OXIO is attempting to displace Bell and Rogers as Internet service providers.
I wrote a piece in the style of Sean Silcoff. I did this out of pure spite, as a warning that I could invade his territory whenever I pleased. A piece in the style of Sean Silcoff is very simple to compose. You need only learn about venture capital financing, use the term “unicorn,” and know how to spell Tiger Global. Here goes.
Recently, while browsing the Internet, I came across a large advertisement for Oxio, an innovative Internet service provider. There are numerous alternative service providers. They all lease pipes from the major telecommunications companies and resell them under their own brand. TekSavvy is one of the most well-known. Even though the offer was not revolutionary, I clicked on the advertisement.
Currently, Oxio is a relatively popular company. They participated in YCombinator last year and have raised $40 million from prominent investors such as Jeffrey Katzenberg. Xavier Niel, a French telecom billionaire, is their primary backer.
He is married to fellow billionaire Delphine Arnault, the daughter of LVMH tycoon Bernard Arnault. Xavier was involved in a legal dispute involving sex shops in which he had an ownership stake. I feel, however, that I am becoming sidetracked in a manner that Sean Silcoff would disapprove of.
So what is Oxio’s strategy? Essentially, to provide Internet service without the annoying practises of telcos. For example, their basic plan is $40 per month for everyone, with no promotions, gimmicks, or cancellation fees. (That’s the price in Quebec; in Ontario, it’s $48.)
Legacy telcos are burdened with obsolete customer relationship management software (billing, account management, etc.). Oxio views the network as a commodity, and their secret sauce is having the most advanced, integrated software to manage their operations. This begs the obvious question: why not sell the software? The use of banner ads alone indicates that their industry is extremely competitive.
OXIO makes a big deal about transparency and discloses that their profit margin on your $40 monthly fee is only $2. That is following a two-year payback period. Their cost breakdown is as follows:
In any case, Oxio’s original incarnation in 2017 was attempting to provide internet service in under-served regions. Consequently, as is the case with many startups, the company’s success depends on the skill of its founders rather than a rigid business plan. Well, Anthony Lacavera has been replaced by a new brash, young telecom messiah.
I was impressed by founder Marc-André Campagna’s ideas and methods after listening to one of his podcasts. He hails from Quebec City (and still based there). It is evident that Silicon Valley thinking and audacity are spreading to even the most remote corners of the globe. He is a huge fan of YCombinator’s founder, Paul Graham.
Marc-André dropped out of law school. In high school, he began his entrepreneurial career by selling counterfeit branded clothing imported from China. Despite a propensity for lawlessness, he appears to be playing the long game. (He has also described illegally installing an aerial on a competitor’s tower using climbing equipment when he was just starting out.)
Eat your heart out, handsome young man Anthony Lacavera. Like Mike Katchen did for Wealthsimple, I have no idea what he is doing with these obscure podcasts; he must command the attention of mainstream media. Now that he has the attention of OPM Wire, which many consider to be the most prestigious publication, he may have the confidence to approach other publications, such as The Globe & Mail, etc.
So far, Oxio has 30k customers and 80 remote employees. Already, they have expanded into landline telephone service and cable television. A fax service seems imminent. I believe that offering this product range already is a mistake because it detracts from the company’s focus and ability to excel at something. Currently, I pay $28 for Internet service from a major telco’s budget brand.
I haven’t called Oxio in the past two to three years, so I can’t say that their services are so compelling that I’m eager to switch. Although they appear to provide a cool router:
Obviously, they are already discussing their eventual global expansion, beginning in the United States within two years. I am fairly certain that other nations already have Internet access. In many other nations, Internet resellers and Virtual Network Operators like Oxio are commonplace. Ryan Reynolds owns a U.S.-based carrier.
How will you achieve a lower customer acquisition cost than Ryan Reynolds? He is 17 times more attractive than Anthony Lacavera, although I suspect both men wear makeup. Similar to the wealth management industry, Canada has exceptionally poor pricing and service. And there is already a tech- and telecom-related company called Oxio that is in the business of putting anyone who wants to work in telecom to work.
I therefore reject any global ambitions. The Canadian Oxio has a grand vision in which everyone will have a dozen or more Internet-connected devices. In general, I believe Oxio is a company worth following. As previously stated, I believe that management makes all the difference, and Marc-André demonstrates initiative. He personally installed solar panels on the roofs of the first 200 customers while providing customer service via his cell phone. Here is his outlook on the future:
“We foresee a future in which internet service providers will be divided into two pillars: companies that build and maintain physical networks and digital providers like ours that specialise in user-friendly internet services.”
The following is a quote from Ryan Reynolds:
“I wish Mint were available in Canada…
There is a difficult-to-crack Big Three there. I do not claim to know the telecom industry well enough to explain why, how, or what the best course of action would be.”
I acknowledge that Sean Silcoff typically breaks news of financings, whereas Betakit covered this financing last year. I am a moderate Sean Silcoff fan. But I believe there is an opportunity to become the F*cked Company of this tech bust. If at least three out of every ten startups that Sean Silcoff has written about are not failures, then the rules of venture capital have been rewritten. I will programme my TI-83 to write a Rob Carrick-style article on how to save money on pet dental insurance as my next challenge.