Want a new office? Here you can just plug in and play
What's the secret to taking a new business global? The Local talks to one Stockholm entrepreneur about how flexible office space became an 'integral part' of his company's international expansion.
Mikael Bramstedt is a hard man to get a hold of.
If he’s not stuck in meetings, webcaming with developers or jetting from one country to another to meet new clients, you might be lucky to catch a glimpse of the energetic CEO at a well-appointed office in central Stockholm.
“Sweden is one of the best countries in the world to be innovative,” he says. “The path from idea to getting a start-up to market is really short.”
He’s speaking from experience. Mikael, a veteran of the travel and tech industries, is no stranger to the break-neck pace of growth that characterizes many Stockholm startups.
A few years ago, he and a partner branched off to found West India Technologies, which develops business-to-business web and mobile apps.
“It’s always been our ambition to expand globally,” he explains. And that’s exactly what happened in 2015 when his company developed the GolfSki World app, a community platform that allows golfers and skiers to share information and visualize their golf and ski adventures via a mobile app.
Fast forward two years and Mikael now finds himself managing a rapidly expanding team of 20 employees, with seven offices on three continents.
“It’s really been crazy,” he grins. “With a startup like ours, you need to be able to go with the flow and move quickly when the time is right.”
Flexibility and global reach
And such rapid growth required flexibility -- which is one reason Mikael is thankful he launched his business from serviced offices by Regus.
“Regus was the best option when looking at how to explore and set up in new markets,” he explains. “It provides the flexibility and global reach that’s perfect for our business.”
Starting from his office near Stureplan in central Stockholm, Mikael was able to give his business a global footprint quickly and affordably.
“Using Regus allows us to focus completely on our core business and international expansion,” says Mikael. “We couldn’t expand that rapidly if we had to worry about managing our own offices.”
Not only did Regus become an “integral part” of GolfSki World’s expansion strategy, but it also offered Mikael an environment he felt was a “perfect fit” for his startup.
“I prefer Regus to some of the other startup hubs in Stockholm because there is a wider variety of companies,” he explains.
“We’re not just one of several IT startups; at Regus, we sort of stand out. There are other firms with different sorts of competence – and I don’t have to worry that I’m sitting next to a direct competitor.”
And Mikael isn’t alone in his preference for the flexibility and convenience that come with Regus’, serviced offices. Increasing numbers of Stockholm-based startups and small businesses are flocking to Regus, which has already opened 5 new business centres in the Swedish capital since January this year, including the newest facility at Norra Bantorget in Stockholm.
Coworking on the rise
Overall, Regus has 20 locations in central Stockholm, Solna, Kista, Malmö, and Gothenburg. In total Regus offers some 900 offices and 3,400 workspaces across the country – not to mention offices in 3,000 locations in over 1,000 towns and cities around the world.
A view inside one of Regus' Stockholm offices. File photo: Regus
And a recent survey by Regus found that flexibility is increasingly important to workers and business owners in Sweden, with 54 percent saying that all workplaces should offer flexible working solutions.
“Flexibility is seen as a key to retaining and motivating workers,” says Patrik Ölvebäck, Country Manager at Regus Sweden.
“Something we’ve noticed in recent years is that we have to reduce the amount of traditional office space we offer in exchange for more lounge areas that offer the possibility for coworking. Younger workers simply want to work where they want, how they want, and when they want.”
Patrik adds that coworking and shared offices spaces provide other advantages besides flexibility.
“Entrepreneurs across the globe see coworking as an idyllic atmosphere for meeting like-minded people from other companies and industries,” he says.
“Having our offices at Regus is also great because we get to meet and learn from a lot of other interesting companies,” he says. “It’s great to be able to give and get advice from the other businesses.”
While Mikael expects GolfSki World will open some of its own offices in the near future, the company’s headquarters will remain at Regus in Stockholm for the time being. And Regus will continue to be a key part of his businesses continued expansion.
“Flexible offices like Regus is the modern way to grow; it’s the most natural way to expand our business,” he says.
This content was paid for by an advertiser and produced by The Local's Creative Studio.