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Digital agency Nansen thrives on U.S. partnerships

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Digital strategy and marketing agency Nansen followed a Swedish partner firm to the U.S. With Business Sweden’s early and ongoing support, Nansen could focus on their core capabilities and rapidly expand in Chicago and New York City.

Nansen delivers web solutions to support and streamline its customers' business operations and communications. In short, they help customers to use their websites in the best way, taking into account customers’ specific preferences and needs. Among its many capabilities, the company specializes in the EPiServer platform, and when EPiServer moved to the U.S., Nansen jumped at the opportunity to follow their partner on an international expansion. Working with Business Sweden helped make Nansen’s global aspirations a reality.

In the summer of 2009, however, the U.S. market was essentially a mystery to Nansen. Their primary needs were therefore to gain a sufficient market understanding, to find local partners whose services complemented Nansen’s competencies, and to identify new business opportunities.

Business Sweden conducted an analysis to scan the market for suitable partners. After a number of potential contacts were identified, Nansen’s leadership team proceeded with a visiting program to Chicago.

"The challenge, the potential and the opportunity to be involved in starting up something new made a venture like ours very interesting," says Jonathan Petersson, co-founder of Nansen.

The main initial challenge for Nansen was starting from zero while learning about the U.S. business environment and how it differs from Sweden’s. Business Sweden helped facilitate that transition, enabling Nansen the chance to become a key player in the Chicago market and beyond.

Focus on your core business

Jonathan says that Business Sweden’s administrative support in Chicago – including bookkeeping – made it possible for Nansen to focus on their core business. In order to respond immediately to an influx of new customer assignments, Nansen chose to entrust several practical things to Business Sweden throughout their market entry process.

Before Nansen moved to Chicago, they also used Business Sweden’s incorporation services to legally establish their U.S. company. Once in Chicago, Nansen rented space in Business Sweden’s office, enabling them to receive assistance with the administration on the spot, before ultimately moving onto their own space. Within five years, Nansen would also establish their second U.S. office, in New York City.

Embracing a new “home” market

Jonathan points out that Chicago suits the company well. The metropolitan area has roughly the same population as the whole of Sweden, as the market is large. From a cost perspective, Chicago has been relatively affordable in comparison to many other places in the United States, and communicating with Sweden is easy, despite the distance. And, as for Nansen’s new life in the U.S., Jonathan is very enthusiastic:

“It’s great! Chicago is a very nice city. It has been easy to feel at home both socially and in the office. Sharing offices with Business Sweden was a key ingredient, as we got the chance to meet both Swedes and Americans. That might not have been possible to the same extent if we had gotten our own office and sat by ourselves.”

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Anders Olsson

Head of Office New York Head of Office, New York
+1 212 507 9003