Mr. X has a strong educational background, with Master degrees in Math, Physics, Organic Chemistry and Statistics, and a doctorate in Economics (Game Theory). He finished his doctorate in 1991, and has taught economics and strategy at Harvard. After completing his doctorate, he went to work for the National Bank of Paris where he established and built a substantial department handling special financing for corporations. During that time, he was heavily involved with putting together the EuroDisney package.
While working at the National Bank of Paris, Mr. X took an interest in the various countries and economies emerging from the former Soviet Union. He started Eurostep with a former schoolmate who was Russian and who spent a great deal of time in Harvard's Russian Department. As a result of this time, the associate had a great many contacts with Russian diplomats and professors, and others who would be valuable to the new venture.
Initially, Mr. X maintained his position with the National Bank of Paris and Eurostep concentrated on consulting with French companies doing business in Russia. The niche at this point was that between the two principals of Eurostep, they had the combined experience and contacts to be valuable as consultants to the French companies. In addition, serving as consultants required little start-up capital (the company was started with 10,000 francs) since the large companies would provide whatever finance was necessary. Since the consultants mainly sold their time and expertise, there was little needed in the way of capital financing; such would not have been the case if the company focused on manufacturing or import/export. Initially, the company's Russian offices were located in the Russian apartment of Mr. X's girlfriend.
Shortly after Eurostep was established, the company was confronted with a business problem that turned into a significant opportunity. The problem was a project in the Russi...