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Trying to Turn Carriers and Retailers Into Google: Azzimov CEO Benoît l’Archevêque (Part 1)

Posted on Friday, Mar 14th 2014

We normally only feature companies that have proven concepts in the Entrepreneur Journeys series. This concept, however, is not entirely proven. It is interesting and bold.

Sramana Mitra: Benoit, where are you from? Where were you born and raised? Give us some back story of the Azzimov journey.

Benoît l’Archevêque: It’s a rather peculiar story because I’m a French Canadian. I come from a very low class family from Montreal, Canada. I was actually raised by a plumber and my mother was a Customs Officer – very creative people but not really much into businesses. I was surrounded by people that never really did anything to create a company. They’re not entrepreneurs. I come from a weird place where I didn’t know, at a young age, what an entrepreneur was. The only thing I wanted to do in life was cartoons. I studied Art.

Sramana Mitra: All you wanted to do was cartoons?

Benoît l’Archevêque: Yes, doing cartoons.

Sramana Mitra: That’s why the company is called Azzimov. Now I get it.

Benoît l’Archevêque: I wanted to tell stories. Since I was seven, I was actually drawing comic books and inventing stories. I was going to be the biggest and the most famous cartoonist in the world. That’s my background.

Sramana Mitra: Did you do college in Canada?

Benoît l’Archevêque: Yes, I did all my schooling in Canada. I was a good student but not really the best. When I was 14 years old, I wanted to do programming. I remember buying my ColecoVision. I worked at farms during the summers. I took all of my money and bought this 80K computer for $440. I was trying to do animation using a computer. It’s really ludicrous that I was going to be able to do something with an 80K computer. I did learn to teach myself how to do my calculations and maths. I tried to come up with some formulas to be able to make things move around by itself. I was writing line by line in my code. I was not good at all, for one reason. I hate to debug. When I had to go to school, I decided to go with Arts because at that time, there was no school for computers in Montreal. I studied Graphic Arts but was always interested in programming and communication. I’m a serial entrepreneur. Azzimov is actually my eighth company.

Sramana Mitra: Eighth company? Wow!

Benoît l’Archevêque: I’m still running those eight companies. Usually when I see a problem, I don’t say, “Oh, no. Not another problem.” I usually say, “Yes, another problem. How am I going to be able to solve that?” I have this attitude of looking at things from a different angle. I did work for an advertising agency. I was a Creative Director and Art Director. I won a lot of prizes. I even won prizes at the New York Film Festival. I won bronze there for different commercials I did.

Sramana Mitra: When you came out of college, what happened?

Benoît l’Archevêque: When I came out of college, I actually became a billboard artist. I was a portraitist. I was one of the three artists in Montreal who was doing that. Two years later, the company was shutting down, so I shifted to advertising. I worked in advertising for four years. I started my company the day I was fired. On Wednesday night, I was signing for my first mortgage. The day after, I lost my job.

This segment is part 1 in the series : Trying to Turn Carriers and Retailers Into Google: Azzimov CEO Benoît l'Archevêque
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