The Inviqa story: becoming a full-service digital experience agency
On the eve of Inviqa’s fourteenth birthday, we decided to delve back into the history of the company and tell the story of how we came to be what we are today! In this article, you will find out how it all began, the vision which has guided the leadership team since day one, and how the entire adventure has been driven by one essential ingredient: our fantastic people!
It began in 1986 when Yair Spitzer, Inviqa’s fearless leader and CEO, was asked by the Israeli tech company Sapiens, his employer at the time, to move to the UK and start growing the company in what was an exciting and relatively immature market. He moved with his wife, Anat Spitzer, and spent the next 19 years growing the Sapiens’ operation in the UK, rising up the ranks from Developer, to Technical Consultant, Sales and Marketing Director, and finally Managing Director.
Despite having great success building the Sapiens operation, including a floatation on the Nasdaq in 1992, Yair felt he had reached the ceiling in that role, and was becoming increasingly preoccupied with a vision to forge out his own path. In 2005, armed with a dream to represent Israeli tech companies in the UK, the necessary courage, and, most importantly, a loft (3 ingredients all tech founders need!),Yair and Anat took that leap of faith into the unknown!
The opportunity of a lifetime
The couple began successfully representing Israeli high-tech companies in the UK with Yair working in the loft and Anat doing the finance and administration downstairs. It was then that Yair was introduced to Zend, a company that specialised in the open source language of PHP. Yair quickly learnt of the growing movement towards free, open source software, which represented a completely different and exciting opportunity in the marketplace.
Beyond the technical utility of this language, PHP was driven and led by a tremendously talented and passionate community of people: a theme that consistently pops up along this journey and something that attracted Yair right from the start.
Zend asked Yair to take his expertise in both enterprise software and the UK marketplace, apply it to PHP and take them to the next level! Despite having only just learnt about this new language and the company behind it, Yair could see the potential in PHP and began representing Zend in the UK.
Assembling the ‘A team’
Yair recognised that the most crucial factor in being successful with PHP and Zend in the UK was attracting the right people to work with him. He reached out to Paul Wander, an ex-colleague from Sapiens, who jumped onboard and joined them in the loft! Now it was time to start creating a team with specialist knowledge in the open source language.
The three Inviqa pioneers were put in contact with Ibuildings, a company based in The Netherlands that were representing Zend at the time. It was at this point that the team really started to develop and Ibuildings UK was created: the dream was becoming a reality! World-class PHP developers from all over the world began joining the organisation, including a 21-year old wizkid from Iceland, who after having an informal chat with Yair, turned up 3 days later without a contract and to the absolute amazement of the entire team!
It was the trust and risk-taking of extraordinary and talented individuals that enabled them to build a successful PHP company offering: application development, technical consulting, 24/7 application support, and training.
The team was doubling in size every year, demand was skyrocketing, and the vision was growing in scope and scale.
Growth and acquisition
As the tech world moved further to open source and PHP garnered more attention and investment, the leadership team of Ibuildings UK decided to double down on the success they had achieved so far and started looking into complementary platforms and businesses like Magento.
Yair was introduced to Leftfield, a Magento agency, and the time was perfect for both organisations to come together. Session Digital was created in February 2010, adding a business entirely devoted to building quality Magento ecommerce stores. They also found three essential members of our leadership team within Leftfield with true expertise in creative, UX, and ecommerce. In fact, it was this new leadership that locked themselves into a boardroom one day in 2012, and came up with the name ‘Inviqa’!
The growth did not stop there. Yair was approached with the idea to collaborate with a company called SensioLabs in France that specialised in the PHP framework Symfony and this eventually led to the creation of SensioLabs UK. Determined not to rest on their laurels and seeing that content and commerce were coming together, a boutique agency called iKOS that specialised in Drupal development, was acquired and absorbed into the business in 2015. This was followed by the acquisition and merger of Byng, a software consultancy in 2016.
With these successive acquisitions and rapid expansion in the UK, the time was right for the company to look abroad to Europe and Germany in particular, which represented uncharted horizons and a marketplace that was five years behind the UK in terms of ecommerce. Alongside the acquisition of another business based out of Berlin, Session Digital in Germany was welcomed into the world! Now with four different entities all operating together, the decision was made in 2016 to unify them under one brand name of Inviqa.
Webcredible and our people
In 2018, one of the most significant acquisitions was made when Inviqa absorbed Webcredible. This most recent addition to the company portfolio gave Inviqa expertise not just in technology engineering but also experience design and optimisation. It also provided a springboard to start conversations with business leaders in CMO, CDO and CEO positions across industries and sectors. From what started as an extremely focused and specialised PHP company, Inviqa is now a full-service agency, crafting best-in-class digital experiences for some of the most exciting brands in the world and delivering extraordinary business outcomes for our clients.
Across this fourteen year journey, the success Inviqa has generated has been founded on the principle of hiring the most talented and dedicated people and providing them with an environment that allows them to flourish. At the heart of our culture is the idea that each individual is part of a wider team that works together with humanity and empathy to deliver positive change for our clients. It is these values and the people that live by them that have propelled the company forward these past years and will continue to do so long into the future!
If you want to join a growing and dynamic organisation with wonderful people, head over to our careers page now!