Seven (long) years ago, Honk was all but a bushy-tailed payments startup — consisting of 3 employees working from a kitchen table. We had big hopes & dreams: to make parking payments easier, safer, and all around better; in short, to disrupt an industry long in need of disruption. This month, on our 7-year anniversary (that’s 42 in startup years) I’m taking the time to look back on how far we’ve come, how we’ve evolved, what corners we’ve turned, and celebrate our successes. After all, what good are all the milestones if you don’t take the time to honour them?
While 2020 certainly hasn’t been the year that I (or anyone) could have forecasted, one thing is certain: Today’s reality is showing the world what we have always known to be true — that safe, contactless payments are no longer a nice-to-have, but an absolute necessity. Consumers are done touching things they don’t own — they want to pay for everyday goods and services from the comfort and safety of their own homes… err… devices.
If I had to pick just one word to describe Honk and all that encompasses our team, our product, and our maxim, I would choose innovative. Innovation is at the heart of everything we do at Honk. It’s in our blood. We started as a mobile app for drivers who wanted to search, find, and pay for parking from their phone — and we’ve evolved into so much more. (HonkAPP, our first child, we still love you!)
Not wanting to limit our technology to app users alone, we asked ourselves: What next? The simple answer: an easy way for drivers to pay for a parking spot without downloading an app, or even having to create a user account. Well, I feel like a proud papa when I say that our team turned that vision into a hugely successful reality with HonkTAP. With it, we became the first parking company in the world to offer a tap-to-pay option with our patent-pending HonkTAP smart stations.
Next up: A global pandemic that completely transformed the way that we work, shop, eat and ultimately live. The precipitous drop in the need for monthly parking had us wondering what we could do to help restore some normalcy for both parkers and operators? Surely there had to be a way to bring back some much-needed value to parkers, while guaranteeing steady revenue for parking operators. So we put our heads together and created an all-new product that helps both operators and the new wave of ‘clean’ parkers: a first-of-its-kind digital parking punch card, called HonkPASS. Our product and development teams not only laid out the vision, but brought this idea to life — all during a global pandemic (excuse me while I wipe a tear of joy from my cheek).
In 2019, we had big plans to exhibit our products at various national and international conferences and trade shows. Suffice to say, that was put on pause this year. Indefinitely. Okay, let’s pivot and find new ways to stand out, we thought, to bring our brand to existing customers and prospects behind computer monitors at a virtual trade show. We like to think we accomplished that with our super successful Honk Show. And while we’re still fielding calls from Hollywood, I think we’ll stick to payments for now…
To close off the year, we placed 7th on the Canadian Business 2020 Growth List of Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies. I could not have asked for a better recognition of our 7th year of business – quite fitting, no?!
To our partners and operators who have been with us since Day 1 or thereabouts: It’s been an honour to grow and evolve in such great company.
And to our newest partners who have joined us in recent months: Welcome to the party! (ain’t no party like a Honk party?)
On this, our 7th anniversary, I’ve never felt more bullish and excited for Honk’s future, because we’re just getting started…
Stay safe out there,
Honk Founder and CEO