LDC Top 50
David Rai is helping to overcome the IT skills shortage in the UK by finding raw, young talent and training these recruits in cutting edge technology skills, from software development to robotics. His company, Sparta Global, which he created with Tim Staton in 2007, currently boasts 300 consultants, and its client list includes the likes of ASOS, AXA and the Home Office.
The entrepreneur prides himself on hiring young people from diverse backgrounds: Sparta has its own rigorous assessment process to determine ability. The company currently turns over £23m and David’s ambition is for it to hit £100m within five years.
How have you got to where you are today?
Sparta Global started out as a software testing business. Very quickly, we became dependent on contractors and found that the quality of work could be unreliable. We decided to train our own and started with 10 graduates. They did a better job than the usual contractors, so we applied that model to all of our clients. We have relationships with universities around the UK and hold assessment days in London and Birmingham. Only half make it through, and they are trained for free over 12 weeks so they can hit the ground running.
What’s your own personal ambition?
My parents emigrated from India in the 1960s so I’m passionate about giving others the opportunity to succeed. In my experience, people from diverse backgrounds can outperform people from traditional backgrounds. We work hard to get more women into technology, for example. I also find it rewarding to give young people great careers, especially amid all the negativity about Millennials. With the right training, they have huge potential.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
My dad was an entrepreneur and owned a car dealership. He told me to ignore the naysayers and trust my instincts. When we started the company, people doubted graduates could add value. We proved them wrong. Our Spartans are better than many experienced contractors, bringing energy, enthusiasm and new ideas.
We are growing fast: in three years we will have 1,000 Spartans in the UK, up from 300 right now. After that we’ll look to the US and Canada. We are called Sparta Global and it’s time for us to become a global company.”David Rai, Co-Founder