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News > Who's Who > Dimitris Georgakopoulos, Class of 1993

Dimitris Georgakopoulos, Class of 1993

Meet the ACS Athens Alum Jumpstarting a Greek Social Impact Renaissance 
After 30 Years in the U.S., Dimitris Georgakoupoulos Is Back in Greece to Empower Those Doing Good
After 30 Years in the U.S., Dimitris Georgakoupoulos Is Back in Greece to Empower Those Doing Good

Although he did not know it then, 1991 was a pivotal year for Dimitris Georgakopoulos. It was the first year Greek citizens could attend ACS Athens without having to meet diplomatic, military, or expat qualifications, and it was the year he left the Greek system of schooling to attend ACS Athens as one of those first 15 Greek students. Joining a community of 30 or so nationalities (at the time), he remembers feeling like a minority in a very diverse and inclusive environment. 

“I was too young to appreciate it at the time, but in hindsight, the diversity that surrounded me at ACS Athens opened my eyes,” he recalls. 

In addition to “doubling down” academically on his strengths in science, math, and computers, Dimitri jumped into the American educational experience with electives and extracurriculars like photography, volleyball, tennis, and Greek club. 

As graduation neared, he had his eyes set on the East Coast (of the United States) for college as he wanted to continue his experience with the American educational system, but be as close to Greece as geographically possible. Ultimately, this factor, along with a financial scholarship, drew him to Providence College in Rhode Island where he majored in finance and computer science and minored in economics. 

Although he was prepared academically, he still remembers the culture shock that came with the trans-Atlantic move from bustling Athens to quiet Providence. Interestingly, Dimitri credits his teenage years in Athens, full of cross-city bus rides and teenage outings, for preparing him with more independence than teenagers in the U.S. may have experienced at the same age. 

After completing his undergraduate studies, Mr. Georgakopoulos joined the world of consulting, first at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and then Publicis Sapient, taking on projects that required him to learn new and diverse industries. Although those early professional years offered tremendous learning, one of his biggest lessons came with the dot-com bust in 2001 and 2002, when he realized that climbing the traditional corporate ladder could leave you exposed to economic downturns and corporate reshuffling. 

That realization became the catalyst that inspired Dimitri to create something of his own, which despite the initial risk, would offer long-term security. Not only was his insight accurate, but ultimately ended up being more lucrative than he ever dreamed of, but only with patience, hard work and perseverance. 

In 2004, Mr. Georgakopoulos along with two friends and partners, established Buildium, utilizing their experience in consulting, finance, and computer technology. With Buildium, they identified an underserved niche in property management and created a SaaS solution to streamline operations for property owners who previously did not have access to the type of management tools. Even though the idea and market were ripe for the solution, it took the team five years to grow the company enough so that they could pay themselves and hire a staff. In the decade that followed, Dimitri and his partners steadily grew the company and positioned themselves favorably to benefit from the growth, which they did when property management giant Real Page bought Buildium in 2019. 

The sale of Buildium came at a time when Dimitri and his wife were considering moving back to Greece and establishing a foundation.

“With the sale of the company, we made a choice to operate from a place of ‘enough’,” Mr. Georgakopoulos explained. “I felt that I had much more to offer to Greece than to America. I always wanted to return to my homeland, so the sale was the catalyst to make the move happen.”

A few months later, as the world shut down in response to Covid, Dimitri and his wife Sarah established a philanthropic initiative, the Helidoni Foundation, to focus on giving back to society by empowering those solving significant social and environmental problems, primarily in Greece. 

Today, the Helidoni Foundation supports investments in charitable, educational, and scientific enterprises promoting renewal and progress by nurturing philanthropic and social impact ventures from ideation to viability. By providing funding and incubation opportunities, Helidoni hopes to spark sustainable growth of a new generation of socially-beneficial enterprises. Specifically, the Helidoni Foundation supports a growing list of mission-first organizations whose work is improving the community in three meaningful ways, including civic service, environmental sustainability, and social impact. 

In offering advice to ACS Athens seniors of the Class of 2024 during the recent ACS Athens Global Alumni Insight Session, Mr. Georgakopoulos shared his approach for near-term goal setting. 

“Looking back, I realize that there are a series of three to five year spans where I first asked myself ‘what does success look like’ and then worked on reaching that goal. My first goal was going to a school that would help me succeed, which meant I traveled to the U.S. by myself and focused on school.”

Today, through the work of the Helidoni Foundation, as well as through Zeno Capital, an investment firm he established to invest in Greek projects with a positive social impact, Mr. Georgakopoulos is actively working to foster and empower organizations at the intersection of entrepreneurism and philanthropy, which he feels holds great promise not only for young people, but also for Greece.  He shares Patagonia as an example of a company embodying the power of steward ownership, a concept he is hoping to see take root in Greece, as well as Ecosia, the search engine that uses ad revenue to fund tree-planting.

As young people increasingly look toward careers where they can make a positive impact, Mr. Georgakopoulos offers this tip:

“Look at the mission and purpose of the company you are considering and determine why this entity exists. If it exists to maximize profits or extricate resources, and you are looking to make a positive impact, then that is not the match you want.”

When it comes to conscious global citizenship, Mr. Georgakopoulos’ intent to spark a purpose-oriented renaissance in Greece is reflected best in his actions as he is putting his experience, his talent and his money to work to help Greek organizations and businesses thrive while creating positive social impact.

Simply put, he is talking the talk and walking the walk. 

As alumni, we are proudly cheering him on and excited to see many organizations, companies and communities succeed thanks to his leadership and support. 

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