Tell us more about Sparkl?
Sparkl is a tech company with a nifty piece of code, known as the Sparkl Sequencing Engine, which has unlimited use cases and automates the way machines work together.
The Sequencing Engine automatically provides data on all aspects of the process, finally making it easy to tie business transactions to infrastructure events.
It's ideal for conduct risk management, but equally it has a broad range of applications for complex sectors such as aerospace, pharmaceutical and finance.
The Sequencing Engine also choreographs the Internet of Everything. Things like hardware, machines, devices, services - anything with a data output.
Sparkl can choreograph those things through a sequence of events. We are also developing and marketing a lighter, consumer-friendly version of the Engine, which is sparkl.io, for automating and connecting services like Slack, Google Drive and email.
For example, we could create a service for a bank that notifies you every time your overdraft is dangerously [high], or when a new investment fund comes in.
Right now we are in a development and marketing phase, as well as looking for proof-of-concept opportunities.
How many people work at Sparkl?
Six. We are a happily small team, two of whom work remotely in Yorkshire and New Zealand. We have a very effective meeting every morning and catch up on what needs to be done that day and what's blocking us.
Why did you choose to develop Sparkl?
We spotted a gap in the market for this software, and it's truly unique. In a way, we wanted to rewrite the rules of programming.
The best thing about the Sequencing Engine is that it has an unlimited range of use cases. You could apply the tech to really any industry.
We're batting pretty high targeting finance, pharma and aerospace, but we believe that we have the software that could solve many a problem in those industries.
Are you based in an incubator or startup centre?
Sparkl is actually an Idea London alumnus. We were based in their incubator for about 18 months, having moved out of there in May.
It was a fantastic experience with a great community and great offices, and I would thoroughly recommend applying.
We were able to forge a relationship with Cisco thanks to Idea London which led to us becoming the first software-defined networking solution to become a Cisco Preferred Solution Partner. We're now engaged in talks with several companies about pilot projects.
What level of funding have you received so far?
We raised just over £1m in March 2014. We start our second round of funding early next year.
What challenges have you encountered?
Having to explain what our product is, and how it works, along with getting the right balance between explaining to a technical mind and a complete beginner.
Even to some experienced techies, Sparkl technology can be a difficult concept to get across. But once we break it down into the benefits, people get really excited about the Sequencing Engine and what it could do for their business.
What's been the biggest highlight of your business so far?
It would be passing Cisco's rigorous interoperability verification testing and being promoted to a Cisco Preferred Solution Partner. It felt like a giant stamp of approval across the company and, of course, that's when the pilot project talks could finally begin.
What did you do before starting Sparkl?
I was, until 2002, chief executive of software company Michaelhouse, which developed and sold systems to global insurers such as Prudential and QBE.
In 2006 I co-founded mashup pioneer Teqlo in California, then joined core engineering at Google where I was responsible for AdSense Engineering in London until 2011.
What are your favourite and worst things about running your own startup?
My team is the best thing about the company. We're small but we want to make a big impact on this industry and, without their ideas, we wouldn't be where we are today.
Being a small-time company pushes you to be more versatile, more productive on so many different levels. It's a close-knit community as well, and everyone is always coming up with ideas and tools to make life that little bit easier.
The worst thing is finding the time in the day to code. Often I'm in meetings, preparing for demos and so on, so coding can be hard to come by sometimes.
Do you work remotely, in a shared environment or have your own office space?
We work in our own office space in Canary Wharf now, after having been in a shared environment with Idea London for 18 months.
Smart or casual?
Coffee shop of choice?
Pret. No other choice in London is there?
Slack. My inbox is miraculously uncluttered after years and years of emailing back and forth.
Do you benefit from startup communities and related networking?
Of course, if only to socialise, moan, gossip, have a natter and so on. You cannot be alone in this business, you just can't.
I follow a lot of techies through the ever-growing TechLondon Slack group, which is a great community, full to the brim with ideas and always happy to give feedback.
And, of course, there's always networking to do. Word of mouth is completely necessary in this industry, and face-to-face meetings are essential too.
If you want to take part in the V3 Startup Spotlight contact Roland Moore-Colyer.
Previous startups under the spotlight have included smartphone maker Kazam, cloud collaboration company Huddle, smart cities analytics company Future Decisions, cloud computing services firm Fedr8, memory health app maker Memrica and public sector website developer DXW.
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