Meet our fall intern Emil Botes as he shares his insightful experience at SACC San Diego. If you aspire to be our next intern for Spring 2024, applications are now open. Learn more and apply here.
How has your time as a Cleantech & Business Development Intern at the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce in San Diego (SACC-SD) been during the summer and fall?
- Incredibly rewarding! I have learned a lot about the cleantech industries in both California and Sweden, establishing impressive and useful contacts for the future. I have been exposed to the latest trends and innovations in renewable energy and the significant impact of the Biden administration's Inflation Reduction Act on cleantech.
Can you share something fun or something you are particularly proud of from your time at SACC-SD?
- I was responsible for organizing a fantastic networking event earlier this summer, where I brought together the Swedish E-Bike company CAKE and the American Aptera Motors to participate. It was an amazing atmosphere, and it felt great to be in the center of it all. Truly valuable contacts were made!
In what ways has your role helped boost SACC-SD's presence in cleantech?
- As an intern at SACC-SD, I have been immersed in the cleantech industries here in San Diego, collaborated with local industry organizations, and forged new partnerships that have expanded the cleantech portfolio.
What have you learned about the differences and similarities between the cleantech industries in California and Sweden, and how has it affected your personal development?
- It has been incredibly enlightening to work within an American context and culture. There is a distinct difference in how Swedes and Americans work. This knowledge has truly enhanced my personal development and provided me with new ways to think strategically and globally.
Finally, what message would you like to convey to other students interested in SACC-SD?
- The weather in San Diego is absolutely wonderful! The people here are fantastic and very easy to get to know and make friends with. San Diego is the perfect city for those who love the beach, the sea, the sun, and social culture!
We extend our gratitude to Emil Botes for the interesting interview!
Business Development and cleantech intern at SACC San Diego
We got the opportunity to have an interview with Lane Sharman, from Open Door Management.
The interview covered a range of topics related to achieving 24-7 renewables instead of annual true-ups and the essence of thermal energy storage. Lane provided a wealth of information on the subject. Overall, the conversation provided a comprehensive overview of the challenges and potential solutions to achieving 24-7 renewables with annual true-ups.
Lane Sharman is an entrepreneur and consultant with over 30 years of general experience across a broad spectrum. He has a strong background in power project development, regulatory affairs, and government relations. He is known for his innovative approach to business models and provides valuable guidance in strategic management and financial matters.
Can you explain the concept of achieving 24/7 renewables versus annual true-ups? What are the main goals and advantages of this approach?
- The goal of achieving 24-7 renewables is different from today’s custom of annual true-ups. Currently, renewable energy like solar is only available for about 25% of the day. To achieve 24-7 renewables, we need to rely on long-duration thermal energy storage, lithium-ion batteries for short-duration periods, geothermal, and large pump hydroelectricity so the grid is truly clean and green 24/7.
How can this goal be achieved?
- We need to replace gas plants with long duration thermal storage. While there are challenges, many countries, including Sweden and Norway, are investing in offshore wind power and geothermal energy to achieve renewable energy goals that when stored in thermal energy arrays will power the grid with 24/7 renewable energy.
How far along in the process are we today?
- The majority of annual energy supplies are bought and matched up with annual consumption, but this does not necessarily mean that renewable energy is being used every hour of the day. Many companies are interested in using renewable energy every hour of the day but have found that they are not currently doing so.
What are potential solutions to achieving 24-7 renewable energy?
- There are various technologies that can be used to achieve 24-7 renewables, including long-duration thermal energy storage, lithium-ion batteries, geothermal, and pump hydroelectricity. The transition to renewable energy must occur at all scales, from industrial factories to residential water heaters. This means replacing gas water heaters, gas stoves, and gas power plants with renewable energy sources. Offshore wind power is also being developed in Sweden and Norway, and there are innovative companies working on thermal battery technology.
Companies such as Kraftblock, Rondo Energy and Kyoto are working on thermal battery technology, and Sunamp is a company developing residential and small commercial-scale water tanks that can be charged once a day during the middle of the day when the sun is shining. Sunamp is using innovative technology for storing energy as heat and releasing it when and where it's needed. Sunamp's thermal batteries include their high-performance phase-change material (PCM) Plentigrade. This material can deliver heating or cooling reliably, safely, and at a lower cost and with greater efficiency than other battery technologies. Sunamp's thermal batteries have the potential to contribute to the decarbonization of residential and commercial sectors. After decarbonizing energy production and transportation, this is the last frontier.
Kraftblock is another company that has potential to decarbonize heating. Kraftblock’s technology can store excess energy from renewable sources as heat and help decarbonize various fields. For energy suppliers, grid control, and the opportunity to store surplus energy supports their core business. Additionally, the system allows the repurposing of power plants and increasing their efficiency.
How is this approached in Sweden compared to the US?
- There are differences between countries and the challenges they face in transitioning to renewable energy. Sweden and the United States face many of the same challenges, such as social and welfare issues, and a diverse climate system.
We extend our gratitude to Lane Sharman for the engaging interview!
President at Open Doors Management
SACC San Diego is happy to announce Currencies Direct as our newest corporate member!
Currencies Direct, founded in 1996, has been at the forefront of revolutionizing money transfer. With over 25 branches worldwide, they offer a range of services, including retail, phone, online, and mobile app options. Trusted by more than 430,000 customers, they facilitate secure transactions in 40+ currencies. Authorized by the FCA and boasting a level 1 credit rating, Currencies Direct continues to redefine international money transfer with efficiency and reliability.
We had the opportunity to have an interview with Elyse Singh, the Director of Business Development at Currencies Direct, West Coast USA:
1. Can you tell us about Currencies Direct, its history, and how it has become a prominent player in the money transfer industry?
Currencies Direct have been around since 1996 and are a global international payments company. We have become a market leader by having experts on the ground in key markets and making the process as simple and straightforward as possible.
2. What differentiates Currencies Direct from other money transfer providers in terms of services and features offered?
We provide offer our clients the ability to speak to their private account manager who will walk them through the process and help them time the market to get the best possible exchange rates. We believe in high-touch personal service which is one of our key differentiators.
3. How many branches does Currencies Direct have, and in which countries are they located?
Currencies Direct are in 15 different countries and 32 different branches.
4. How many currencies do Currencies Direct trade in, and how does this variety benefit your customers?
We work with over 50 different currencies and have a multi-currency wallet, which allows clients to trade in various currencies at a time.
5. As a pioneer in the industry, how has Currencies Direct leveraged technology to improve the money transfer experience for its customers, particularly with the launch of the mobile app?
Our market-leading app and website are designed to make the transfer as easy as possible with full transparency on pricing at the heart of it.
6. Currencies Direct has received multiple awards, including 'Money Transfer Provider of the Year.' What factors contribute to your consistent success and recognition in the industry?
Our belief that many customers want to speak to a human when they need assistance and have questions has been a constant since 1996. Many times, we are moving people’s life savings and we take that very seriously so reassuring clients and explaining the process is what makes us award-winning.
7. Can you share any specific examples of how Currencies Direct has helped businesses and individuals save time, hassle, and money with their money transfer services?
We have thousands of examples of saving clients huge sums of money ad helping them buy that dream property. I had a client recently who was stretching their budget for a beautiful home in San Diego and because of us, they were able to sell their Canadian Dollars at a high enough rate to meet the sellers asking price.
8. Looking ahead, what are Currencies Direct's future and goals for further improving its money transfer services and expanding its global reach?
We have huge growth plans as a company and are looking to add more currencies to our offerings and get more experts on the ground in key geographical areas.
Thank you Currencies Direct for the interview, and welcome to SACC San Diego! We are very grateful to have you as members.
If you are interested in reading more about Currencies Direct and their business, visit their website here!
Director of Business Development – West Coast - USA
Welcome DSV to SACC San Diego! We are very grateful to have you as our new corporate member. DSV is a global transport and logistics company founded in Denmark. With operations in over 80 countries, DSV offers services in air freight, ocean freight, road transport, and contract logistics. The company focuses on technology, digital solutions, and sustainability while providing efficient and tailored solutions to its customers worldwide.
We were able to sit down with San Diego Manager Jim Burritt and Global Sales Manager Michaela Lundqvist from DSV Air & Sea, Inc. from their San Diego office, one of +40 offices in the US.
Can you tell us about the history and founding of DSV?
DSV is a Danish logistics provider, founded in 1976 by 10 independent trucking companies that joined forces. Today DSV is the world’s 3rd largest logistics provider, offering all modes of transportation: Air, Sea, Road, Rail and Warehousing, with +75 000 employees in +1600 offices in +80 countres worldwide.
How does DSV prioritize sustainability in its operations and contribute to global growth? Sustainability is high on everyone’s agenda and transportation is a crucial part of our customers Co2 emissions. We have specific activities within the organization tied to seven of UN Global Compact’s Sustainable Development Goals SDG. Through our offering Green Logistics, we help our customers work towards their sustainability goals by offering CO2 reporting, Green supply chain design & optimisation, Sustainable fuel offerings and Carbon offsetting.
Can you provide examples of how DSV leverages technology to optimize supply chain solutions and enhance customer experiences?
We work with AI and predictive analysis to keep track of emerging technologies. Our customers have full visibility of all shipments in our platform MyDSV where millions of shipments are booked and tracked each year. Operational excellence and efficiency is top management priority that is emphasized throughout the entire organization.
What sets DSV apart from competitors in terms of its capacity, flexibility, and cost-effective solutions?
Being a global top 3 player in the market with the access to capacity and competitive pricing that comes with it, paired with a decentralized organization where each branch is empowered to make decisions and a culture of red-carpet service to our customers is a recipe that has worked very well for DSV throughout the years.
How does DSV ensure operational excellence and maintain high-quality services for its customers?
By constantly working to improve our operational efficiency throughout the organization, while developing tools that makes it easier for our customers to do business with us. Everything we do should generate value for our customers
How does DSV support employee growth and provide opportunities for advancement within the company?
We strive to attract, motivate, and retain talented people by offering responsibility, empowerment, and growth opportunities. We offer relocations, trainee programs and leadership training continuously.
Can you share DSV's vision for future growth and expansion in the transport and logistics industry? DSV has a history of large acquisitions and has grown substantially over the past 10 years to reach the #3 spot globally. Our top management and owners are always looking for new opportunities for sustainable growth in the market when it makes sense from a business perspective.
What measures does DSV take to minimize its environmental footprint and promote sustainability in its supply chain?
Through our global network, we provide a wide range of end-to-end supply chain solutions. We track our environmental impact systematically with a view to making our operations as carbon, energy and resource efficient as possible. The majority of our CO2 emissions come from subcontracted transport. DSV’s Science Based Targets for 2030 are 50% reduction of scope 1 and 2 and 30% reduction of our scope 3.
How does DSV deliver exceptional customer experiences and prioritize customer satisfaction in its operations?
Throughout the organization we speak about what it is that is our DNA. What makes us unique? Letting those values and a culture of red-carpet service to our customers shine through has really made a difference in how our customers perceive us.
Thank you so much, DSV, for the interview.
To read more about DSV: visit their website here!
We at SACC San Diego are happy to have Cimplement join us as a new partner! Cimplement Group is a leading provider of leadership, sales, and influence training, with a track record of training over 150,000 professionals since 1993. They stand out for their experienced trainers, proven methodology with lasting results, time-efficient programs, and interactive and emotional learning experiences, all founded by Per Cedergren, a renowned leadership and sales trainer, certified in a unique methodology and recipient of the Excellent Sales Award 10 times, serving as a personal coach to CEOs and professionals worldwide.
To welcome them we had an interview with Per Cedergren, founder and CEO.
Can you tell us more about the history and founding of Cimplement and what you do?
A lot of companies, doesn’t matter where in the world, think that company culture is all about saying the right things on social media and having some nice motivational posters in the office. This is of course a good start, but unless the leaders also act in line with the values, then it has very little value. It can even have a negative effect when the discrepancies between words and actions become too big. This is not necessarily a matter of bad intentions. As humans we judge ourselves by our good intentions, and others by their actions. So, what is our added value? We help close the gap between “know-how” and “show-how”. This is done through fun and challenging exercises where we first discover the gap and then train on doing it in a better way. This is what every athlete knows. Practice creates awareness and increases the performance going forward. If a critical mass of leaders become aware of how they act in a better way to bring out the best in others, then the sum-total creates the company culture. This is of course not easy. What our clients mention all the time is our ability to achieve the better results in the shortest time possible through this type of emotionally engaging training. This is one reason top executives of professional service firms turn to us for sharpening the saw on all levels, including top performing Partners, Directors, and Senior Managers.
Can you give us an overview of the types of clients that Cimplement typically work with?
Since we work with developing people and their behavior, our clients range from all kinds of businesses and sectors. If there are people, we can help them improve, but I would say what all our clients have in common is a strive to become better through better leadership. Leadership development boosts employee engagement increases the organization's ability to deal with gaps in the talent pipeline, and reduces the headaches and costs associated with turnover. Great leaders attract, hire, and inspire great people. Some of our best references are from PwC, KPMG, Accenture, EY, Ericsson etc.
How do you tailor your training programs to meet the specific needs of each client?
We always tailor our programs, both on company level (what mindsets and behaviors should be strengthened), as well as on individual level. After all, with challenging exercises the experience becomes very personal, and with a group size of maximum 10 per group the personal action plans can be discussed in detail together with the trainer and with peers, creating a common understanding, a common language and ultimately a common company culture.
With over 150,000 professionals trained, it's clear that Cimplement has a lot of experience in this field. What do you think has been the key to the company's success?
I believe the success comes from our ability to translate the client’s needs into tangible, hands-on behavior development that can be seen in everyday work-life. The clients experience first-hand how their leaders and managers develop and use the techniques learned already after the first session. Another major advantage is the time invested for the participants. Our program only takes half a day or one day per month spread out over 3 to 4 months, so effectively creating with pre- and post- activities a half year development process with as little as 16 hours invested, and results that can be seen through improved client and employee satisfaction surveys, since participants actually “walk the talk” in bringing out the best in themselves and others, all the time.
How do you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices in leadership, sales, and influence training?
We have our corporate University in Germany one week per year, where all our 62 consultants gather and share learnings and experiences. During that week we, the consultants, also participate in trainings to further build our expertise and gain new insights.
What's the most important skill professionals need to develop for leadership and sales, and how does Cimplement help them learn it?
Overall, the most important skill anyone can have, both in leadership and in sales is to choose what mindset we use in a given situation. Many leaders are unaware that they are constantly in “fixing problems mode”. Naturally there are problem solving meetings (and per definition they should all start with problem identification). This mindset might not serve us so well in leadership and sales situations! Who like to feel that in a performance appraisal they are treated as “the problem” and “a resource”? We work with many of the big professional services firms, and Partners of those firms must constantly switch between a normal professional critical, fault-finding mindset when delivering their service to a growth mindset when developing colleagues and developing trusted client relations. Making this switch between mindsets many times a day becomes a competitive advantage, that is very hard to copy for other firms.
Do you have any tips for leaders on how to create a good company culture by doing rather than preaching?
The key is to become aware how we influence. How do we do that? It’s not different from learning a sport. For instance, I’m trying to learn how to play golf. There is a huge gap between what I think I can do and what golf-professionals do. How do I improve? I went to a driving range with a pro that helped me with my swing. That’s the similarity with what we do. The person themselves must realize the gap. It is not the sports- trainer telling the person about the gap. It’s the person, through an exercise, discovering this gap. The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. That’s what usually happens. Initially in the beginning of the first session there might be some skepticism. Half of the unique method is to first build a nice secure environment where people actually have the opportunity to make mistakes and turn those mistakes into development (without having the pay the price we pay when we do the same in real life business situations). Training in a secure environment, so as to making a smarter choice (mindset & behavior) in real business life going forward. In this sense it is not different from sports, train so as to win in the Olympics.
Nowadays we see a lot of new young tech start-ups. Would you say that there is a difference between new leadership styles and traditional leadership styles? Or is it the same company culture in a different setting?
For any company you have structure, strategy, and culture. These three pillars should support each other. The same applies on an individual level. As a leader you have to set the structure, strategy, and culture simultaneously. There is a certain tendency at startups to concentrate on doing two out of the three, and taking the third “later, when we have the time”. Yet, it’s not sequential, this should be done in parallel. The three pillars should support each other. The company culture should support the strategy and support the desired structure. These basics don’t matter if it’s a new company or an old one. In a start-up it’s very important to do these things at once before the culture is established.
Thank you Cimplement for the interview!
To read more about Cimplement and their business, visit their website here!
Founder & CEO of Cimplement
Please welcome Suzanne Svahn as the new President of SACC San Diego!
Suzanne Svahn was born and raised in Gothenburg, Sweden, and holds a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation as a licensed REALTOR®. Her passion for helping sellers sell their properties and buyers find their ideal home for their lifestyles is evident in her work.
Suzanne graduated from SDSU with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and remains actively involved in the Swedish community in San Diego. With her extensive network of connections and in-depth knowledge of various neighborhoods and their markets, Suzanne is dedicated to providing excellent service to her clients.
As the President of SACC San Diego, Suzanne will leverage her expertise and values to strengthen the organization's relationships with Sweden, San Diego, and beyond.
Thank you Suzanne, the Chamber is so grateful to have you!
We at SACC San Diego are happy to welcome our new corporate member Krvaric Capital & Risk Management! Krvaric is based in Rancho Bernardo, San Diego and offers expert assistance in investments, financial planning, and insurance to provide comprehensive financial services to their clients.
To introduce them we had an interview with the President and CEO of the company, Tony Krvaric!
Tell us about yourself, and what made you move to the United States?
I was born in Malmö, Sweden to parents who immigrated from Yugoslavia (present-day Croatia) to seek a better life. As a teenager I was inspired to come to America by President Ronald Reagan and at the age of 21 I made the move. It took eleven years to become a naturalized citizen, which was one of the proudest days of my life. America is quite unique in that once sworn-in as a citizen one is no more and no less a citizen than anyone else.
After a successful business in the microchip and modem (remember those?) business I started investing and found my true passion; helping people make smart choices with their money. I see myself as a financial "problem solver" in the overwhelming world of finance.
My wife is also Swedish, and we have four grown children - who all speak Swedish. We visit Sweden every couple of years and are proud of our Swedish heritage and traditions. There's nothing better than a Swedish summer.
Tell us about Krvaric Capital & Risk Management!
We are a small boutique firm helping select individuals and families make smart financial choices, aligned with their deeply held values. My middle son, Victor joined the business last year and is working closely with me. We are a small business by choice, serving fewer than 200 families so that we can provide individual attention and build close, quality relationships.
What has been your biggest challenge starting up a company in the US?
Like most places, it can be a challenge. One might think that it would be easier in the United States, but the bureaucracy here is rather terrible, with each level of government having their input; local, state, and federal. It's nothing that can't be overcome with the right advisors of course, and the opportunities in America are still tremendous so it's definitely still worth pursuing.
Do you have any tips and tricks for others wanting to move to the US and start up a company here?
Like anywhere else, be patient and beware who you deal with. Oh, and forget about get-rich-quick schemes. Build a quality business by surrounding yourself with quality individuals and enjoy the ride. And if you're in San Diego, then the weather literally can't be beat anywhere in the world.
What are some common mistakes that people make when it comes to managing their finances, and how can they be avoided?
Greed and fear are the enemy. Controlling one's emotions is key. But that’s easier said than done, which is why partnering with a financial professional one knows, likes, and trusts is important. It's impossible to be objective about one's own money, and the financial landscape is always changing so having a trusted advisor is key.
Thank you Krvaric Capital for joining us!
Read more about Krvaric and their business on their website here!
Meet our new Corporate Member at SACC San Diego - Viking Spirits!
We made an interview with Daniel Borg about his journey with viking spirits and what they have accomplished.
Tell us about yourself and your company Viking Spirits?
I was born and raised in Östersund, Sweden. By the time I finished my (mandatory at the time) military service in my hometown, I left to start a master’s degree in applied physics and electrical engineering at Linköping institute of technology. In my last year of studying I was given the opportunity to work on my master’s thesis at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California. I instantly fell in love with the beauty of what northern California had to offer, from Lake Tahoe to the beaches of Carmel and Monterey. When I finished my thesis, I moved back to Sweden and shortly after started working for a semiconductor company in Stockholm specialized in developing microchips for implantable medical devices. The company also had an office in San Diego, where I was later offered to relocate and brought my wife to begin a new life in the US.
Viking Spirits is an import and wholesale company, based in Sorrento Valley, CA. It was founded in April 2020 in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Because of the pandemic, we initially started selling Scandinavian wine and spirits through an online retail partner called Speakeasy Co. They facilitate a direct-to-consumer platform where customers from nearly all over the US can purchase our products and have it shipped to their doorsteps. More recently, we’ve also started to reach out to liquor stores, bars, grocery stores and restaurants in southern california and our presence is growing. Our full list of retail stores can be found on our website.
What was the inspiration behind the start of Viking Spirits? How did you come up with the idea to start this company?
Scandinavian wine and liquor have always been hard to come by in the U.S. and it’s especially during the holidays when I’m looking for a mulled wine (glögg) or an aquavit that the realization sets in. The situation has not improved much over the years. I’ve always been an entrepreneur by heart and dreamt about starting my own business someday in the future. Where there’s a problem I usually try to find a solution.It was during a midsummer’s eve party in Östersund that a friend, who used to work at Savhuset at the time, had brought a few bottles of sparkling wine. He said it was made locally, but obviously not from grapes since it would be much too far up north for any kind of grapes to survive. Instead, this wine is made from the sap of birch trees growing in the region outside my home town and it is called Sav Sparkling. Of course I was intrigued and couldn’t wait to taste it, even though I wasn’t expecting anything sensational since birch tree sap is not something you associate with wine. To my surprise, I was finding the taste quite similar to a dry champagne. The notes of green apples and birch, with a light body, captured my interest.
On my trip back to San Diego I had packed my suitcases with several bottles of Sav Sparkling to introduce to my friends in California. The response was overwhelmingly positive, which triggered me to start looking into the possibility of importing this wine.
My long time friend and former colleague, Daniel Hoggar, is a great listener to many of my wild ideas. We usually catch up for lunch and sometimes discuss possible business prospects. It was during one of these lunches when I presented the idea of starting an import business together with focus on bringing premium Scandinavian wine and spirits into the U.S. Although he was not familiar with the product yet, he didn’t dismiss it either. Together we worked through the process of how to acquire federal permits, ABC licensing, warehousing, etc. We read books about starting a wine import company to learn about the wine business. As the business plan began to crystallize, we agreed to form a company. This was the beginning of Viking Spirits, Inc. and we’re equal co-owners in the company.
Why did you decide to expand to the United States?
The wine and spirits market here in the US is huge. With 250M potential customers, it’s an enormous opportunity. Although imported wine only makes up a fraction of the total wine market here, there’s still many opportunities.
Can you tell me more about Viking Spirits products?
All of our products are made in Scandinavia. The environmental impact of wine and spirits production can be significant if not managed correctly. We therefore only select partners with sustainable business practices, where for example locally sourced products are being used to minimize the impact on the environment.
Peter Mosten at Savhuset Åre AB has released several new products over the years and we plan on continuing making them available in the U.S. Needless to say, all of their products are quite unique products made from birch tree sap instead of grapes. Their first product, Sav Sparkling, was entered into the San Diego International Wine & Spirits challenge in 2021. It was awarded a gold medal and given 92 points by the judging committee, which is a testament to the quality of this product.
This year we’ll also have a glögg called Sav Glöd available for the holiday season. It can be enjoyed either cold as an aperitif or warm with a spoon of raisins and almonds. Along with that we’ll also have a new sparkling wine called Sav Snö, named after the Swedish snow, with added natural flavors of ginger, angelica root, citrus, and more.
Our friends at Tevsjö Mill & Distillery have supplied us with a selection of award winning craft gin, aquavit, vodka and absinthe. The owners, Jonas and Anna Larsson are very conscientious about the environment and take pride in their own model of ensuring complete transparency and traceability, for example from where the wheat comes from, when and by whom it was farmed, etc. - they call it the Tevsjö model.
More recently we have started a collaboration with Göran and Ulrika Amnegård at Blaxsta Vingård in Flen, which is about 2 hours southwest from Stockholm. It’s one and the only vineyard in Sweden that grows unmodified traditional vitis vinifera. This allows them to compete on the international stage in the world championship for best wine. Among many of their products, the flagship wine is an Icewine from 2016 that has won double gold in wine world championships and is rated at 99.3p by Robert Parker. Our partnership with Blaxsta gives us exclusive rights to import their brands into the U.S. and we can’t wait to bring their products over here.
What do you believe is the biggest challenge with importing and selling your items from the Nordics to the U.S. market?
The biggest challenge at the moment is something we share with most other importers; shipping delays and supply shortages are affecting the retail industry in one way or another. Due to the war in Ukraine, our suppliers are short on glass bottles since Ukraine is Europe's major glass bottle supplier that almost everyone relies on.
For wine, in general I would say that it can be difficult to sell imported wine in the U.S., especially here in California where you’re competing against so many great vineyards. Almost 90% of all wine sales in CA is from domestically produced wine and the rest is from other parts of the world. When you’re trying to enter a marketwith a Scandinavian wine that is solely dominated by wine grapes, usually from known appellations, it’s often met with skepticism in both competitions and wine stores. The well accredited wine magazines, e.g. Wine enthusiast and Wine Spectator, etc., generally only welcome traditional grape wines, vitis vinifera, i.e. fruit wines or hybrids are not welcome. However, wine from Scandinavian is gaining traction with the use of the hybrid Solaris grape and Swedish wine has the potential to become a 100M dollar industry in the near future, much due to the warmer climate as a result of global warming
Most smaller vineyards throughout California are profitable because they get a steady stream of visitors stopping by for a wine tasting. If they like the wine, they may end up buying a bottle or two, which sustains the business for the vineyard. Being a wine importer and wholesaler, however, we’re bound by the antiquated prohibition rules that established the three tier system (importer, wholesaler, and retail). In essence, as an importer, you’re not allowed to directly sell or offer tastings to consumers without going through a retailer or restaurant/bar. Another way is to participate as a vendor at festivals or other sponsored events, which can be costly with uncertain ROI.
With liquor it’s somewhat of a different story. It helps having brands that have earned their ranks in notorious spirits competitions. Our interest is in selling craft spirits from smaller distilleries where there’s a uniqueness and authenticity in each brand. This ensures that our customers keep coming back for more, instead of settling for the old established brands.
Thanks to the power of social media, we have found a clientele who are particularly interested in Scandinavian products. Through our online retail partner, Speakeasy Co., we have access to an enormous market across 45 states, but the challenge is to reach the right consumer with the right interests. It’s therefore important to have a good conversion tracking in place so that you can choose where to spend your efforts.
Which are the best-selling items, and is there any difference in the best sellers in Sweden vs in the United States?
Our first product was Sav Sparking and it’s the product we have the highest sale from. Today we have 4 Sav brands in our portfolio, which includes two sparkling wines, one still wine and a glögg. We only sell and operate in the U.S.
If you could recommend one drink to a friend, which one would it be?
My favorite drink is G&T, but with a nice twist. The Gin Havtorn from Tevsjö distillery can easily stand on its own, but mixing it with an Elderflower tonic brings it to the next level and I would serve it to any of my friends.
Three fast questions:
What is your personal favorite item that you sell?
The Ragnarök Gin, partly because of the name and how it represents our company, but also because it’s a gorgeous bottle with an amazing gin.
Spirits or wine?
Wine! I’m a wine drinker myself, not by volume, but by quality. I enjoy tasting different kinds of wine and hearing the story behind them.
Where can one buy your items?
Taste of Denmark, in Hillcrest
Tip Top Meats, in Carlsbad
Poway Liquor & Deli, in Poway
Norway Hall Foundation, in Vista
Holiday Liquor & Wine, in Vista
Our Corporate Member HELA won Flemingsberg Science Award in the category "Startup 2022 - East Region"
HELA's app increases adherence to cardiac rehab programs by making their health development visible to them during the program.
Motivation from the jury:
With an ambitious drive and a good mix of skills, this year's winner of the Flemingsberg Science Award works to increase the individual's physical and mental health in connection with rehabilitation after a heart attack. With the help of patient data, AI, integration with smartphones, the individual's own goals and progress, an automated treatment plan is created that gives the patient full control over their health. With flexible solutions and scalability, the vision is to become a global technology supplier.
Read the full press release here.
Meet our new Premium Corporate Member at SACC San Diego - Suzanne Svahn! We made an interview with Suzanne Svahn to get a deeper insight in how it is to work as a real estate agent in San Diego.
Tell me about your background in being a real estate agent?
I've been a REALTOR® for eight years and have lived in San Diego for 20 more. I’ve always loved houses and neighborhoods and, being an avid long-distance runner, I know San Diego inside and out on foot. Building real relationships with wonderful people is my favorite part of the job. I love what I do and I’m so grateful that I get to wake up every morning and help people find their home or ideal commercial property in America's finest city.
What differentiates you from other real estate agents in San Diego?
I'm a very hands-on person and I am actively involved in every part of the process. From first meeting a client to seeing them through either a successful find or sale, I make it a point to be available, communicative, and supportive as I lead my clients through the buying and selling journey.
Not only do I help my clients find the right property for their lifestyle, but I shine at crafting competitive offers and guide them through complicated timelines, contingencies, and escrow. California is a disclosure state with many documents that can be overwhelming. I will walk you through every step of the process and make sure you understand everything you need to know to make confident decisions. Additionally, I'm a certified international property specialist (CIPIS) and am actively involved in international real estate through our real estate association here in San Diego.
Negotiating is one of my biggest strengths. I’m a huge advocate for my clients and work relentlessly to get them the very best deal on their home whether they’re buying or selling. It’s important to me to do my due diligence, collect the best research, and provide my clients with a successful, satisfying experience. To me, it’s not about the quick flip; it’s about helping my clients find peace of mind as they buy or sell their home at the best possible price.
What does the process look like when a person from Sweden wants to relocate to the United States?
I have in-depth experience helping international buyers and sellers with their real estate needs. The process starts with an initial consultation where we get to know each other. Ideally this would be in person but FaceTime and phone calls are a great way for us to connect when we can’t be together face-to-face.
Finding a home is such a personal undertaking and it can feel difficult when you aren’t there in person. That’s why I prioritize communication and work hard to anticipate and answer all of your questions. If you’re not already familiar with San Diego, it’s my pleasure to educate you on the area and introduce you to neighborhoods that, based on our conversations, will be a fantastic fit for you. I listen to you and ask tailored questions to get a clear understanding of what you are looking for in a neighborhood and a home.
In addition to doing all the research and conducting viewings on your behalf, I will do everything necessary to find the perfect home to fit your lifestyle and preferences. If that requires talking to the neighbors, exploring the neighborhood, and frequenting nearby establishments, that’s what I’ll do. Going above and beyond for my clients is second nature to me. I take pride in helping every client, near or far, feel confident, informed, and taken care of as they buy or sell their home.
What would you say are the greatest benefits of having a Swedish-speaking agent?
There’s a special trust that comes from working with people who share your culture and can understand where you’re coming from and how you think. Having the Swedish language in common is an important part of that connection— it’s so nice to meet over a “fika” without having to define the term!
Being fluent in both Swedish and English allows me to translate and guide my clients step-by-step through unfamiliar legal jargon and important deadlines. My familiarity with the buying and selling process in Sweden also helps me further relate to my Swedish clients and lead them through the similarities and differences they might face during the American real estate process. Overall, my professional experience and intimate knowledge of San Diego combined with our shared cultural background is a huge advantage for my Swedish clients.
What would you advise someone who is considering relocating to San Diego?
First, I’d say congrats— you’ve made an excellent decision choosing San Diego for your new home!
The most important thing when you’re relocating to San Diego is to find a responsive agent that knows the area well. I have lived here for 28 years and know each corner of the city in detail. Real estate is more than a 9-5 business and I pride myself on being available to my clients when they need me. I am committed to exceptional communication and accountability and, when we work together, you will always be informed.
As you’re considering moving to San Diego, I’d love to speak with you sooner rather than later. It’s never too early to start searching for your home in America’s finest city.
Three fast questions:
Do you prefer living close to the beach or city pulse?
The great thing about San Diego is that the city is practically on the water— you don’t really have to choose! But, if I must, the beach is my personal favorite.
What's your favorite thing in your house?
I love my home and am so grateful for everything in it. I have a deck with a beautiful canyon view. It’s my favorite place to sit and be present.
Which is your favorite neighborhood in San Diego?
The neighborhoods in San Diego have such distinct personalities and I love them all for different reasons. While I can’t choose for myself, I look forward to helping you find a home in your favorite neighborhood!
Read more on Suzanne Svahn here.
Let us introduce our new corporate member at the chamber, Measurement Technology Laboratories (MTL).
MTL specializes in the capture and analysis of fine particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM1.0). They provide necessary laboratories and equipment for environmental monitoring and emissions testing. Their products include industry-standard filters, portable air samplers, laboratory buildouts, and automated measurement equipment.
"We believe in working together with our partners to train and equip laboratories for the highest quality air particulate measurements. MTL offers ongoing support to our clients to help ensure a successful program."
MTL seeks collaborations in Sweden as well as with Swedish companies worldwide for applications in the LifeSciences, Healthcare, and Transportation fields.
Harlan T. Jacobs
mobile +1 612 701 8153
The Swedish American Chambers of Commerce of the United States of America (SACC-USA) invites you to the 2022 Executive Forum on June 2 in House of Sweden, Washington D.C. This year’s theme – Navigating Turbulent Waters – will take stock of market conditions and market solutions to tackle challenges ranging from supply chain bottlenecks to climate change imperatives, against the backdrop of geopolitical tensions. The event will reveal groundbreaking technologies, effective strategies, and efficient practices to capitalize on evolving political, macroeconomic, financial, and commercial conditions.
Let us introduce one of our amazing sponsors for this year’s Bridging the Gap. Brinter® is a trailblazing Finnish-American 3D bioprinting company. The company makes high-end 3D bioprinting mainstream. Brinter® ONE is an out-of-the-box 3D bioprinting device with several printheads and modules perfected for cancer research, clinical trials, personalized medicine, and stem cell laboratories.
Bioprinting has an important role in the future of life science and Brinter® have a clear vision of what their company’s role is in it.
We would like to share this super interesting article about Brinter®, written by Pharmaceutical-Networking.com. The article is called “The Brinter® vision: accessible bioprinting for life sciences”. It contains information such as an introduction of the Bioprinter platform and how it can be used as a versatile tool for basic research in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
Read the full article here.
On Bridging the Gap 2022, Brinter® was presented by Antti Arjonen, Ph.D. Chief Science Officer at Brinter® who discussed the objective view of 3D bioprinting, its current state and its effect on the future of life science.
Let us introduce one of our amazing sponsors for this year's Bridging the Gap, Back Bay Life Science Advisors!
Back Bay Life Science Advisors works with international Biopharma, Medtech Guidance and Investment Banking with Emphasis on US-Nordic Growth. The company was founded 12 years ago in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood by a physician with a long academic background and a life science advisor. Since then, Back Bay has become an integral part of the Boston and Nordic life science ecosystem with roots that run around the globe.
With offices in Boston, Frankfurt and Toronto, Back Bay Life Science Advisors is a globally respected boutique consultancy known for pairing expert strategy with investment banking guidance and execution with a special emphasis on US-EU life sciences partnerships, particularly on the Nordic region. Back Bay has completed dozens of strategy and investment banking projects with Swedish, Danish and Norwegian organizations and provides supportive work for Nordic events throughout the year.
Back Bay works to advance biotech, healthtech and medtech development on an international level by partnering with life science innovators that range from global brands to emerging companies, nascent startups, government-backed incubators and academic centers. The Back Bay team, comprised of scientific researchers, biotech executives, physicians, surgeons, bankers and data researchers, excels at partnership and in guiding global life sciences companies and their investors through complex business, scientific, market and transactional challenges.
Back Bay is an industry leader for a reason; they know how to turn data into knowledge. With custom-designed due diligence, primary research, optimal strategy, forecasts and insight, Back Bay offers deeply experienced life science expertise. All of their assignments leverage a comprehensive range of data sources backed by the analytic capabilities of their team, and their integrated strategy and investment teams bring their scientific expertise, clinical knowledge and M&A experience to every project.
They provide solutions that are advantageous and actionable, and Back Bay delivers a keen understanding of the value of new technologies, medicines and scientific approaches. They work with companies across every stage, sector, geography and disease area to position assets for maximum value and impact.
Their strategic analytics have supported work by leading global banks and corporate entities, and Back Bay regularly works with clinicians, opinion leaders, investors, C-suite investors, payors and regulatory experts, across industry and academia.
Back Bay offers industry insight and interviews via their monthly podcast, The Life Science Report. Listen at https://www.bblsa.com/podcasts.
Contact person at Back Bay Life Science Advisors: Jonathan P. Gertler, Co-Founder, Managing Partner & CEO, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about Back Bay Life Science Advisors here
Meet the new president of SACC San Diego, Ulf Sundberg!
Ulf, with a background in engineering, has spent a career in high tech driving product development and software introduction in telecom carrier networks, consumer software like Intuit's TurboTax, and software development programs for Augmented and Virtual Reality at Qualcomm. Ulf is Swedish but has lived abroad since the mid 1980s, including London United Kingdom, Yokohama/Tokyo in Japan and has resided in California since 2000. Ulf also volunteers as head judge advisor FIRST FTC Robotics San Diego region, a youth STEM program, and is a member of Tech Coast Angels that helps start-ups get their initial funding to grow their business.
He spent five years in Silicon Valley, but is calling San Diego home where lives with his wife, dog and a cat. Ulf was a Board Member at SACC San Diego from 2006 to 2010, rejoined in the summer of 2021. Ulf is an engineer at heart but has a big passion for the positive impact companies can have for employees, customers, investors and society in general.
"I am excited to continue to work with the other board members, our interns/marketing managers, advisory board and other stakeholders to help make San Diego an excellent choice for companies that are looking to set-up or expand their presence in the US market."