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The AstroLabs Community Member Features bring to you exciting stories about the journeys of the inspiring entrepreneurs who are part of our Coworking Space at JLT. We’d like to introduce Dimitri Antoine, CEO & Senior Business Intelligence Consultant at Ekkio.
Would you like to introduce yourself?
My name is Dimitri Antoine, I’m 43 years old and I’m the CEO & Senior Business Intelligence Consultant at Ekkio. Having lived in Dubai from 2014-2016, when the pandemic hit the world last year I decided to move out of France and set up my company in Dubai through AstroLabs last December.
Tell us a little bit about your company.
Ekkio is a data consultancy company and we specialize in data visualization, Business Intelligence, and Big Data. We work with companies to find automatic tools to guide managers to make better decisions. I’ve been working in data for the past 20 years and I have experience working with companies in all industries. We’re currently on a big project for the French Government and there are lots of exciting projects in the pipeline for us.
With your 20 year experience in data, what initially attracted you to the field?
Ironically, I didn’t choose data. My first job was with Total, the big energy, oil and gas tycoon, as a business strategist. In fact, when I was in business school, the data scientist role was on the rise. Everyone was speaking about it and applying for it. At the time, I never thought that I would enter into the field as most jobs required you to move to a foreign country. So I thought to myself “I’m never leaving my friends, I’m never going to work for a big company and I’ll never start my own company.” 13 years later, here we are!
So as an entrepreneur, what brought you to Dubai?
That’s actually a funny story! Love brought me to Dubai. Throughout my career, I had received many offers from firms to work in Dubai and I never accepted any. And then in 2013, I met a girl from Dubai who wanted me to come meet her parents over Christmas so naturally I said yes. And when I came here, I fell in love immediately; with the city, the energy, the hospitality and the mindset of people. And I’ve never looked back.
So having called both France and Dubai home, What is one thing you could take from one and give to the other?
From Dubai, I would definitely bring the entrepreneurial mindset. The way the country functions is incredible. Dubai is run like one of the most well managed companies in the world. From France, I would bring the 700 year old rich French history to add a tinge of spice into this young country.
What led you to AstroLabs?
When I decided to set up my company in Dubai, I was sure of the fact that I didn’t want a mainland company as the maintenance costs are extremely high. Having learnt from experience, I decided to look into free zones to set up my company in. As I came close to finalizing the DMCC Freezone, I heard about AstroLabs and the company set up program. After exploring the community and speaking to the team, there wasn’t any doubt left in my mind.
What is the next goal for you for 2021?
The remote working environment that COVID has brought about brings with it the possibility of hires from all across the globe. Currently, I have a small team of 3 people working out of France and myself individually working from Dubai. I’m looking to hire more people here in Dubai or in the MENA region. I might even bring out some of my team members from France to join me in Dubai. My main goal for the latter half of the year is to primarily grow my team and build my brand within the region.
As someone with 20 years of experience in Data, what advice would you give someone who is looking to start their career in the field?
The best advice that I would give is that they should never hesitate. If you want to create something, go for it. If you want to explore something entirely different, go for it. The idea will only contribute to so much if don’t adapt the ‘Let’s do it’ mindset. Lastly, you should always be focused on the customer’s needs and learn at every opportunity you get.
In the past 6 months at the AstroLabs Community, what are the 3 things you like most about it?
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