How We Can Win
And What Happens to Us and Our Country If We Don't
To thrive in today’s tech-driven economy, Canada needs to embrace—and celebrate—its startups. Anthony Lacavera is here to start that much-needed culture-shift. Author of Canadian innovation manifesto How We Can Win, Chairman of Globalive Capital, and a strong supporter of incubators, Lacavera helps tech start-ups find funding, support, and publicity—faster, and with more flexibility—here at home.
Anthony Lacavera is Founder and Chairman of Globalive Group, and is founder and former CEO of WIND Mobile (now known as Freedom Mobile). As Chairman of Globalive Capital—an investment company and subsidiary of Globalive Group—he focuses on accelerating early-stage technology and communications companies. And as Chairman of Globalive XMG, he invests in the virtual reality and augmented reality industries. Since 1999, Lacavera has helped found, seed, finance, operate, and divest numerous companies in the Internet, communications, e-commerce, and technology industries. Today, he employs his extensive knowledge to provide insight and analysis as a Bloomberg Television contributor (and as co-host of Bloomberg North, with Amber Mac), highlighting innovation and tech from around the world.
“Wind Mobile founder Tony Lacavera has already disrupted Canada’s clubby telecom market. Now, he’s setting himself a much bolder goal: ensuring Canada and its entrepreneurs play a bigger role in the global innovation economy.”— The Financial Post
Lacavera brings more than two decades of experience as a founder, operator, and investor. Following a series of successful start-ups, he founded WIND Mobile, Canada’s fourth largest wireless carrier, successfully challenging the market’s big players. And under his leadership, Globalive has received many ‘best in business’ awards, including first ranking on Profit Magazine’s list of Canada’s 100 Fastest Growing Companies, Canada’s 30 Best Workplaces, and Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies (an award that Globalive has received for 11 consecutive years). Lacavera was named Canada’s CEO of the Year by The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business, made Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 list, named one of the Top 50 Executives in Canada by Power & Influence magazine, publicized as one of Toronto Life’s 50 Most Influential Torontonians, and he just published his first book How We Can Win: And What Happens to Us and Our Country If We Don’t.
“Tony Lacavera knows what it’s like to start a business. Almost as important, he knows what it takes to grow a business.”— CBC News
Recently, Lacavera launched a $100 million fund to help new Canadian tech companies grow, stay competitive, and remain so in Canada. He is the founder of the SHAMBA foundation, a unique charity that assists other charities with fundraising and organizational efforts, and that applies the business principles of Globalive Capital. As an avid supporter of young entrepreneurs, he frequently assists with financing and mentorship through accelerator and start-up programs such as Startup Canada, the Hatchery Project, the Creative Destruction Lab, OneEleven, MaRS Discovery District, the Ryerson DMZ (for which he is vice-chair) and Next 36 (for which he is co-chair). He is active on numerous boards and advisory groups, including Startup Canada, the most recognized voice for entrepreneurship in Canada, and speaks regularly to students about starting businesses.
Moreover, Lacavera is a founding supporter of the AGO’s Gallery Italia, and was honored as Commendatore in the Order of the Star of Italy for his contributions to the Italian community abroad. He was also named an Honorary Fellow by the University of Toronto’s St. Michael’s College and was welcomed into the Engineering School Hall of Distinction.
Here in Canada the kids are smart, the democracy is sound, the banks are stable, and the healthcare system is humane—a perfect recipe for economic triumph. But with technological changes sweeping every industry, Canadians need to adapt if they want to stay afloat. Are we ready for the race to the future? Is there a way for us to come out on top?
Yes, says bold leader and entrepreneur Anthony Lacavera. But we have to dream bigger, be bolder, aim higher, go for gold. In this empowering talk, he exposes the frustrating reality of Canadian business today: traditional, insular, timid, unoriginal—stifled by outmoded regulations and government policies that put unnecessary roadblocks in the paths of our most talented and innovative entrepreneurs, forcing them to take their dreams elsewhere. We have to change the way we see ourselves, says Lacavera. Our problem isn’t that we’re a small country; it’s that we think that way.
Today, half of Canadians don’t have the confidence to start their own business. Most of us can’t name a single entrepreneur. And while VC money might exist for seed-stage and mature organizations, there’s a significant gap for mid-stage start-ups. So, given this climate, how can we celebrate our entrepreneurs? How can we encourage companies to take on bigger risks? How do we ensure innovative ideas stay here, in Canada, and aren’t forced to move elsewhere to meet their funding needs?
For Anthony Lacavera, the answer calls for big, bold ideas. And in this keynote, he leverages his knowledge as an investor, entrepreneur, and tech insider to outline the culture shift we need to reboot our start-up economy. Businesses need to invest, strategically, in technology, even if that means government needs to incentivize the practice. We need to find new sources of growth capital—Canadian-based alternatives that speed-up expansion here at home. And we need to nurture the total start-up ecosystem to ensure healthier, more robust companies. It’s about celebrating our entrepreneurs—changing the conversation from We can’t to Yes, we will.
As an entrepreneur and leader, Anthony Lacavera is a paradigm of bold, ambitious success in Canadian business. He’s known for his deft sense of where innovation really lies—and a near-preternatural ability to raise funds for dynamic projects. In this keynote, Lacavera reflects on the Canadian mobility market, and how he led billion-dollar wireless provider WIND Mobile to disrupt a competitive field. He also speaks to how he led Globalive Holdings to top-level business rankings in Profit Magazine, Power & Influence, The Globe and Mail, and more. And he touches on tough lessons he’s learned throughout his career—easily applicable to other tech-driven and savvy businesses—while offering insights into the future of exciting new fields: virtual and augmented reality; the Internet of Things; automation and AI; and much more.