LONDON — Two former Hotwire staffers, Darryl Sparey and Paul Stollery, have launched a B2B marketing and communications agency, Hard Numbers, to service high-growth technology and professional services clients.

Sparey (pictured, left) left Hotwire last month after four years with the global technology PR firm, latterly as business development director. He previously ran the London office of digital marketing business Mediaworks, and sales and marketing for media intelligence business Precise (now Kantar Media).

Stollery (pictured, right) is creative director of student influencer agency Hype Collective, and worked with Sparey at Hotwire from 2014-2017 running the agency’s Labs team. He has also led on creative campaigns for the likes of PlayStation and Twitter.

The new agency will be a sister agency to Hype Collective, with co-founders Sparey as managing director and Stollery as creative director. Stollery will be taking a step back from day-to-day responsibilities at Hype Collective, but will retain oversight of creative output for the business.

Hard Numbers is already working with several technology and professional services clients, with a performance marketing offer that focuses on media relations, data and research, outsourced lead generation and content marketing services.

Sparey told PRovoke: “I’ve got a lot of love for Hotwire; it’s a fantastic, innovative agency that’s a real breeding ground for amazing new agencies, and Barbara [Bates] is an absolutely awesome leader. But I think I’ve got one more big ten-year run left in me, and Paul is one of the best creatives I’ve ever worked with.”

In terms of the timing of the launch during the Covid-19 crisis, Sparey said: “I genuinely believe that we have a value proposition that is machine-tooled for the times in which we live. It’s not about storytelling now, it’s about building credibility, building pipelines and providing demonstrable return on investment. Too many PR agencies are talking a language that CFOs don’t understand – we want to be the agency that sales teams love and everyone in the C-suite sees the benefit of.”

Sparey said the duo had settled on the new agency’s name because they were aiming to “help clients achieve hard numbers, whether an ambitious sales target or a big funding round.” He said: “Every step is measured and transparent because everything is built on top of a CRM system. We are able to do an awful lot for early stage businesses: for our payments business client, for instance, we’re doing SEO, social selling on LinkedIn, running their social channels and creating media coverage.”

Stollery added: “I’m incredibly excited by the opportunity we have with Hard Numbers. We believe that B2B communications has lacked a spark of creativity, and there are too many agencies that aren’t attentive enough to the results they’re driving, and to optimising for improvement in order to get them. We will bring creativity, salesmanship and a focus on business objectives to everything we do.”