Fresh off the news of Shaw’s intention to purchase Wind Mobile for $1.6 billion CAD, Tony Lacavera was at the MaRS Discovery District this morning to kick off 2016’s MaRS Mornings speaker series.
“The goal is to keep more companies in Canada.”
– Tony Lacavera
The Globalive Chairman and Wind founder gave an hour-long talk on his history as an entrepreneur and the lessons learned along the way. As part of the talk, Lacavera noted that the Wind sale allows Globalive to commit to ‘taking the long view’ when it comes to Canadian entrepreneurship.
“The meaningful exit gives us the credibility and the track record to go after being a meaningful player in late A, early B, and organizing into a fund,” Lacavera told BetaKit. “We’re going to sort of organize ourselves more formally at Globalive, now that we’ve had a couple – not just WIND, but a couple – other meaningful exits in the last 18 to 24 months. The idea is that we’re going to organize ourselves into a fund construct. Details to come on that, but that is the intention.”
Lacavera told BetaKit the timeline to begin investing would start in Q4 of this year, and was clear that the intention was to provide Canadian companies funding opportunities that were not available to him while building Wind.
— Sonia Strimban (@Soniasayswhat) January 18, 2016
“Right now we play really late seed and early A, and angel too, and I want to move us into some more meaningful follow-ons, and with that requirement that we keep more companies in Canada,” Lacavera continued. “The goal is to keep more companies in Canada. We may lose some deals, because they get Kleiner [Perkins Caufield & Byers] to say ‘we’ll give you a $60 million valuation if you locate your headquarters in San Francisco’ – I might lose some deals that way, but I don’t care.”
Lacavera argued that specific A to B range of funding is one of the largest issues facing Canadian startups looking to make a go at home, with only OMERS Ventures currently providing the activity and capital. “It really is OMERS. Who else? It’s just a huge gap,” he said.
“We obviously don’t have the capacity to do a whole boatload of A and B – unless we raise a fund. So that’s why we’re thinking of a fund construct for A, late A, and early B. So we’re into 5s and 10s and 20s [of millions], even.”
Update (01/20/16): This article has been updated to clarify timelines for Lacavera’s commitment to late Series A and Series B investments.