Sunday, May 22, 2016
The more rescues we chat with, the more we realize they all have really special beginnings. We like to think Sparkie has one too, with all of us brought together by a passion for helping animals, a little technology, and fate.
Lots of people have asked us why the heck we decided to start this company, so here's a (not so) abbreviated version of the answer!
ONCE UPON A PAW….
- In 2014, Nicole and Stephanie met in a Whole Foods in North Carolina and quickly bonded over being vegans and animal rights people
- They got chatting (and chatting....and chatting) and realized they both wanted to help animal rescue groups using their professional backgrounds. You see, Nicole is an animal law attorney and Stephanie has a background in software engineering and product management
...THERE WAS A PLAN TO CELEBRATE AN ‘ADOPTIVERSARY’
- Their initial idea to help rescues was based on Nicole’s rescue experiences as a foster mom: create an automatic email for rescues that would remind them to reach out to adopters on their ‘adoptiversary’. In other words, email every adopter 1 year to the date after they adopted their pet
- The email could serve as both a way to thank the adopter and a means of fundraising, something we know rescues (and start-ups!) are almost always in need of
BUT RESCUES WANTED SOMETHING ELSE
Rescue after rescue told us that what they really needed was a system designed to manage their information. There wasn’t any software which allowed them to keep track of their animal, volunteer, adopter, donor, and tasks all in one place. Most used various excel spreadsheets which they shared through email or on the cloud. They felt with a system to track all of this information, they would be more organized and productive, allowing them to focus their time on where it mattered most: the animals!
CALL IN THE BUILDERS!
- So if you’re going to start building a software product, you kind of need the builders (or developers as they’re called)...enter Brandon and Dave
- It wasn’t hard to recruit Brandon (after all he and Stephanie are married) and through Brandon, Dave, who he knows from work
- Now it was 2015, and between full-time jobs and raising kids, the team slowly, but surely, made progress (most of it usually after 10pm on weekdays and on weekends)
RESEARCH TO THE RESCUE (well, kind of)
- Then, in the summer, Rachel reached out to Stephanie through some “creative” searching on LinkedIn (email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for the full, convoluted story) about how to use her skills to help animals
- Rachel and Stephanie chatted (and chatted and chatted - OK we all like to talk!) and immediately hit it off. Stephanie told Rachel about what she and the team were working on, and Rachel offered to help do some more research for them
ENTERING OUR PUPPY PHASE
- Unfortunately for us, but fortunately for all the animals out there, Nicole made the tough choice to step back from Sparkie to focus on her new role as the deputy director of one of the biggest animal funds in the US. And over the past few months, Stephanie and Brandon have also had to scale back their time to focus on raising their family.
- But while they aren't with us anymore, they all did the most important work - bringing Rachel and Dave together (I mean really, how else were they going to meet?) And now we're tearing it up to get Sparkie off the ground.
SAYING THERE’S A LOT TO DO IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT, BUT COMPARED TO THE WORK OF ALL YOU ANIMAL RESCUERS OUT THERE, IT’S NOTHING
We invite you to follow us on this journey and watch as we grow from startup puppies to ... (well, we’re not sure yet…)
Are you a rescue with a unique beginning to share? We’d love to feature it! Ping email@example.com with the details and we'll be in touch.