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Home » Sunny Khurana, CEO and founder of Spark dives deep into the world of experiential dating

Sunny Khurana, CEO and founder of Spark dives deep into the world of experiential dating

by Nikki Kumar

Making Sparks Fly!


USD 200 and a dream. This was all Sunny Khurana had when he first landed in Sydney, Australia. When I met him to learn more about his meteoric trajectory, he paints me a vivid picture of this time in his life – arriving in a country thousands of miles from home, scouring the local paper for careers he could sink his teeth into. He initially worked odd jobs like telemarketing, delivering bread, and even selling sandwiches door-to-door.  Fast forward to today, as I watched him calmly make himself a cappuccino in a luxurious high-rise office at The Lancaster Bangkok, it was clear that those humble beginnings – and Sunny’s hunger to prove himself – have moulded him into the successful entrepreneur he is today. 

After trying out various gigs, Sunny eventually solidified himself as a reputable financial advisor, while building a sizable property portfolio in Auckland, New Zealand. But even after he was financially set, Sunny’s appetite for success remained unsatiated. In August 2022, he embarked on a new mission to revolutionise the modern dating app with his new business venture, SPARK. Launching within April, SPARK is an experiential dating app for  discerning individuals which goes beyond simply swiping and texting the people in your location radius.

If you or a friend have ever used a dating app, then you are surely familiar with how stale conversations can become. Many of your potential matches might be responsive at first, but over time, interest fades, plans fail to materialise, and it’s back to the infinite carousel. This can lead to frustration for the user, since even though you might match with 100 people, you fail to connect with any of them in a meaningful way. In contrast, Sunny explains, SPARK aims to overcome this hurdle, by allowing you to book opulent and unforgettable experiences for you and a potential match without ever leaving the app interface. He tells Masala more.

With a robust background in both industries, venturing into a startup, especially a dating app, is indeed uncharted territory. But similar to what our business empowers, therein lies the thrill – the pursuit of unexplored potential.

In Southeast Asia, the concept of experiential dating is nascent, almost untouched. While other platforms hinge on visual appeal or textual banter, SPARK embraces the genuineness of the connection cultivated by the richness of experiences. We believe that true connection flourishes through shared adventures and cultured encounters. It’s about crafting moments that resonate far beyond mere first impressions.

Class, Culture, and Character — these are the cornerstones of SPARK’s ethos, diverging from what is often encountered on mainstream platforms. SPARK is a sanctuary for the sophisticated; an enclave that thrives on exclusivity and is sustained by invitation and selection. Here, quality trumps quantity every single time.

Our aim? To kindle connections that transcend ordinary ones, enriched with tailored experiences and genuine understanding. Bangkok’s vibrant backdrop serves as the perfect canvas for these connections to unfold, and I eagerly anticipate witnessing our members forge genuine bonds that are sparked by shared interests, experiences while being nurtured by mutual appreciation.

 What does a SPARK experience look like?

Envision surprising your date with an impressive drive through Bangkok’s lively streets in a sleek supercar. Then, picture arriving at a discerning restaurant where a romantic tableau of flowers and fine wine await you both, setting the stage for an intimate dinner. But the SPARK experience offers more than just opulence.

What if the night’s symphony beckoned under a canopy of stars with a private salsa dance lesson? Or imagine immersing yourselves in nature, a woodland trek culminating in a serene hot-air balloon ascent at dawn. Seeking an adrenaline rush? A private tour over the cityscape or countryside might elevate your connection to new heights.

These bespoke experiences curated by SPARK are designed to inspire awe, laughter, shared moments, and a cascade of emotions. Such authentic encounters strip away pretense, fostering a bond that’s rooted in a real interaction. Within SPARK’s curated environment, comfort and safety nurture these exciting connections.

With SPARK, we aim for each encounter to be a momentous occasion—a chance to enjoy the present without expectations. Whether a lasting connection or a single unforgettable episode, the experience remains pressure-free and enriching. This isn’t about traditional dating; it’s about connecting – crafting memories, embarking on mutually thrilling escapades, and possibly, just possibly, discovering a kindred spirit along the journey.

Spark’s website lists AI-driven matching as one of the app’s key features. Can you tell me more about this and how you integrated AI into your app? 

At SPARK, we’ve reimagined the very fabric of matchmaking within our application. We are integrating sophisticated AI capabilities, including interactive games and generative AI, that set the foundation of our platform’s first iteration.

Diving headfirst into the next frontier, we’re honing a distinctive feature: vibe modeling. Our development team is dedicated to iterating and refining this technology. It’s akin to thought-provoking scenarios presented in Black Mirror, albeit with a focus on enhancing real-world connections and emotions.

Our AI delves into a user’s digital footprint—analyzing consented profiles to ascertain an individual’s tastes and preferences across a multitude of domains. This intelligent analysis will eventually extend to understanding political leanings, religious sentiments, specific interests, musical whims, and culinary inclinations.

With permission to access a user’s social media archives, our AI will be able to proficiently map out their preferences, redefining the conventional questionnaire. It anticipates your partiality for certain places, thrills and individuality, allowing us to curate an experience that’s as unique as you are. At SPARK, it’s not just about making matches; but also crafting experiences with precision and insight.

How will you offer bespoke experiences to Spark users? 

Our Chief Experiences Officer is spearheading the charge to bring craft and curation directly into the hands of SPARK users. By forging strategic alliances with a coterie of select entities in Bangkok, we’ve curated an array of exclusive engagements just for SPARK members.

Our portfolio boasts collaborations with illustrious Michelin-awarded establishments, renowned dance virtuosos, enchanting theatric performers, and culinary maestros with esteemed pedigrees.These experiences are not only bespoke but also come with the added allure of rates exclusive only to SPARK members. It’s a medley consisting of tailor-made elegance, inspiring awe and deepening connections.

We’ve already successfully integrated booking capabilities for a significant portion of these experiences directly within the SPARK app, streamlining convenience for our users.

In the next phase, our focus will be on achieving full integration. This requires meticulous coordination with each partner’s individual systems—an endeavor that underscores our commitment to quality and user satisfaction.

We’re dedicated to ensuring that the volume of experiences we offer justifies the investment in this undertaking, delivering a SPARK standard of lavish escapades to our discerning clientele.

In addition to affluent, single individuals, who else does Spark cater to?

While SPARK caters predominantly to affluent, single individuals, our vision extends beyond that. We’ve realized the immense potential within the broader spectrum of relationships. Our platform is inclusive, capable of celebrating various occasions across our users’ lives and the calendar year.

Imagine a feature where our platform helps commemorate your personal milestones; gently nudging you with a reminder of a loved one’s upcoming birthday; a sophisticated afternoon tea at a renowned establishment? Or how about suggesting a romantic escape to honor your parents’ anniversary, transforming appreciation into action.

At SPARK, we will be extending a warm invitation not only to singles but also to couples in committed relationships looking to enhance their connection. We offer couples an opportunity to step away from the routine and indulge in fabulous experiences that are both intimate and exciting. Join us to create new memories and rediscover the passion that brought you together in the first place. Whether you’re looking to deepen your bond or simply share an adventure, SPARK is here to help illuminate the path to a renewed and vibrant partnership.

Moreover, SPARK will eventually embrace the corporate realm with our unique gifting feature, which will empower employers to reward outstanding team members with a selection of curated experiences, perfectly aligned with their contributions and the company’s gratitude.

In essence, SPARK is not just a conduit for romantic connections but a facilitator of cherished memories and appreciation, regardless of relationship status. It’s about creating joyous experiences that are as beautiful as the individuals celebrating them, all with the sophistication and simplicity that SPARK is known for.

What makes a person a part of the “SPARK audience”?

Think air travel, where passengers are divided into economy, business, and first-class. Those in the economy might long for what the other classes offer but might not see the value or simply deems it impractical.

Business class passengers, on the other hand, are immediately willing to invest in comfort and exclusivity understanding the experience and privileges that come at a price.

At SPARK, our target audience is akin to these classes that see the value when you pay a certain price point — selective, lifestyle- conscious individuals who prioritize themselves, the people they associate with, and extraordinary experiences.

They’re not simply wealthy; they are connoisseurs of the genuine and exceptional, with SPARK being their portal to this journey.

These people have a certain zest for life and wouldn’t mind spending for it if need be. They belong to a certain affluence of which we resonate with. This is made possible as SPARK bridges positive emotions through bespoke experiences, enabling more focus on the connection. 

How will you vet individuals coming into SPARK?

Vetting for SPARK involves a personal touch. Once consented, we delve into prospective members’ digital personas, scanning through social media and business profiles, along with a thorough review of their profile details. It’s part of our commitment to curate a community of integrity. We understand that profiles will need polishing; hence we provide constructive feedback to align with SPARK’s ethos. It’s all about creating a genuine, respectful community that reflects our brand’s values and commitment to preserving a real connection.

What or who has inspired you the most, and given you the courage to pursue this path?

My entrepreneurial fire was kindled by the remarkable story of Anna and Nick Mowbray of Zuru Toys. Their daring leap into business, starting from their family home to the heights of global success has been a beacon of inspiration.It’s a tale that echoes the essence of entrepreneurship—boldness, vision, and relentless innovation. Their journey is a reminder of what’s possible with grit and creativity, inspiring the ethos I strive to instill in every facet of SPARK.

You’re a man who loves a challenge, and thrives in the chaos. What do you see on the horizon for SPARK, your biggest challenge yet?

SPARK stands on the precipice of transformation, not just for the company, but for the entire relationships landscape. I see it ascending into a multi-faceted enterprise, driven by our shared vision, innovative spirit, and an exceptional team.

With our launch in Bangkok imminent, we look beyond to key cities such as Singapore, Tokyo, Mumbai, and Dubai by 2026. The path ahead is boundless, challenging, yet allows us to grow stronger, more creative and determined to achieve the extraordinary.


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