The Dane making the Big Apple easy peasy for newcomers

Lemonsqueeze helps put European companies on the map

It’s reached the point for Mik Strøyberg, the founder and CEO of Lemonsqueeze, that launching Danish and European companies in the US market can be compared to giving his friends travel tips.

In 2011 he was working for the digital publishing company Issuu. “I was contacted again and again by companies asking about entering the US market,” he said.

“It was like when friends visit you in New York and ask you which restaurants are good, which bars they should go to and which hotels are the best. You start writing something down. I had the same with companies wanting to enter, so I sat down and I created a method and a system where I could just paint from dot to dot.”

Negotiating the maze
This is how Lemonsqueeze was born. “I went through the entire process, all the dos and don’ts. What you should do to make it as low risk and cost-effective as possible, with the fastest entry as possible,” Strøyberg explained.

“It’s like with everything else – it’s not that difficult when you’ve done it five times, you get smarter after ten, and after 20 you’re a genius.”

But good advice is just part of the package. For companies coming from Europe to New York, it can seem like having to start again from scratch. There is a seemingly endless maze with hoops to go through and hurdles to jump. 

“In the beginning you can’t do anything because you don’t have an entity, you don’t have a company formation, you don’t have a social security number. So it’s impossible,” Strøyberg said.

“So after a year we built another company we called NYC Incubator, which is a mixture between an incubator space and a co-working space, based in Tribeca with a Scandinavian style. When we get new companies in, we make sure that they start out there so we can make sure they follow all the steps and they get through the whole process. Then we help them to their next office.”

Pulling the trigger
One of the companies to have successfully made the leap across the Atlantic with the help of Lemonsqueeze and NYC Incubator is the Danish social media management company Falcon Social. 

“They contacted us on April 1 and they needed an entity, visas, office space, internet, phones, SIM cards, bank accounts, at least four employees and their first demo set up,” he recalled.

“By May 1 we had four employees that we’d hired for them, and set them up in our space. They then set up the first demos within the first week, so they were actually getting the traction to go through. They got their visas, got their entity created and got Falcon Social up and running. We just did everything that they needed.”

According to Strøyberg, his services give clients about a year’s lead-time compared to going it alone. “If you want something done, you just have to pull the trigger and we do it with incredible speed,” he said.

Sales meeting, minus sales
But as well as the formalities of getting established in the US, there are differences in business culture that can be difficult to navigate for Europeans.

“For example, when you have your first sales meeting in the United States, you don’t sell anything,” Stroyberg said.

“The first meeting is about getting to know each other; you almost never just get straight to the point. First you need to build trust. In Denmark you go straight to the point after about five minutes: talk about the weather, straight to the point. When you’re from Europe sometimes you can get too eager. You just jump into this, and then you just get pushed off by the Americans.”

Selling themselves
Recruiting the right people can also be a challenge for Europeans in the Big Apple, as Strøyberg explains.

“In the US, especially when you’re dealing with business and sales managers, they’re so great at selling themselves at a job interview,’’ he said.

“You can easily be fooled because they’re so great at it, but it’s not the same as being great at selling your product, and when it comes to doing the job, they’re not that great at it.”

Lemonsqueeze has accumulated a database of 3,000 professionals who Strøyberg and his team have interviewed. They can offer these names to client customers or ask the network to distribute job descriptions in exchange for a finder’s fee. 

Active entrepreneur
Alongside his business of assisting other entrepreneurs in their American adventures, Strøyberg is an active entrepreneur himself. His latest venture, together with co-founders Christopher Danner and Frederik Cordes, is the online shopping concept Taylr (, which goes live in beta in a few weeks and will be launched in early 2015.

“We created a space where we’ve tried to battle the entire affiliate model,” he explained. 

“Right now people have a tendency to just aggregate different kinds of products and then you get redirected to other sites. What we did with Taylr was to connect all the brands from menswear within a curated session that we chose. So when people visit our site, they can shop as much as they like and for as many items as they want. They check out just once and it will be sent out from all the different brands.”