Five years goes by in the blink of an eye. While it’s not a long time in age, it’s a lifetime for an entrepreneur!
Looking back on our startup journey of the past 5 years, I can see how HONK has grown as a company, how much I’ve learned as an entrepreneur, and how we have influenced the culture of parking and transportation. It gives me great perspective and an amazing amount of energy to map out what is yet to come.
One of the highlights of any startup is experiencing and celebrating all the firsts along the way:
- Our first hire: Kacey Siskind – still our queen of Business Development, longest standing employee and basically the darling of the parking industry.
- Our first parking operator who took a leap with us when we were completely unknown and untested: Thanks Just Park!
- Our first municipality to Honkify their city: the City of Oshawa; still going strong and growing every day.
- Our first HONK user (who wasn’t related to me): Roy Thomas; We don’t know how you found us, or why you downloaded, but THANK YOU! Your trust and faith means more than you can ever know!
- Our first PR mention: It happened to be a major win on Dragon’s Den — not a bad way to enter the PR world, IMHO.
- Our first broken transaction record: we partied like it was 1999 when we hit 100 transactions per day, thought we had conquered the world at 1,000 per day, went streaking through the quad at 10,000 per day…you get the picture. The nice thing about starting from scratch – there are always records to break.
I’m told I have to be more mindful and ‘present’ so part of this taking stock is about celebrating the here and now. Our 5 year anniversary coincides nicely with the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 Awards where I’m a finalist (for the second time!). We could not have planned the timing better ourselves. This is a huge accomplishment for the entire HONK team, as I stand on the shoulders of giants.
- Our development team is the best in the business. All Canadian, all nerd, and all knowing. They build things without being asked, execute our vision impeccably and do it all in a language that is completely foreign to me.
- Our marketing & operations folks keep the machine oiled and running on time and (mostly) on budget. They are our eyes, ears and feet on the street interacting with customers, launching new zones on the daily, making it right when things (inevitably) go wrong, and they do it all with a smile.
- Our customers are why we do what we do. Our app would not be nearly as dynamic, user-friendly or convenient without our hundreds of thousands of customers who use HONK to simplify their lives. We hear and absorb every bit of feedback, and we use it to keep moving forward.
- Our parking lot operators, airports, real estate owners, universities and municipalities – our clients – are amazing. They are a group of trusting, forward thinking and dynamic individuals and institutions whose unique needs drive us to be better, to do better and to create more innovative products to suit their needs. Everyone is a special snowflake. I came into this game determined to change the way consumers search, find, and pay for parking – and I’m happy to know that we’ve changed the game for operators as well. With HONK, our clients have more insight into their business than ever before, along with increased sales and significantly lower operating costs. We’re winning all the way around.
The road ahead is surely paved in bumps, potholes and hopefully some beautifully smooth paved roads. We have some pretty big goals for the next 5 years — we’re talking enabling self-driving vehicles, helping cities become smarter, and making parking totally frictionless — and we want to take you all along for the ride . The last 5 have just scratched the surface – stick with us for the next 5 and watch us shine.
Tonight we celebrate, tomorrow we conquer the (parking) world.