An Interview to Karim, Co-Founder of Advancio.
By challenge.ma – Noréddine El Abbassi
His life has always spun around science and technology. Still in his thirties and having worked for the same company all his career Karim now leads a distributed company between, the US, Morocco, and Mexico.
Karim Jernite is an “Arquetipe”, he is the Moroccan that came to the US to study, and ten years later he is leading his own company. He is a “self-made man” in the purest American way, this confirms once more that we are in “The land of opportunity”. “The meeting”, a videoconference we had, show a Karim at the purest Californian developer style, blue shirt, a perpetual “Casual Friday” look, trimmed beard and high front. We can just imagen the fresh and clean smell of his office, his presence screams ” Cool Boss”, you can also tell that he is close to his colleagues and pushes to live their capacities. When we spoke about his success, he showed his humility always saying thanks for the luck that has helped him along the way. Even thou luck may be a factor, we know that luck means “knowing how to take advantage of any opportunity”.
Karim was born in Casablanca, “La Belle”, as he likes to call it. His father, a qualified technician, works as a mechanic for heavy machinery. During Karim’s family, spend some time living in the central district called Maârif, then they moved to Aïn Sebaâ, the later was a remote location and had an economy based on industry. It’s here at Aïn Sebaâ were most of Karim’s childhood memories would be made, surrounded by two younger brothers and an attentive mother. “The hood was mainly habited by middle-class people. On top of that, it wasn’t a coincidence that the teachers union bought some land for its members”, he mentions. It was common in this hood to share a tuna sandwich or harissa ( tu Oul hrorr), after a friendly game of soccer with his friends. Karim mentions that his mother was always watching his friends with a “magnifying glass”. ” My mother saved me from doing something really stupid”, he explains with a smile on his face, and adds: ” I love my mom”. Most of Karim education came from the public system, however, some of it came from private schools, ” It was necessary to set the foundation of the french language. My father had two main concerns: that we comprehend foreign languages and were good at math. For him it did not matter if we coursed high school if it wasn’t with a focus on math.”, he shares, accepting his father’s words.
The Student Years
Premonitory this childhood of “handyman”, perhaps a “heritage” of his own father. Who fully lives his trade and as it should be, with many tools available at home. Karim is passionate about technical activity and discovers an aptitude for the repair of electronic equipment: “My father advised me in my repairs and told me which products to use while leaving me the latitude to learn by myself. I was fixing the “video”, the parable that had just appeared ”, he recalls, a radiant smile on his lips and filled with gratitude towards this character. An “old-fashioned engineer” is what we want to say. Karim was only 14 years old when his vocation for the space industry took shape: “Who says space, or aerospace, says the USA, for studies. I told my father about it, from that moment. The latter, who became the company’s Technical Director, knew how to do more and fight to allow his children to complete their studies. So he started his own business, around the same time I was going to the United States, ”he recalls. Back in the pocket, Karim flies to California.
It was 1998 when he put his luggage on the West Coast with a friend. A great opportunity, since barely 17 years old, all alone, he could not even rent a hotel room.
Entrepreneur “out of line”
At the beginning of his studies, Karim faces a disappointment: the registrations for space engineering were closed. He then turned to Computer Engineering, without being at the end of his troubles. “My father certainly sent me money for school fees. The minimum number of courses was 5, but obtaining a diploma required 8. However, the Exchange Office did not authorize the transfer of the difference. So I had to do odd jobs to deal with the situation, ”he explains. Karim is called upon to do small jobs, including that of a “diver”, in restaurant kitchens. The opportunity to learn the Spanish language, in contact with the “Latin” community in the back kitchens. He also gives private lessons to high school students.
In 2001, an opportunity arose when Saudi classmates recruited him from their start-up, Uniwords. The concept was innovative since it proposed to introduce “keywords” in search engines. The company takes off quickly, but on September 11 stops its ascent and puts an end to the dream of becoming a millionaire in Silicon Valley and to make the “front pages of Wired Magazine”: “From then on, Muslims find themselves persecuted. Especially the Saudis, who, for the most part, had to leave the USA ”, he regrets, given the magnitude of the repercussions of this American national drama. However, in 2002, Karim was recruited by an Insurance Company, as responsible for the information system. The small business will grow, and Karim’s entire career in the USA will be linked to this group, which multiplies by 40 its size, and in which he will gradually become Manager, then Director of the Information System. “The software developed in my time is still in place today. I didn’t even have my Bachelor’s, and I worked in IT. They are the managers of this same company, who “sponsored” me to obtain my Green Card. I stayed with them for 12 years ”, he reveals.
Personally, Karim opted for a “stable” life from 2008, when he married. A year later will see the birth of his first child. “A year after the birth of our child, my wife wanted to start working again. But corporate life in the USA is very demanding. So I suggested that she started her own business. After reflection, she embarked on Business Consulting. Since 2004, I had bought the “domain name” Advancio.com and I dreamed of starting my own business, ”he explains. The couple quickly won Information Technology Consulting contracts, and Karim saw himself participating in the firm’s activity. Then in 2013, the entrepreneurial couple took the measure of the opportunity of Outsourcing. Everything goes on naturally. Karim’s ambition is to live between Morocco and America, and with the help of his brother, he opened a branch in Casablanca. A second offshoring subsidiary will be created in Mexico, his wife’s country of origin. Since then, Advancio has invested in talent promotion events in Morocco. “When I am retired, my ambition will be to have a school to teach programming to young and old,” he says, laughing. A cool boss who hasn’t forgotten where he’s from.
The original Interview can be found in: https://www.challenge.ma/consultant-it-entrepreneur-entre-le-maroc-les-usa-et-le-mexique-56290/