Nascent State Carves Out Boston E-Business Niche

An overhaul of Bain & Co.’s Web site and other recent projects acquired by the local outpost of Nascent State have managers focusing on potential growth in Boston.

Despite the slow economic climate, Nascent State co-founder Hal Seigel hopes to expand the Boston office to about 30 people over the next year. Managing director Alysa Tannenbaum oversees the Boston office, which currently employs five people.

“[We] focus exclusively on user interface design,” said Seigel, who also serves as chief creative officer for the New York-based interactive agency. “We are different from bigger agencies [in that] we don’t do everything. We’re not all things to all people.”

Nascent State got its start when Seigel and Michael Nolton, who had worked together at Ovendigital in New York, decided to form their own company. The privately held operation offers services such as identity, interface and graphic design, as well as programming and strategy.

Recent projects include work for Bain, Oxygen Media, Schneider National, Standard & Poor’s, and Southern Company. The company recently designed profitfromthe-core.com, a Web site for a book written by a Bain partner.

The company’s relationship with Boston-based investment firm Bain was a key factor in management’s decision to focus more attention on the 5-person Boston office it opened several months ago, said Seigel.

Nascent State also has an outpost in Chicago and will look to expand into other markets next year.

“We’ve been careful about our growth,” said Nolton, CEO at Nascent State. “We took a pragmatic approach. We made sure we weren’t relying on dot-com work. We do a lot of projects with established corporations.”

To compensate for services they don’t offer, Nascent State partners with Cysiv, Reston, Va.; Xalient, Boston; and RootLevel, Detroit.

Its competitors include larger companies such as Razorfish, Sapient and Agency.com, as well as smaller shops like Method.

“Our competition is interested in doing sexy, flashy work,” said Seigel. “Our work [isn’t] terribly sexy, but it requires rigor. We compete against bigger agencies, but our focus is different.”