This past week we had the privilege of interviewing Adam Bacsalmasi, Founder and CEO of Similicious. Similicious is an exciting startup that provides affordable prepaid mobile plans with outstanding client service for anyone travelling specifically in Canada. We asked Adam about this inventive and resourceful business idea, and here is what he had to say.
Tell us about your business/for purpose organization (how long have you been in business, what is your specialty, products or services, how many employees you have, etc.):
Similicious provides mobile service and support for travelers and short term visitors to Canada. We make it super easy for people to stay connected while in Canada, we’ll ship a local SIM card (internationally, even to hotels) and activate it for them on the day they arrive, and because all the plans we offer are prepaid, there’s no extra fees or monthly charges to worry about. We’ve been in business for just a little over 3 years, I started the business in my spare room after returning from a vacation with my wife, with only a couple hundred dollars and a self-made website, and we’ve been growing steadily ever since.
What makes your company/organization leaders in your industry?
At the moment there are no real alternatives to Similicious within Canada, there are many other services that provide prepaid SIM cards for other countries, but we’re the only ones specializing in travelers to Canada. There are other 3rd party resellers within Canada but they focus on existing Canadians. We’re 100% dedicated to helping those who are visiting or only hear for a short period of time.
Who or what has influenced you (book, movie, person, other company/for purpose organization)?
One of my biggest influences, and this might sound a bit odd, was a band from the 90s, Rage Against The Machine. Although they are/were a very political band, they were very influential to me when I was an impressionable 14 year old growing up in a Toronto suburb. Much of their music spoke about oppression, racism, injustice, rebellion, and apathy, but what it did for me was made me question the world around me, made me realize there’s more going on than what I know and what I can see. It wasn’t until I was older that this outlook had any effect on my business aspirations, but it constantly made me question everything and eventually it helped peel back the curtain a little bit. I realized that everything around me was created by someone who had the courage to do so. Nothing existed before some man or woman decided it should exist and then worked (in most cases really, really hard) to create it. To me that was really influential, understanding the world is created by other people and I could create something too, I could influence my own life. I never would have gotten there if it weren’t for the music that taught me to question everything, taught me to stand up for what I believed in, taught me to rebel when necessary, taught me to keep fighting, and maybe most importantly, it’s people all the way down. Maybe my next challenge will be to try and get Rage back together for another album.
What key qualities do you look for in your employees/team?
At this stage we’re still a growing company and everything we do has a major impact, building the right team couldn’t be more important, for me the number one quality I look for is trust. We’re a small company by design so every employee needs to work independently, do their jobs effectively, raise any issues or concerns, own up to mistakes, and make the right decisions. I need to trust my employees with my business, but it works both ways, they also need to trust me to make the right decisions for the business, which includes them.
Words of advice for others growing their business/for purpose organization?
Keep going, keep fighting. Many nights I went to bed thinking I was going to shut everything down in the morning, then I’d wake up and decide to try one more day. When I first started Similicious I didn’t have permission from any of the Canadian mobile carriers to sell their product and services (I just did it anyway), and for three years it didn’t look like I ever would, but eventually it all worked out and now I’m able to grow the business. Just keep going, keep fighting, if it’s something you believe in.