Granicus Group invested in Oxio during the summer of 2021. What sparked Granicus’ interest in Oxio is how they are disrupting and democratizing the telecommunications industry. The company began hitting its stride after participating in last winter’s Y Combinator, one of the world’s most established start-up accelerators. Along with shaking up the telecommunications market, Oxio is now poised to accelerate their Canadian service rollout, after garnering a strong reception in both the Québec and Ontario markets.
With this series, we intend to leverage our storytelling abilities, and peel back the curtain, by writing articles about the companies and entrepreneurs we have invested in.
1. Oxio’s Elevator pitch
We’re building the first connectivity platform. Our goal is to integrate with any kind of network (LTE, 5G, loRaWAN, fiber, coax, etc.), shield our customers from all the traditional big telco bullshit, and provide them with the best connectivity services tailored to their needs.
We are building the connectivity platform for the Information Age
If you were to ask your grandparents how many electric motors they had when they were younger, they could probably count them on one hand. They knew exactly how many electric motors there were in their life because electricity was a relatively new innovation. Today, everything uses electricity and you definitely can’t count how many electric motors you have in your life on one hand. I have one whose sole purpose is to roll down my car windows and there’s a little one in a fan that’s blowing air at me as I write these words. oxio believes the same thing is going to happen for connectivity. Right now, you probably own a handful of devices that are connected to the internet. Maybe you have a laptop and a smartphone, you might have a tablet and a smart tv—but that’s about it. I think that in the very near future, we’re all going to have dramatically more (10x or maybe even 100x more) devices connected to the internet. And, they’ll all need a way to connect to the internet that doesn’t rely on traditional telecom plans. That’s why we’re really bullish on what we’re doing. Amazing companies like Starlink, TeleSat, Kepler, Swarm, Helium, FreedomFi, SkyRoam (now Simo) are all focusing on solving the “network” problem & flipping the unit economics of deploying infrastructure upside down, but nobody that I’m aware of is laser focused on enabling a seamless way to access those networks. That’s where we come into play and that’s why becoming network agnostic is so important. We believe that the accessibility problem is as important as the network problem. It’s why we want to become a platform that allows for default connectivity in the future.
Mission: We believe in the equal access to opportunity that the internet provides.
We’re here because we believe that if everyone had equal access to the opportunities found on the internet, we’d see a lot of pretty great things from a lot of unexpected people.
First of all, we don’t think in quarters, we think in decades. Building the first connectivity platform is a multi-decade adventure. We play long-term games.
If you go on our website today, apart from being fully digital & offering the best experience in the industry (go look at our reviews if you don’t believe me), it would be normal to assume that our services are not that different from traditional incumbents. And, you’d be right to think that since we are currently building the foundation of our next growth phase.
Traditional carriers do not own the software they use to operate their business. We do. oxio is built on the belief that this will enable us to eventually create an inflection point in the industry and offer new services that our competitors won’t be able to and offer them at better prices. We have a privileged position inside a customer’s home or in their smart devices because we provide them with connectivity services—and we’ll tap into that market when the time is right.
Plus, by being network agnostic, we’ll be able to offer the full suite of connectivity services that everyone is going to need. A one-stop shop for connectivity.
Our goal is to reach 500,000 customers in Canada by 2025.
5. Company influences
I’ve been following Helium since 2017 and, at first, I didn’t understand what the hell they were building. It took me literally 2 years to get it. And, now that I get it, I’m just mind blown.
They are deploying the first peer-to-peer wireless network and flipping upside down the traditional business model of deploying wireless networks with a new crypto-economic protocol. I’m sure our paths will cross in the near future. (Shout-out to Helium if you guys are reading this.)
DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) & Buffer
One of the core values we reinforce at oxio is Radical Transparency. We’re currently questioning how far radical transparency should go. I think we finally found our North star on that topic, which is: Radical transparency should always respect personal privacy. For example, everything is transparent in a DAO, except the personal information of members, because they use usernames. We think that a healthy amount of personal privacy enables an organization to be as radically transparent as possible.
DAOs are also a great source of inspiration because of their decentralized ways of operating. One of oxio’s other core values is free spirit. We are fiercely independent and we don’t believe in centralization. We think that centralized organizations create multiple single points of failure and don’t scale well. We also want to work with the best of the best, and who are we to tell the best of the best what to do? We work with them so they can tell us what to do. We also think that the decision should be made by the person who’s the closest to the problem and for that, we need a decentralized decision making process.
6. Personal influences
In a lot of ways, I feel that Dee Hock could be one of the pioneers of today’s DAOs philosophy. It’s pretty much what he tried to accomplish with Visa.
Also, he just has the perfect definition of True Leaders, which I try to emulate to the best of my ability every single day.
True leaders are those who enable the unconscious values and beliefs of every member of the community to emerge, transmitted and consciously shared—who epitomize in their own behavior the general sense of the community—who symbolize, legitimize, and strengthen behavior in accordance with the sense of the community—who enable that which is trying to happen to come into being.
True leadership is based on educed behavior and has an affinity for good.
The first and paramount responsibility of anyone who purports to manage is to manage self—one’s own integrity, character, ethics, knowledge, wisdom, temperament, words, and acts.
Without exceptional management of self, no one is fit for authority no matter how much they acquire.
The second responsibility is to manage those who have authority over us: bosses, supervisors, directors, regulators, ad infinitum.
The third responsibility is to manage one’s peers—those over whom we have no authority and who have no authority over us—associates, competitors, suppliers, customers. Without their respect and confidence, little can be accomplished.
The fourth responsibility is to manage those over whom we have authority. The instinctive response is that one’s time will be consumed managing self, superiors, and peers. There will be little or no time left to manage subordinates. Exactly!
Select people of good character, introduce them to the concept, go before and show them how to practice it, and encourage them to educe the process from their so-called subordinates.
It is not about making better people of others that management is about. It’s about making a better person of self.
The obvious question then always erupts. How can you manage bosses, peers, regulators, associates, customers? The answer is equally obvious. You cannot. But can you understand them? Can you persuade them? Can you motivate them? Can you disturb them, influence them, forgive them? Can you set them an example? Of course you can, provided only that you have properly managed yourself.
In that order:
Lead your superiors
Lead your peers
Employ good people
and free them to do the same
All else is trivial.
It is from failure that amazing growth and grace so often come, provided only that one can recognize it, admit it, learn from it, rise above it, and try again. True leadership presumes a standard quite beyond human perfectibility and that is quite alright, for joy and satisfaction are in the pursuit of an objective, not in its realization.
Since as far back as I can remember, I’ve always looked up to Rick Rubin. For those of you who don’t know who Rick is, he probably produced one of your favorite albums. He has worked with anyone from Slayer to Kendrick Lamar and he’s world renowned for enabling people to do their best work.
7. Where do you see the business in 3-5 years?
Since we like to think in decades, let’s look at what the connectivity/telecom industry will look like 10 years from now.
New players in the market, on the infrastructure side, will erode the incumbent oligopolies.
Companies like Helium, Starlink, FreedomFi will compete head to head with incumbent networks for data.
Data will be commoditized. Infrastructure companies will need to become as efficient as possible at selling data because oligopolies won’t protect them anymore. They will sell data to virtual operators (MVNOs) that will specialize in offering connectivity services to specific customer personas.
Incumbents will become AWS for telecommunications. AWS virtualized servers, telecom incumbents & new players will virtualize access to data.
The average customer will have 1000s of devices connected to the internet. Basically, everything will be connected to the internet. Cities will also invest a lot of money on connectivity. Air quality sensors, smart park-o-meters, flood detection sensors, self-driving cars—everything will be connected, just like electricity. The real Information Age.
You will need three connectivity subscriptions; home wi-fi, mobile, and IoTs to connect your smart devices that you use on a daily basis. oxio will seamlessly aggregate all of these connectivity services into a single subscription. Seamlessly, in less than two minutes, you’ll answer a couple of questions and get everything activated digitally through our platform. No need for technicians or to visit your carrier store anymore. oxio will shield you from all the traditional telco bullshit. Struggling with bad customer service will be a thing of the past. You won’t even remember who Bell & Rogers were, since they won’t interact directly with the customer anymore.
You will use the word connectivity to define an industry that was once called telecommunications.