Recently the Geist initiative, 9 high profile entrepreneurs giving advice to the danish government, was announced. One of the points was that there should be one stop shop for startups to get help (#7 on the list) when expanding abroad. It turns out for the U.S. market there already exists one of these – however not run by the government, but rather privately. Mik Strøyberg was the person involved in this, and it started with Lemonsqueeze, and has evolved further into something called the NYC incubator.
We had a talk with Mik Strøyberg about his experience helping European startups expand into the U.S.
Tell us a little bit about your background:
“I’ve helped Issuu to establish itself in the U.S. – My role was to to help increase traffic, do global PR and Marketing and most importantly close the big brands like the New York Times, Conde Nast, VICE, and get a US presence. After starting the U.S. office, I had more requests from companies who saw the same challenges as Issuu did when it came to entering the U.S. market: how to do it quickly, cost effectively, and with high quality. They didn’t know how to do this, but they could see that the companies that were trying to establish themselves had a hard time getting a foothold and were spending too much time doing it. As an entrepreneur myself, this piqued my interest. Over the next few years I realized there was a real market for facilitating and assisting with this process. I saw no other competitors in the market, so as Issuu continued to run on rails in the U.S., I said my goodbyes and moved on to found Lemonsqueeze, and now the NYC Incubator”
You recently established an office space called NYC Incubator. Tell us a little about that:
“NYC Incubator is a space we created for companies that need help getting started in the U.S.. Having a U.S. address and a flexible workspace means they can have a home base to create their U.S. entity and figure out logistics like where to stay for the long term, how to navigate the tax system, and how to get a VISA. From here, companies can scale. We know how to do all the tasks that typically restrict other companies in their entry. We want the innovative and fast-growing companies in our space to have peace of mind when it comes to the basics so they can have the courage to take the plunge into the U.S. with the support of NYC Incubator”
Who is part of the NYC incubator right now?
“Some of the companies currently working out of here are Loop, TAYLR, LevelK, NPinvestor, Falcon Social, openXO, Nosco and Konstellation”
“We’re probably going to have four companies more by September and then we must wait to take someone in until one of the current companies opts to move to their own office. ”
The NYC Incubator and as well as Lemonsqueeze fits with the advices that the Geist group gave to the Danish Government, their rule #7: “A helping hand on a foreign country”. NYCI and Lemonsqueeze is a private solution, but having a one stop shop in the U.S. is certainly a great option. Something that Mik sees:
“The Foreign Ministry and Danish industry are great on paper but have not given entrepreneurs the sufficient hands-on assistance to create traction and a fast entry and have therefore unfortunately slowed them in their growth!”
Lemonqueeze, how does that fit into it?
“We are not consultants, and we do not provide the type of traditional service that you would find at the for example the Danish Chamber of Commerce. With our clients, our approach is much more hands-on. We are their extended presence in a new market, and represent them as if it were our own business. This means that our clients have the opportunity not only to gain direct insight into the market but also make a genuine sale. We create traction and ensure that they can maintain focus on their core markets while simultaneously receiving valuable knowledge and insight as a base from which to build further U.S. expansion.”
“Lemonsqueeze helps European companies who want their slice of the U.S. market. We create a direct path to gain a foothold in a market that can sometimes be very impenetrable. We realized early on, same as with Issuu, that it’s about insight first and turnover second. Many companies chasing the dream of the U.S. market end up being smacked with a harsh reality. You can have an excellent product or service and little to no competitors in sight, but that won’t get you anywhere without a network of contacts, a U.S. entity, a VISA, a knowledge of recruitment, a tax attorney, a bookkeeper… The list goes on. At Lemonsqueeze, we can make sure everything is as it should be so that valuable time and energy can be focused on what matters.”