Instingo fails to appear in the Middle East

Broken promises, no offices & no phone number point to no show from e-consultants

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  March 19, 2002

|~||~||~|E-consultant company, Instingo, announced its ambitious plans for the Middle East late last July at the German-Arab Business Forum in Berlin. The company claimed to have already secured several projects in the region and gained the confidence of “many Arab ministries.” Furthermore, it was set to capitalise on the region’s market potential and open a string of offices throughout the Gulf.

“Instingo is fully committed and totally focused on providing its e-consultancy services to the Middle East. We will be opening our office in Dubai Internet City (DIC) within the next two weeks and plan to open additional offices in Lebanon, Egypt and Bahrain before the end of this year,” said the company’s then Middle East managing director, Jamil Ezzo.

“Our operation in Dubai will consist of 10 consultants, experts in the field of IT and the region’s unique work environment… Our operation will [also] be backed by our German successes and experiences in the fields of e-government, e-tourism, e-commerce, e-learning, e-library and virtual city hall,” he added.

Since then Ezzo has left Instingo and the company is yet to open its headquarters at DIC. Sources from within the technology free zone say that the company first requested 1,500 square feet of office space before changing its order to 300 square feet. A few months ago, Instingo had lowered its sights to a presence in First Steps, DIC’s incubator ward.

Whether or not the e-consultants ever take up residence in the Middle East is open to debate. Industry sources say that the company “has gone bust” and that its German ‘business angel’ has withdrawn his backing.

Certainly no trace of the company can be found within the UAE. In addition to failing to show at DIC, Etisalat has no telephone number for a company called Instingo. The company’s web site has been down throughout February and e-mails sent to senior management have been returned undelivered. Repeated telephone calls to the company’s German headquarters have not been connected while chief executive officer, Anas Chbib, has failed to return voicemails.

In fact, the only evidence of Instingo making its way to the Gulf is its debt. The company owes money to two local public relations agencies for work carried out last year and neither agency is overly hopeful about getting its money back.

ACN’s industry source is unsurprised by Instingo’s no show in the region. He explains that the company had the wrong mindset from the start. “They thought that they knew it all and that the market here would simply take their services on because they were coming from Germany. You could say it was arrogant,” he says.

In addition, he points to the fact that the local e-consultant market was already competitive and global companies were already experiencing a high level of success.
“I think the primary flaw with Instingo was that they were not ahead of the curve, but in fact a late bloomer. Accenture, Arthur Andersen, Oracle, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers were not already just present on the ground, but they were servicing clients… Instingo could not compete on such a scale,” he says.||**||

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