Spark PR was founded in 1999 by Donna Sokolsky Burke and Chris Hempel. Alan Soucy was brought on board as CEO in October 2006, and he and Donna Sokolsky Burke remain as managing partners for the company currently. It is a privately owned boutique PR firm dealing almost exclusively with tech companies and consumer markets.
When Spark first opened its doors, they did a lot of work for startup companies receiving their pay in options. They had a modicum of success until Alan Soucy came on board – and with his arrival, Soucy lit the spark in Spark PR.
Since he has been there, the firm has moved to #53 of the Top PR firms in the U.S. according to PRWeek. Through Soucy’s leadership the company has nearly tripled their revenues, broadened their client base, and added offices in Emeryville, California, along with a wholly-owned subsidiary of Spark that has an office in Cape Town, South Africa. Their headquarters remain in San Francisco.
Soucy brings a wealth of leadership and tech experience with him, having previously worked at MTI MicroFuel Cells where he was President and CEO, also working at Tripath Technology serving as Vice President of Advanced Products, and Philips Mobile Computing Group as General Manager. He also put in leadership time at two other tech companies on his road to Spark.
The two original founders of the company both worked at Netscape where they were a part of launching the first browser making the internet more accessible to millions of people. As one of their early clients, they helped VA Linux go public – becoming one of the most successful IPO’s in history. Another early client was Jim Barksdale (founder of Netscape) when he started a venture capital fund called the Barksdale Group.
Clients of the firm include Warner Brothers, Visa, Walmart, Nokia, Opera Solutions, SpiceWorks, and GitHub. The company has a fun culture for staff members, often allowing them to work from home or on alternate work schedules, they also allow people to bring their dogs into the office when they like.