Raghu Shivaram is co-founder of Spritz, a full service interactive marketing agency with a high community involvement profile in San Francisco. His master’s degree from Southern Illinois University-Cardondale is in electrical and computer engineering. When Raghu isn’t traveling, networking, volunteering or enjoying the Bay Area’s bounty of food and wine, he’s likely to be working on “business development, gadgets, apps and anything technology.”
Can you tell us the story behind co-founding Spritz?
“During the market crash in 2008, when marketing programs were the first to be slashed due to budget cuts, there was a need for creative ways to achieve results with a limited marketing spend. I realized that utilizing my technical knowledge and my business partner’s traditional marketing experience, we could offer a unique agency that focused on integrating the newly trending digital channels with traditional marketing. This led to the inception of Spritz.
Today, we are a full service integrated marketing agency offering branding, mobile, web design, content creation, social media and SEO, along with traditional marketing services including marketing strategy, PR, events, activation and strategic partnerships.”
Was there any special influence during your years of undergrad and grad school education that led you to entrepreneurship?
“Early on I learned that it’s not only what you know, but also who you know that matters. That said, while learning the curriculum in school, I spent my free time focusing on areas such as extracurricular activities, i.e. chief coordinator for annual college festivals, working a part-time technical job, networking at events and non-profit volunteer work.
Additionally, being raised in India and later relocating to the US, I had to learn the culture, do’s and don’t’s and build my network in a country approximately 9,000 miles away. While my peers in a similar situation were looking for corporate jobs, I always wanted to partner with the right professionals and create/build a successful business.”
What courses did you take at university that are most beneficial to skills you currently use?
“More than the direct subject knowledge from my master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering, I developed the ability to think analytically. Today, the analytical and communication skills I learned during school have helped me close deals and deliver successful results for our clients. The skills have also enabled me to serve on various professional non-profit boards such as Richmond Ermet Aid Foundation, Association of Kannada Kootas of America (AKKA), Red Cross Bay Area event committee and San Francisco Bangalore Sister Cities.”
What advice might you offer to someone currently considering entrepreneurship?
“Your patience during challenging times, your persistence to never give up and your flexibility to adapt to multiple roles are essential for an entrepreneur. The one thing I learned is to be an optimist and work towards the goal with passion. You have to love what you do and embrace the fact that you aren’t a master of all skills. That said, relationships are key to developing the right partnerships through your journey.”
Laurie Jo Miller Farr loves walkable cities. A tourism industry professional and transplanted New Yorker by way of half-a-lifetime in London, she’s writing about the best of the bay and beyond for Bay City Guide, AXS, Examiner and more. Examiner.com.