New Orlando City Owner Flavio Augusto da Silva got his start back in 1995, with a $10,000 loan and a single idea. At just 21 years old, Silva began his own company- Wise Up. The project’s goal was to, in 18 months time, teach fluent English to adults.
“With the $10,000 from the bank, and a 12% interest/month, I started my company. It ended up becoming a great success.”
18 years later, Wise Up now has over 400 schools operating in five countries, including: Brazil, Argentina, Columbia, China and the United States. Silva recently sold his company for a multi-million dollar sum, turning his attention to his true passion, soccer.
Silva says soccer “is not a future in the U.S., it is a reality.” He believes the beautiful game is becoming one of the most important sports in the United States.
The investment will be used to fund the club’s share of a private/publicly funded multi-purpose soccer stadium in downtown Orlando and the future acquisition of a Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise. Silva says that Central Florida is the best gateway in the United States to grow the game of soccer.
“I found a great team running the club in Orlando with Orlando City SC, as Phil (Rawlins) and John (Bonner) have done a tremendous job getting to where we are now. Orlando is a great city to showcase soccer to the world because it’s one of the most visited cities. It’s the most preferred travel destination for Brazilians.”
When asked about his thoughts on what he thinks the Orlando City brand can become with his added influence, Silva responded “I want to build a strong brand and business behind the field that will make Orlando City a very powerful club.”
Until last week, Flávio Augusto chaired the Ometz Group, with 16 holding companies, including the country’s leading English language schools for adults, Wise Up (FIFA World Cup Sponsor).
On February 7th, the Ometz Group was acquired by Abril Educação, one of Brazil’s largest media companies. Today, Mr. da Silva still leads the Wise Up Group and is also the third largest shareholder in Abril Educação. As part of the acquisition, Mr. da Silva will oversee the development of Abril Educação operations around the world.
Birthplace: Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Favorite Soccer Club: Flamengo (Brazil)
Favorite Sports Brand: Barcelona