D’Arcy Young tells us how Honeycomb’s software hub unifies building technologies into a single application that is mobile, user friendly and easy to manage.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
D’Arcy Young: We are doing well. Things have obviously been different over the last 12 months, but we have now fully adapted to the new operating procedures of everyday life.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Honeycomb.
D’Arcy Young: This is my 3rd/4th career. My first one was in entertainment as VP of New Media for Miramax, the 2nd was as co-founder of Metapa (aka Greenplum), the third was in a variety of areas in commercial real estate, and my fourth is a combination of everything that preceded it with the founding of Honeycomb – an operating system for commercial real estate.
How does Honeycomb innovate?
D’Arcy Young: We innovate daily. A good example is a recent partnership with My Labs Direct. We were looking for a way to help office tenants bring their workforce back to the office. We reached out to a number of different COVID testing providers to see if anyone could help us roll out a program that would be scalable and efficient for our tenants. We deployed that program, and then we thought that perhaps tenants might be interested in an absolute way to manage the program. What came out of that is we realized that since Honeycomb was already installed and linked to the access control system of our buildings and, in many cases, tenant suites, we could add additional criteria for access control. Meaning we could not only limit a user’s access based on association/credentials, but we could also limit it based on additional criteria like whether a COVID test had recently been taken and whether the test was negative. Now we are thinking about a passport feature into the platform that could include things like immunizations for hospital works, etc.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
D’Arcy Young: It has been negligible other than it has delayed our plans for raising capital, and it stopped us from signing a major customer who wanted to take a wait and see approach as it relates to the pandemic. We didn’t grow as fast as we would have liked, but we feel fortunate that we were afforded the opportunity to have the time to erase our entire technical deficit and be ready for what we think will be a great 2021.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
D’Arcy Young: Fortunately, it did not work for us on the downside, but it did limit our ability to grow and hire more talent. I also think for a period of time there, it took a toll on the culture of the company. Without being able to meet face-to-face, we ended up focusing more on tasks rather than collaboration.
In some ways, that was great because we could all focus on what we needed to get done, and a level of autonomy arose, but we definitely felt like our creativity suffered somewhat.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
D’Arcy Young: I am a big believer in face-to-face meetings in order to get people excited about a product. Obviously, that was not happening over the last 12 months, and we were very reliant on Google Meet. That was great in some respects as we saved a lot of time and money in terms of travel, but the numbers don’t lie, and our sales cycle definitely increased. In most cases, it was over 30% of our average.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
D’Arcy Young: We did not.
Your final thoughts?
D’Arcy Young: The pandemic has been a tough period to navigate from a societal perspective. It really is the first global test of our collective health systems. It is amazing we were able to develop several vaccines in a very short period. Those vaccines were developed using a whole new set of technologies that were adopted very quickly. We see that same thing happening across so many areas of business and consumer products.