Why sell to Cogeco?
April 27, 2023

Why sell to Cogeco?

Picture of article author Danilo Tubic
Danilo Tubic

oxio was sold to Cogeco for the good of the company and its customers. oxio remains 100% oxio and its values will not change.

If you remember only two sentences from this article, make it those two. If you want to know more, here is the whole story. Why? Because we give a damn. We’re transparent, and it’s as simple as that.

oxio is an internet reseller, which means that we use the infrastructure of other telcos to offer our services. For example, in Quebec, we use the infrastructure of Cogeco and Videotron. In Ontario, it’s Cogeco and Rogers. In Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, we work with SHAW. That stuff isn’t changing, and we’ll continue to offer our services just like before.

Now that we’ve established that everything stays as it was, we want to answer the titular question of this article.

Why sell to Cogeco?

Before getting into details, let’s summarize the rest of this article into a tight answer. Operating in telecom is extremely expensive, and oxio was running on money obtained during the 2021 Series A (a kind of fundraising from investors). Since the next round (the Series B of last September) did not meet our expectations, the best solution to continue growing was to sell to a company ready to invest funds in oxio. And that’s what Cogeco does. Cogeco bought oxio and now oxio can continue to thrive, as independently as possible, while continuing to offer transparency and services, inject competition into the telecom universe, and be the ones who do things differently. Just like before.

How did we get here?

I took some time to interview Marc-André, the co-founder and ex-CEO of oxio, following the sale of oxio to get a clearer picture of the chain of events leading up to it.

“In short, everything starts in September with the launch of our Series B.”

The Series B represented the next batch of capital that oxio would use to fund its operations for a year or two. Considering how well the Series A went at the time, expectations were high. Unfortunately, the spectre of a recession loomed on the horizon. As a result, oxio was looking to partner with a long-term investor who would be able to assist it in its development.

One of the main reasons why the telecommunications market is so consolidated is that it costs a lot, a lot of money to play in. The costs of installing a good quality infrastructure (cables, network centres, redundancies, etc.) are astronomical and the other option, renting access to another company’s infrastructure, isn’t particularly affordable either, since you still have to install some of your own equipment.

So, venture capital funding rounds no longer matched the company’s ambitions and a more stable solution had to be found. oxio wanted to settle down.

“We might have been able to raise a Series B with another investor,” Marc tells me, “but the truth is that if I decided to go ahead, well, I’d be rolling the dice and putting the company at risk if it didn’t go like we wanted.”

After thinking for a moment, he continues: “In fact, everything that happened in the last few weeks kind of proved my point, considering how Silicon Valley Bank exploded, Credit Suisse got bought by UBS, etc. My bet was good, when you think about it, but it was still a gamble.”

A lesson.

For this section, I’ll let Marc speak. I think his words reflect the situation much better than anything I could write.

“I’ve already said in podcasts and elsewhere that I was never going to sell oxio. But as CEO and co-founder, if I say that I’m never going to do something, I become a liability, a risk for the company, because I might eventually not consider an opportunity that could be the best option for the company and everyone involved. And that was a big learning experience. In fact, what I should say instead of ‘I’m never going to sell’ is that I’m never going to sellout.”

To clarify this excellent English word, let’s see what Antidote thinks of it. Selling out is an act that goes against one’s values, beliefs, in exchange for personal gain, usually money or power.

“I want to be able to look each person involved in the eyes, to be aligned with my values and those of the company, and to explain, so that in the end, everyone can understand the legitimacy of this decision.”

Basically, Cogeco believes that oxio represents a brand that is young, interesting and up-to-date. It allows Cogeco to reach even more of the population with its offer. oxio is transparency, positivity, and fair prices that last a long time because profit margins are made to be sustainable. So, Cogeco wants oxio to remain essentially identical to what we were before the acquisition. It’s like a testament to the strength of what oxio is and represents.

In the end, Cogeco doesn’t want to change things. Of course, it’s a company that just made a purchase, so it expects a return on its investments (we’re not just going to stop offering our services, after all). But it’s also a company that wants to continue to serve its customers well and to continue to support oxio’s growth. oxio is not going to become “oxio powered by Cogeco”. oxio is oxio. And Cogeco is Cogeco. We remain as distinct as possible.

So, by pooling our assets with those of Cogeco, we are going to give ourselves the strength we need to improve our customer experience and service offering even more. With more colleagues to produce more content faster, we’ll be even quicker than before. But, for you, the customers (and potential customers), everything will stay like it was, if not better. That’s the reality.

Where we're heading.

And now, what’s going to happen with oxio?

Well, you’ve seen the answer with your own eyes. It’s been over a month since the sale took place, and we’ve stayed the same. The same radical transparency (as in this article), empathy, honesty. We’re here to share the internet, to be held accountable, to learn and teach, to adapt and grow. We want to lead the industry towards something even greater.

I hope you can forgive me for taking so long to write it all down. I really want to thank Marc for being so available and frank during our conversations.

And I want to thank you, readers, for wanting to know more. We hope, oxio and I, that you got a little more clarity out of this.

And thank you to all our customers who trusted us during the transition. You are <3.

Picture of article author Danilo Tubic
Danilo Tubic