Building Software That Works®

Spark Equation is a leading software engineering company providing specialized technology and consulting services, with a central focus on building tailored solutions and advanced systems optimized for small and medium-sized businesses. Since 2014, we have architected, built, and delivered data-driven enterprise-grade technology allowing our clients to gain industry leadership, at scale.

 

Our mission is to drive technological advancements of small and medium-sized businesses through innovative and cutting-edge software engineering solutions, enabling them to achieve peak outcomes with an optimal balance of short-term efficiency and a scalable foundation for future growth.

 

We believe in Building Software That Works™ through precision, innovation, and an engineering mindset. Engaging and empowering intelligent, bold, and passionate people to do the right things, the better way.

 

 
$50,000+
 
$50 - $99 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2014
Show all +
chicago, IL
headquarters
  • 311 S. Wacker dr. Office 5060
    chicago, IL 60606
    United States
other locations
  • Malaya Morskaya Ulitsa 18, Office 409
    Saint Petersburg , SPE 190000
    Russia
  • Vavilova St. 1, building 2
    Krasnoyarsk, KYA 662164
    Russia

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Livly, Shiftgig, Echo Global Logistics, BookedOut, Progress Retail, Odeon Media, Real Transport.  

Reviews

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Web Platform Dev for Housing Marketplace

"They have senior, high-performing engineers who write high-quality code and produce top-notch architectures."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Oct. 2019 – Ongoing
Project summary: 

Spark Equation provides back- and frontend development for a housing marketplace’s web platform. They offer developers and project managers to collaborate on projects.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Francois Toubol
CTO, Livly
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The team delivered its first web tool within two months and has met praise from users and stakeholders. Spark Equation supplies high-quality code and project management that leads to effective results. Their diligence and clear communication make up for time zone differences.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Livly is an online marketplace for multifamily housing. Our users are tenants, property managers, property owners, and vendors from outside the buildings. I’m the CTO of the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Spark Equation?

We needed more flexibility and growth on the engineering resource side of things to develop our product in general.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Most of our frontend technology is mobile—in Android and iOS. Spark Equation only helps us with the web and backend development of our platform. They mainly work on the backend side of things, but we do use them for the React web frontend.

What is the team composition?

The team size has fluctuated with time—I think there were six of them at peak. Vlad (CEO, Spark Equation) is our main point of contact. He’s located in their Chicago office, and the developers we work with are in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Vlad does an outstanding job as a liaison between the client and his developers, and the team engages on a technical level with our on-site developer. 

We have a stringent code review process that happens between developers. Vlad does a lot of liaising at the product level. For an offshore operation to run well, we need to specify our requirements clearly to guarantee that Spark Equation can deliver them on time and on target. From my perspective, the value Vlad brings to the table is both on the product side of things, as a communication liaison, and high-quality software development.

How did you come to work with Spark Equation?

I first heard about them 8–10 months ago in the context of another startup—one of their angel investors had a connection with Spark Equation. When I arrived, there was a drive to grow the engineering footprint so that we could get to market faster. We decided to explore two roads from an outsourcing standpoint: nearshore and offshore. 

We tested two outsourcing companies. The first was one I’ve had a relationship with for 20 years now, based in Chile. The other one was new to me: Spark Equation, in Russia. We worked with each to see which would work better. We tried two different models as well, including project-based. It turned out that Spark Equation did an excellent job, and we want to engage more with them in the foreseeable future.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent around $80,000 on their services so far.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with Spark Equation around October 2019, and our collaboration is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

It’s been an extremely positive experience. The relationship started two months ago, and we already have a working product on the market that lets tenants post maintenance requests for their units. Property managers can then route those requests to the proper engineers on the field and get that entire workflow started. We also have backend integration with a property management system called Yardi. I value Spark Equation’s focus on delivering software to the market, no matter what, and with high quality.

How did Spark Equation perform from a project management standpoint?

Vlad plays a key role. He comes on-site to our office multiple times a week, sometimes just to be there in case we need him, and works on other things while he’s in the office. He participates in product management and planning with us. In addition to that, there’s also a project management liaison in Russia. I’m more familiar with the developers themselves, though, whom we interact with from a coding standpoint. 

Their communication is very solid. Vlad is an outstanding gentleman, and all the engineers we’re working with are great communicators in English. They have their own channel within our Slack and vice versa. Our company uses Zoom for remote conferencing. The developers are always available when we need them, and we make ourselves available for their questions. They’re very responsive in making development processes as high-quality as possible. We have pull request reviews on our side. I don’t think I’ve ever met with anyone from Spark Equation without video, which is important to me.

What did you find most impressive about them?

I’ve done a lot of outsourcing on both sides of the equation. What’s impressed me the most about Spark Equation is the technical expertise of the engineers assigned to our project. They have senior, high-performing engineers who write high-quality code and produce top-notch architectures.

Second, it’s the amount of effort that goes into delivering quality code. To me, it feels like the customer is very important to them, and I see that value delivered. They care a lot about what they’re doing.  

Are there any areas they could improve?

As a customer, I’d love it if Spark Equation had mobile software development resources and were open to a staff augmentation model in addition to project outsourcing. These are strategic features that I’d like to see, but that may not align with Vlad’s vision.

Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?

Communication is paramount in any engagement, but even more so when the people aren’t working from the same office. It’s critical to make ourselves available, on the project setup and management side of things, to establish as seamless communication as possible.

It’s also important to either throw the ball across on the engineering side and let them deliver what they want to deliver. If there’s a software development process that you want them to adhere to—which generally implies pull requests and code reviews—make sure that your engineers are available and responsive to Spark Equation’s engineers.

5.0
Overall Score The amount of care they put into the work establishes a good baseline for the relationship.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They accommodated slight changes in the scope while the project was running.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They have very high-quality resources, but they have higher prices as a result.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    In two months, they delivered a fully-functional project.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve had many collaborations and never worked with someone close to Spark Equation’s quality.

Platform Development for Staffing Tech Firm

“We can trust them to do a really good job across the board.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Feb. 2019 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Spark Equation provides front- and backend development services. Their engineers and developers work alongside the in-house team to meet a range of software and technical needs.

The Reviewer
 
201-500 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Thulasi Kethini
CTO, Shiftgig
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The team always produces excellent results, demonstrating a careful, inquisitive, and proactive working style. They check and test all their deliverable to ensure they are high quality, leaving end-clients satisfied, while always communicating smoothly and professionally.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the CTO of Shiftgig, a staffing tech company. We’re a SaaS platform that’s licensed by staffing agencies to connect contingency workers to short- and long-term work.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Spark Equation?

We wanted to expand as a company and hone in on our mission to empower workers with choice and flexibility by developing our insights-driven mobile platform. Partnering with Spark Equation enabled us to solve technical challenges that arose during development without slowing down our teams. Their experience and expertise in building complex systems allowed us to successfully launch new features and gain competitive advantage.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Spark Equation partnership was pivotal to our project. They’re really senior, good engineers who are able to jump into projects like they’re are in-house and completely transform them. We were confident in the implementations that the Spark team had done. Their involvement extended into designing solutions, assisting with product ownership and system architecture. 

What is the team composition?

Their team composition was structured with highly skilled software builders that truly brought additional value and technology expertise to the project. They had front-end engineers, backend engineers, a QA engineer, full-stack engineers, project managers, product owner, and a business consultant.

How did you come to work with Spark Equation?

We were introduced to them we acquired a product they were working with several years ago.

How much have you invested with them?

We've spent $200,000–$999,999.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in February 2019, and the work is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Their engineers are senior and so understand that issues arise during production and launch. They understand to watch for monitors and logging and jump on it; we don’t have to handhold them like I’ve experienced in the past.

They come up with plans and call out risky areas. That good sense of ownership makes my life easier and lets me focus on bigger business.

How did Spark Equation perform from a project management standpoint?

We have daily standups with their team and the project manager helps streamline communication. All their engineers are able to communicate really well.

They’re responsive and they understand the value of time, which makes them good at following up and not waiting on things. That’s important, especially with the time difference. They make things look easy and stay on top of them. To an extent, it pushes the team here to make quick and right decisions so we can move forward. They push for good documentation, which forces us to plan better than we would otherwise and ensures clarity.

What did you find most impressive about them?

We can trust them to do a really good job across the board. They’re not looking to just be contractors writing a lot of lines of code—they ask questions, do quality work, and understand. Their engineers are good, sharp, and competent, as well as very results-oriented.

We do two-way code reviews with them too because they’re good engineers and feel like an invested like a true partner. That’s not something I’ve seen in the past.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No, there’s nothing that I’d have them improve.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

There’s no need to treat them like contractors; trust them like a part of your team and you’ll get the most out of that relationship. You can run with your project immediately.

5.0
Overall Score If I were to start my own company, I would do it with Spark Equation.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Web Dev & IT Support for Professional Education Platform

"Spark Equation is very structured and sound in their project management principles."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Oct. 2018 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Spark Equation provides .NET and Angular development and IT support for an educational resource platform. They migrated the product to an Azure cloud system and are currently helping plan a future version.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Ray Riley
CEO, Progress Retail
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Spark Equation’s input has not only led to increased leads and sales, but they have also provided technological stability and valuable business direction. The team succeeds in maintaining open communication and managing the development process. They have proven to be a wholly trustworthy partner.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the CEO of Progress Retail. We are a learning experience platform for retailers. We offer proprietary educational courses in the areas of sales management, leadership, culture, organizational communication, and others.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Spark Equation?

For several reasons, we were unhappy with the current state of our platform and decided that we needed a robust technological partner to help us improve the quality of what we were offering. We hoped that the upgrades would allow us to serve our existing clients better and help us gain new users.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

One of Spark Equation’s earliest moves was to migrate us from AWS to a Microsoft Azure cloud, which was accomplished seamlessly. In terms of our platform, the backend development work is mostly .NET-related, while our reporting and other frontend elements use Angular.

What is the team composition?

Most often, we are working with Vlad (CEO, Spark Equation) and Dmitry (Principal Software Engineer, Spark Equation). At times, we also interact with Nikolay (Regional Director of Engineering, Spark Equation) and a few mid-level developers.

How did you come to work with Spark Equation?

I learned of Spark Equation through a reference from another member of a Chicago-based technology incubator. He described his company’s experience with Spark Equation, and I engaged them shortly thereafter.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent between $60,000–$75,000 to this point.

What is the status of this engagement?

Our engagement began in October 2018 and remains ongoing. We’re currently mapping out the next iteration of the platform.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

In the past six months, we’ve doubled our business from the previous 12 months. That has a lot to do with us being more confident in what we’re selling and featuring in our demos. A significant amount of that success can be attributed to Spark Equation.  

How did Spark Equation perform from a project management standpoint?

Spark Equation is very structured and sound in their project management principles. Vlad makes an effort to convey the importance of quality communication to his team, and they follow through on those directions. Although we have Slack and Confluence arrangements, we primarily communicate through Jira.

What did you find most impressive about them?

I have more confidence in them than I did with any previous development partner. I can sleep soundly knowing that they are responsible with our product.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Their team could benefit from having additional frontend design resources, but I believe they are already making strides to hire more.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

To maximize your time with the Spark Equation team and get your product racing, I wish our team would have spent more time on the user persona and story mapping work. Sometimes, you don’t know what you don’t know, and luckily the Spark Equation team has the adaptability and expertise to assist and lead in these areas in an extremely helpful way that saves time long term.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer