By Natalie Visvardi
He embodies the ultimate example of a self-made businessman. A first generation entrepreneur, Miltos Kambourides directed his personal success story chasing challenges and success.
With a personality that proves to be more interesting than you realize at first, he demands to excel in everything and speaks about the important steps of a very successful course, which is just at its beginning.
Had you considered a career in business from a young age?
It was quite evident that I was ambitious from a young age.The question was how my ambition would manifest itself. Initially, I had turned to science. I wanted to conquer the world of science; I was thinking of going to NASA or something similar. In the process, I realized that the world of business had to offer even more and fast-paced action and it was then that I turned to that. I do not come from a business family, so this was a great challenge.
What led you to businesses?
MIT was a key qualification for entering the world of business. It was the passport. Initially, I was employed by Goldman Sachs, where I worked for 2 years and then by George Soros, where I stayed for five years. Both jobs were a huge experience for me and gave me the opportunity to meet very prominent and successful people.
How did the idea of Dolphin Capital Investors come about?
When I came to “explore” Greece in 2002, I found that there is no integrated leisure real estate, as a product.There was gap niche market for complete complexes with villas, luxury resorts, marinas, etc., similar to those that exist in other places. I was presented with a huge opportunity. I left Soros along with my former colleague Pierre; we formed the business plan, we began to collect funds, became a listed company in the London Stock Exchange and finally in two years time we had collected nearly one billion euros.
What exactly is the purpose of Dolphin Capital Investors? What are its objectives today?
Our group’s flagship is Dolphin Capital Investors, which now constitutes the biggest real estate investment company, listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange. Since its establishment in 2005, DCI has acquired an equity of 884 million euros with a net current internal value that exceeds 1.4 billion euros. In addition, it is one of the largest private owners of coastal land in Greece and Cyprus, while having invested in Turkey, Croatia, Panama and Domicican Republic. Our goal is to improve the quality of tourist and residential products in the countries we invest.
Besides Dolphin, your activities extend to other areas as well?
Dolphin is my main business activity; however, I participate in various business schemes in the financial sector and the catering sector and in collaboration with the Ioannou family, I recently bought the Doxiadis building in Kolonaki, which we will convert to a leading complex of luxury residences, which we call One Athens.
What exactly does the project One Athens involve?
One Athens is a luxurious complex of 25 apartments in the area of Kolonaki in central Athens, in the former Doxiadis office building. This is a complex of high standards and integrated services unlike any other in Greece.The apartments of One Athens were designed one by one to meet all the specific requirements of modern housing.
Do you always set high targets?
In 1997, even before graduating, I went for an interview at Coldman Sachs. I had never worked before. I was asked, therefore, the typical question: were do you see yourself in five to ten years? I said that I would like to have a fund that invests in integrated leisure resor ts in the Eastern Mediterranean. My boss then laughed. Dolphin was created with mathematical precision. Going after your wishes is a philosophy of life. After all, all I have done until now are things I had dreamed of before. Like the way I dreamed my life, my travels, my home. Even my wife, Marina, is exactly what I had imagined.When I decided to get married, I had absolutely no doubts, as in my mind I already had her as an ideal model.
Is there a constant value in your life?
I have a strong sense of justice. Of course, life is not fair, but we have to do our best and fight injustice. If you have no sense of justice you become disoriented and end up in a dead end.You become unjust and irreverent, and ultimately this bad karma comes back to you.
Do you expose to business risks?
I take calculated risks. I want to know the good and worst case scenarios. I take chances only when the odds are in my favour. If not, then I have no reason to risk, because I have more chances to win what I want through prudent work than by risking.
How do you react in extreme situations?
In extreme situations, I never lose my temper. I operate more efficiently.When I know I am under pressure then I’m more focused. I do not seek such situations, but I think that we one makes a difference based on how they react under such circumstances.
What qualities should a good executive have?
One has to be able to handle many issues at the same time. I think I can, to a large extent. I strive to be in non-stop creative mode. Without any action I grow bored.
Do you always work under pressure?
How do you relax?
I can’t let go of the throttle easily. My ambition
is stronger than my body’s need to relax. I only
relax with my family. Five minutes with my children
are enough to get away from everything.
Could you be anything else except a businessman?
If I were not a businessman, I’d be a scientist. The use of reason and the fact that you are your own boss are decisive for me. I would always, however, seek to be at the top in my field.
What was your recent big success?
Without doubt the birth of my son George, who along with his older sister Demilia and my wife Marina, are a source of strength, energy and balance in my life.
You are a city person…
I am a fan of Kolonaki. Here I find it all.This is very important when it comes to saving time.Time is the only resource that cannot be replenished.
What are your favourite routes in Athens?
I love walks in Kolonaki and Lycabettus Hill. When I am in Athens, because, unfortunately, I am often abroad, my day is spent in my office in Voukourestiou Street. In the evenings, I am a regular at the Japanese restaurant Inbi on Heraklitou Street, in which I have invested and I believe is one of the best in Athens. I love walks on foot or on my motorbike in Kolonaki or the Acropolis.