4 Years And Counting

Sunday, May 17, 2020


We officially formed Sparkie just over 4 years ago and signed our first post-beta clients at the end of May. Like any 4 year period, a lot has changed - for our product, ourselves, and the world.

On the product side, Sparkie started out as a relatively simple database focused on ‘data mastery,’ meaning we would stay focused on developing the simplest and easiest to understand user interface for rescuers who needed a central place to store important data about the animals and people in their organization.

Since then, we’ve added more robust capabilities, all while keeping our focus on this simplicity and ease: third party integrations (Petfinder, websites, etc), application processing, and automated task notifications are just some of the features we have launched.

Some of our early product mock-ups

As important as what we have built and launched is what we have chosen not to build: donation management, adoption processing, or a public facing portal. While that's not to say we will never add such functionality, we remain dedicated to our mission to ‘save rescuers from bad technology’ and know that adding features that are too complicated, too difficult to design well in a timely manner, and not truly needed by the majority of our rescue partners won’t really ‘save’ anyone.

We’ve grown steadily and carefully, being mindful to partner with rescues who are committed to changing their operations and processes in a tech-focused way and often spending lots of additional time consulting with them on their tech needs in general.

We currently work with over 50 rescues (comprising over 650 total Sparkie users!) across 25 states and our database has seen 17,000 animals get adopted, 30,000 people help out, and over 25,000 notifications sent!

As important as what we have built and launched is what we have chosen not to build

On the personal side of things, we’ve experienced a few changes as well.

Dave landed a new job at a startup that was then acquired by a leading tech company and sent 2 kids off to college and (in 1 month) graduation (albeit a very different type of ceremony than anyone ever imagined). Rachel has had 2 new jobs at leading software companies since launching Sparkie and is expecting her first child in August. Kelly, after 2 years working for the US Post Office, recently landed herself a new job that allows her to stay at home, giving her time to re-dedicate herself to Sparkie.

Slides from one of our pitch decks. Did you know we actually spoke to lots of investors when we first launched to see how we might grow Sparkie? Ultimately we decided that we wanted to double down on the rescue side of things which meant a smaller market opportunity and less financial interest. Lucky for us, our day jobs help keep things going!

Like rescuers, we know the careful balance between ‘day job’ work and Sparkie and are particularly grateful that being able to work our full-time jobs allows us to keep Sparkie affordable, particularly during this time (in fact, we have cancelled software fees for all our current users for at least 2 months and are offering 2 month free trials to start new rescuers out on!)

Maggie recently shared that Sparkie will be crediting us a couple of months fees during these crazy times. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate that and our partnership with you and Sparkie. Thank you so much for all of the good work you do to make our lives (and those of the ones we rescue) better

- Sparkie user in Washington state

Finally, on the world side, it goes without saying that the current situation we find ourselves in is unprecedented and no one knows what will really happen. While we’d be lying if we said we aren’t concerned about the financial ability of rescues out there to get through this time, or the potential return of all the animals currently getting adopted now. But, we do feel very confident that, if anything, the importance of technology - that can be learned literally overnight by anyone with a computer and internet connection - will become even more critical to all businesses and lives in the future; and we intend for Sparkie, as a product and a business, to continue to bring technological value to the rescue community for a long time to come.

Hershey - one of the inspirations behind Sparkie - may have outgrown his thunder shirt, but he hasn’t outgrown his “cocker craziness"!