Spark Eighteen completes a wonderful decade!

Today, we kick-off our 10th year anniversary celebrations at Spark Eighteen. Not only is it a special milestone but it also marks the beginning to many more wonderful endeavours. To encapsulate all the fun, memories and learnings we went to our founder, Aayush Narang, and asked him a few questions who walked us through this awesome decade. We also got a peek into what new things are being rolled out in the NY 2022 and the decade to come!

“I wholeheartedly wish to thank the entire SP18 family, the crew, each member from 2012 till today. I’m beyond grateful for all the efforts, breakthroughs, and the numerous memories we’ve created along the way. Congratulations on what we’ve accomplished together! 

The positive energy we create as one unit is priceless. This energy is what helps us keep the Spark alive!“
– Aayush Narang 

How did the Spark Eighteen journey start?

The journey started back in school when I was selling sweatshirts to my passing batch, that’s exactly where I got the knack to be financially independent and not ask money from my parents for my next phone! Further along, in 2011, I decided to take the road less travelled when I realised that engineering school did not have much to offer me. I registered Spark Eighteen as a company through the first cheque I received my first client – it was twelve thousand rupees, and it was for managing their social media page (FB pages were making the rounds at the time). The name Spark Eighteen was symbolic to my age at the time, though the company only got registered once I needed a bank account to get the 12k in!

What were the early years like?

Early years were the most difficult and the most fun. Early on, it was just for the passion of making your own pocket money, I got used to owning up to my decisions which I believe is a very important life skill. It’s never an easy journey, but I do thank everyone who mentally backed me to make the best decisions of my life. Days were long, I used to attend class, take meetings for Spark Eighteen across NCR, then visit Cookfresh kitchens (my second start-up) and deliver packages (at times), simultaneously I tried out my hand at running a night kitchen too with a few friends. It was literally 20 hour days and I was having the time of my life. I believe 20 hour days gets you 2.5 times the learning a normal person gets, and when you’re grinding 5 years ahead in time, it’ll give you enough time to take up the right path for the future.

How did you transition from pursuing your passion for pocket money into a real business?

Image from 2013 while Costa Coffee was office for Spark Eighteen!

To be fair, it wasn’t a eureka moment. College is where it just struck me. This is what I realised – I’m earning double to what any college placement cell would offer me, I am loving all the attention and the work that I’m doing, I am getting exposure from great people who not only help me learn faster but also value my opinions. I was working with HP, Nasscom, Ministry Of Power and doing so much more on the side as well. I was almost certain that no company is going to give me these learnings, nor earnings at this stage. So I decided to continue what I was doing and it started becoming more formal. 

It’s amazing how the journey in these 10 years went from replying emails from the lecture hall, to coffee shops, to co-working spaces, to setting up multiple offices across the country today! I still do love to spend time with my laptops in coffee shops. 🙂 

How did Spark Eighteen transition from a Digital Marketing Studio to an IT development company?

There were some really interesting curves along the way. At the core, I’ve always been an entrepreneur and a product person – I love creating new things, I always had the interest to get into the finer details of trends (IT, marketing or anything else) that was shaping the user’s experience, regardless of the domain or industry.

Cookfresh (my second start-up) was picking up at the time, we were widely spoken about, covered in the media but somewhere in us (me and my partner) we knew that the concept was too early in the Indian market for it to become a lifestyle business. While we were concerned about this, we got an acquisition offer from a US company who was trying to build out a similar model in the US. Their interest was to acquire the technology which would save them 6-months in their process. We encashed the opportunity, and as I went through the process of this exit, the same company became SP18’s first US client in IT development, as the company wanted to further build and scale the acquired Cookfresh platform. Along the way, I got more references, and met more people who expanded their IT products and practices using our services. In 2017 we took a conscious call to not scale the marketing services and focus entirely on the IT product services side. Although, we still continue to host our digital teams to help our legacy clientele and our in-house requirements.

How rewarding has the journey been?

Words aren’t enough! I’m really thankful for everything that SP18 has become. To be honest, the early start had a lot to do with materialistic aspirations, however, the funny part is that while money was made in abundance over the years, it didn’t matter as much. I think the biggest satisfaction I have today is that directly or indirectly I credit more than 100 salaries every month, that in most cases puts food on the table for families near and far. Personally, I’m very satiated, my work has got me to traveling the world, talking to really interesting people from different industries and walks of life, it has taught me a great about different cultures and continues to challenge me and teach me something new each day! Like we say, it’s so important to Keep the Spark Alive!

We’ve now steadily reached a point where holistic growth is everything to us. At Spark Eighteen today, my job is mostly to ensure that value is being created for everyone. For all the team members, we usually focus on pillars like – career growth, skill growth and the happiness quotient (our metric of making sure that the environment is great to work in). Nonetheless, it’s been a very rewarding journey, and I love the challenges and surprises it throws at me along the way! 

How has this last year, 2021, been for Spark Eighteen?

While the pandemic continued with its highs and lows. We took it upon us to be responsible, and at the same time took this as an opportunity to keep us sane with all the work coming towards us. We grew the most since inception. Notable accomplishments to name a few would be – we started working with Zuora (An enterprise USA SaaS giant in the FinTech space) and Twilio (notably the biggest communication PaaS company). We also opened new offices in Pune. Now we’re present in Delhi/NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Udaipur and Pune. Very excited for the next offices which are already in talks including an on-shore office in the Bay Area. 

As you start the new decade of Spark Eighteen, what are the big plans?

In the past 3 years, Spark Eighteen has grown more than 400%. Last year alone we’ve clocked a record 160%. However, while the scorecard till now has remained revenues and profit, the bigger change we’ve thought of bringing in these coming years is to ‘Change the Narrative’. We stand for holistic growth in whatever we do, making lives of the Spark Eighteen family better every day. As we celebrate the end of first 10 years of Spark Eighteen, there are a few exciting things in motion for the new decade already –

  • Today, we’re officially incorporated in the US as Spark Eighteen, Inc. SP18 (USA) will be an on-shore office for the technology vertical. 
  • We’re internally testing a EdTech platform which is centred around technology as the core subject. Our intent is to nourish upcoming talents from different developing nations and provide them with amazing global opportunities that SP18 hosts.
  • We’ll be incubating and accelerating start-ups in India. We realise that the technology experience and expertise across our teams has a great potential to support our Indian start-up community.
  • We’re well budgeted for R&D and training across verticals to facilitate holistic growth and will be growing that as a stream as well.

Here’s to more such rewarding and unforgettable years, can’t wait to see what the coming years have in store for all of us here at SP18.

Let’s Keep the Spark Alive!