Innovation, the kind that helps solve real societal problems, supports economic growth and sustains the environment, drives the work of Hamid Akbari, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Business and Information Technology. With an entrepreneurial mindset, his multidisciplinary research agenda blends technology and engineering with business, strategy and commercialization. His latest invention is helping thousands of drivers save time and money through a unique carpooling app called Blancride.
The platform matches passengers with drivers who share the same travel needs and works through smartphones including iPhones and Androids as a customized message board. Before setting out on a route, the app automatically balances the costs between each passenger and driver, offering an affordable and environmentally friendly commuter option that helps curb fuel, insurance and maintenance costs with fewer vehicles on the road. So far, the existing platform supports 10,000 carpooling users including passengers and drivers. Dr. Akbari’s latest research focuses on the commercialization and expansion of his technology platform to power the technology used by major enterprises and logistics companies that require delivery and more efficient transportation in Canada or the United States.
A self-starter and expert in international management with a focus on emerging markets, Dr. Akbari has formed multiple, software development and investment-based companies while completing graduate studies. He brings entrepreneurial expertise in building telecom platforms to improve process efficiencies. He also gained extensive industry experience as a manager and consultant with several international firms.
He earned his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering and his Master of Business Administration both at Sharif University of Technology in Iran. With an aptitude for business, he ranked in the top one per cent in Iran’s national MBA entrance exam, and ranked 2nd in his graduating class. He completed his Doctorate in Strategic Management at the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto in 2012.
On the community front, Dr. Akbari has served as Director of the Board of Governors and Executive Committee of Promoting Economic Action and Community Health (PEACH), a not-for-profit, Toronto-based organization that provides transformative, youth-centred, social and educational programs for marginalized youth and their families.
Industry Expertise (8)
International Trade and Development
Information Technology and Services
Areas of Expertise (5)
Commercialization of Innovation
Innovation and Knowledge Flows
International Mergers and Acquisitions
Finalist, Academy of International Business Dissertation Award (professional)
Dr. Akbari received numerous accolades for his dissertation Internationalization and Performance of Emerging Market Firms: Institutional Embeddedness in Advanced Economies. A finalist for the Peter J. Buckley and Mark Casson Academy of International Business Dissertation Award in 2013, his paper based on his dissertation was also a finalist for the Academy of Management GWU-CIBER Best Paper on Emerging Markets Award in the same year.
Schulich School of Business, York University: PhD, Strategic Management 2012
Sharif University of Technology: MBA, Business Administration 2004
Ranked 2nd in the graduating class of 2004, and 27th among 10,000 applicants (Top 1%) in Iran’s national MBA entrance exam (2002).
Sharif University of Technology: BSc, Industrial Engineering 2001
Ranked 98th among 500,000 applicants (Top 0.1%) in Iran’s national university entrance exam (1995)
Media Appearances (1)
UOIT's Dr. Hamid Akbari creates innovative carpooling app for commuters
UOIT News online
Fuel and insurance costs, parking fees, vehicle upkeep, traffic congestion, weather conditions and sheer time spent on the road. No matter how you slice it, commuting by car in the GTA tests every driver’s patience. And it certainly takes a toll on the pocketbook. One way motorists can get around the financial roadblock of commuting is to share costs by setting up a carpool. But even getting a carpool off the ground can be a trying task: how do you find people who are going where you are? How do you know where to meet someone? What if schedules change?
Research Grants (1)
Market Readiness Award
Ontario Centres of Excellence $125000
This research grant support the commercialization of Dr. Akbari’s innovative platform to improve transportation efficiency among transit and delivery companies including Metrolinx, Purolator and Canada Post.
The world is fascinated with emerging market (EM) firms that are starting to establish a global presence. These are firms that have been able to survive and grow despite various “institutional voids” (Khanna & Palepu, 1997) in their home countries and have managed to attract the capital and talent necessary to start internationalizing. Nevertheless, they often lag behind global competitors in brand names, innovation processes, technology, and management systems. Many of these EM firms are searching for ways to catch up by making acquisitions in advanced economies (Madhok & Keyhani, 2012). My research suggests that tapping into the benefits of superior institutional environments (Chan, Isobe, & Makino, 2008) may be a primary driver of international acquisitions, and that an EM firm’s capacity to absorb learning from the more complex and developed institutional environment determines the performance outcomes.
Although foreign direct investment outflows from emerging economies have skyrocketed in the past few years, reaching $388 billion in 2010, there are few large-sample, cross-industry studies analyzing the international expansion of emerging-economy firms into advanced economies. Drawing on insights gained from the internationalization and institutional theory, this study examines the key characteristics and performance implications of this international expansion using the longitudinal data of 9,935 firms, from 27 different countries, which span 78 different industry groups and dates back to 1977. We propose that access to superior institutional infrastructure might be a primary driver of internationalization, and that an emerging-economy firm’s capacity to absorb learning from the more complex and developed institutional environment determines the performance outcomes.