Being a successful serial entrepreneur requires a combination of abilities and character traits: Innate curiosity, the ability to assess risk, the ability to identify opportunities, the desire to meet customer needs and an informed fearlessness that leads to decisive action.
In this #NomadFuturist interview with Anthony Wanger we get a rare window into the thought process and trajectory of a dynamic IT entrepreneur, whose career journey traversed corporate law, real estate and datacenters, to understand how he achieved success.
Wanger’s combination of business acumen and common sense, his ability to discern value and stay present to changing marketplace conditions has informed his choices and actions in the critical infrastructure space over the last twenty years. With an ability to think outside the box, he is able to see a tremendous and ever-evolving potential to generate revenue in the digital infrastructure space.
Wanger hails from Chicago. As a young corporate lawyer, he joined Sterling Partners, a private Equity firm. There he became aware and committed to the idea of tangible assets. He also became fascinated by the Internet.
“I did not come of age with an IT background, but I threw myself into it because of where I saw the opportunity. I realized that there’s nothing virtual about the virtual world. It’s a collection of tangible assets.”
An opportunity presented itself to acquire a building in Scottsdale, Arizona. Wanger decided to strike out on his own and started a business with two engineering partners, financing, developing and operating a large-scale data center complex and carrier hotel. They grew the business successfully staying on top of trends and consistently pivoting to the next opportunity.
They ultimately sold the business in 2006 and in 2007 Wanger launched a second company IO Data Centers.
Wanger discusses his absolute commitment to customer service.
“The reason we were successful in the data center space is that we were obsessed with customers, period, full stop! … If you are really good to your customers, they’ll grow with you.”
Wagner talks about the huge transformation created by the pandemic, how it has forced near universal acceptance of and reliance on the digital world. “I think we are underestimating where this is headed and how great the demand is.”
At this point he sees that the risk is in not being in the technology space.
“It’s never too late to pivot towards the future!”
He advises young people starting out to keep a book of lessons learned on every deal and interaction.
His parting recommendation:
“Find people that you love and that you want to work with where you don’t mind their bad days and they don’t mind your bad days and you’re just all in it together. That is the key to success!”
Anthony Wanger is a 3X founder, serial entrepreneur, operator and investor with a record of accomplishments in the digital infrastructure market. His many successes include the founding of IO, a pioneer in modular data centers, which was acquired by Iron Mountain in 2018. Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Wanger is a frequent speaker at CAPRE and other industry events. He holds a J.D. from Boston University School of Law and a B.A. in Political Science from Emory University.