On completion of his studies at MIT, Boston, where he acquired Bachelors and Masters Degrees in engineering and mathematics, Kambourides knew that, despite his love of science, he would be entering the investment and business fund sector: “I was convinced it would be the next big challenge”, he told IN Business International.
He first joined Goldman Sachs, working on its Whitehall Fund, before having the good luck (as he calls it) to be employed by George Soros, along with three others, in launching Soros Real Estate Partners. “He then gave us $200 million and we raised $800 million more, which we then invested successfully around the globe”, he says.
It was while looking at Athens that Kambourides realised that the property sector, and particularly residential real estate, was unexploited in comparison with what was happening in other Mediterranean countries such as Spain and Portugal.
“I decided to leave Soros and, along with Pierre Charalambides, founded Dolphin Capital Partners in 2004 and Dolphin Capital Investors in 2005”, he recalls.
Most Cypriot enterpreneurs first head about their remarkable young compatriot in 2007, following Dolphin’s acquisition of one of the island’s biggest property companies, Aristo Developers. The €289 million deal, which constituted the biggest-ever acquisition of a public company for cash in Cyprus, enhanced Kambourides’ reputation as one of the most prominent figures in the global property sector. Property Week magazine ranks him sixth on the list of the 100 rising stars under 35 who are expected to dominate the global property market in the next five years. This distinction comes as recognition for the work of Dolphin, says Kambourides, noting that the acquisition of Aristo Developers was significant for the company since it came with many years of precious expertise and experience.
Kambourides has become something of a hero to the vast majority of young enterpreneurs, especially for those in the property sector, but he has heroes of his own. He points to Wesley Edens, founder and CEO of the Fortress Investment Group, one of the most successful investment groups worldwide.
“He started from scratch many years ago and, through hard work, he has achieved excellent things. His friendship and support for Dolphin have been invaluable”, he says.
Outside the realm of business, Miltos Kambourides admires his own parents who, he says, taught him the art of thinking freely and sensibly. This, together with hard work and a good education, is what he sees as the key to his success. “I never wanted to lean on others or to rely on luck. I decided when I was just a child that I would invest in myself, use my own abilities. Two aspects of my character that have helped me to succeed are being organised and having ambition”.
One unexpected development in the Kambourides story was when he became hugely famous in Greece, but not due to his business acumen. The media frenzy was all because of his marriage to the “love of his life” Marina, the daughter of Greek enterpreneur George Vernicos. The couple have two children.