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Business Review - Do You Believe?


After being told she should give up, Catherine Tabor pushed forward and found success.

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“We live in a world of desire for instant gratification. A lot of people have become conditioned to being able to communicate in a very immediate way.”

Sparkfly founder and CEO Catherine Tabor was running a successful concierge business managing employee perks for companies like Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines when she saw a gap she thought she could fill. There was a need to provide retailers with more immediate feedback on the reach of their advertising dollars and to allow customers to have a more personalized experience with coupons and promotions.

“We have helped bridge that gap so that If you are a company and you have a desire to run a campaign during the NBA Finals where every time the announcer says the word free, that you can text a code and the first thousand people every time they said free instantly got a coupon back on their phone for a free burrito.”

Sparkfly was the connective technology that allowed all of that communication to happen in real time. When she first saw this need, Tabor did not know how to fill it, but she believed in what she was doing and had no intention of giving up.

“Because I am of a personality that I don’t tell myself no very often, I thought …surely I can figure out how to get the point-of-sale companies to integrate and build a platform to make all this stuff happen. I had a venture capitalist once look at me and say Catherine, don’t you just know you need to just know when to give up? And I thought you never give up if you believe in it. You give up when you don’t believe in it anymore. I’ve always really believed in what I was doing.”

The Business Review is a production of Livingston & McKay, and the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University.

Innovation-lover and director of communications and marketing at the Hankamer School of Business, CJ Jackson is also a public radio show host and Iowa State alum.