CADVision Internet

CADVision Internet is a local Internet Service Provider in Canada with a rich history in entrepreneurship.

I started the company in University in 1990 using rent money. CADVision grew to dominate its market with over 60,000 customers and 62% marketshare. It was self financed, embraced the freemium model and first to roll out ADSL citywide.

Above all, CADVision knew how to Think Exponentially and apply advancing technology.

CADVision Sign


Marketing was simple yet dominant. It had only one purpose – to get perspective customers to contact us. We broadcast the word Internet with our brand name everywhere. On the radio, TV, billboards, bus stations, C-Trains and CDs.

We would invite anyone and everyone to free Internet seminars that ran almost daily.

CADVision Indoors

Education was the cornerstone of the company, our plan: Invest in the customer and they will invest in you. By educating an entire city of the value of the Internet for free, we built incredibly good karma. Our classes ran everywhere, from the IMAX theatre to radio broadcast Open Houses. No group was too small, we happily did seminars in schools and non-profits, becoming mini celebrities.

CADVision CDCADVision Internet Service sold flat rate one year annual contracts. By having customers pay up front, we never required financing. With flat rate billing, customers where able to use the Internet as much as they wanted. At the time, hourly billing was popular, we provided a welcome alternative.

Encouraging widespread Internet adoption which made Calgary #1 for Internet usage in North America, tying San Francisco.

Thinking Exponentially, there was one thing we did that no one else understood. The speed by which customers connected to the Internet doubled every 18 months.

Modem Speed

Modem Speed

CADVision planned its business model around predictable advancements in technology. A technology path from 14.4k modems to to 56K to high-speed ADSL. We beat out almost 30 competitors, including some of the biggest names in the business. It cannot be overstated how critical this was.

Our products, pricing, contract structure and marketing where designed around the timing of technology coming to market.

ADSL Modem Rack

ADSL Modem Rack

Our competition invested in expensive hardware while we bought the cheapest infrastructure we could find. When ADSL became available, we were in a position to pounce. Launching ADSL citywide in 12 months.

In less than year we replaced the T1 Business Internet market. Our competitors were not amused. Our ADSL advantage proved to be key when we were acquired.

CADVision SaleBook


In April 2000 CADVision Internet was purchased by PSINet, at the very peak of the dot com boom. PSINet did a survey and found we had the highest mindshare of the 70 odd companies they had acquired.

CADVision was successful for a number of reasons: Dominant marketing, massive education, killer product, self financed, loyal user base, upgradable customers, and belief in ourselves to deliver.  Our market lock was solid, acquisition was inevitable.

Our salebook is a good reference if you considering selling your company. As a general rule, multiple bidders are better. Effectively marketing your company to buyers requires a salebook.

Stock Exchange Tower

Stock Exchange Tower was voted Calgary’s favorite ISP on numerous occasions, beating out over a two dozen serious contenders.

I became one of the youngest Canadians ever to win Entrepreneur of the Year, Top 40 under 40 multiple times and Alberta’s Most Influential People.

Next: Apply Technology Trends
Previous: Exponential Technology

Tags: ,

Categories: Graphs, Study

Author:Geoffrey Shmigelsky

Technology Entrepreneur, Angel Investor


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  1. Exponential Technology | Think Exponential - April 10, 2013

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    […] CADVision […]

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