XPLANE in Fortune Small Business — Gateway to Europe: Starting small in Spain

Here's an excerpt from an FSB article by Melanie Haiken: "With Old World charm and a modern approach to encouraging entrepreneurship, Madrid is winning over businesses seeking a European presence."

"It has a low cost of living and a high quality of life," says Aric Wood, 37, CEO of design consulting firm XPLANE, based in Portland, Ore. "You can attract people from all over Europe. Everybody wants to move to Madrid."

XPLANE, which has 57 U.S. employees, opened a Madrid office in January 2007. Wood accelerated the process by acquiring a smaller Spanish design firm.

That turned out to be a smart move for XPLANE, whose revenues increased 70% last year, to $5.4 million. Much of the growth came from European clients, Wood says. XPLANE doubled the size of its Madrid staff from six to 12 in the first year.

XPLANE's graphic communications campaigns require a lot of face time. Few of its European clients, which include BP (BP) and InterContinental Hotels (IHG), are based in Spain. But Madrid "makes a fabulous jumping-off point for all of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa," says Wood -- not to mention the Spanish-speaking world of Latin America.

XPLANE's xBlog has been up and running since 1999. 

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