and the bright headlights shining in the big boys’ rear view mirror are from Globalive and a charismatic entrepreneur called Anthony Lacavera.

Do you have an idea or dreams and hopes for the future?  Go for it!  Craft your vision and then find a way to get it done. Make this year a turning point for you.