A History of CodeLaunch - Looking Back at 2017 Finalist: HoneyComb
The annual CodeLaunch Startup Competition has given many companies a head start on the journey of entrepreneurship. And for the select few who have succeeded at CodeLaunch, their participation can be a tremendous catalyst for growth and progress.
We recently caught up with D’arcy Young, founder of Honeycomb — and a finalist at CodeLaunch V in 2017 — to talk about his journey. From the company’s beginnings before CodeLaunch through the event experience and moving forward, the Honeycomb story represents the spirit of entrepreneurship.
The Company’s Beginnings
In June of 2016, the “Big Idea” came to D’arcy. He had a long career in real estate, and he noticed the growing trend of co-working — which is when entrepreneurs, freelancers, and other individuals (or small companies) use a shared office environment to do business.
D’arcy was thinking about the commercial real estate business — and how throughout the past 50 years, there had been no changes or innovations in how it’s been managed.
“I saw the three big value propositions — flexible lease terms, cool spaces, and services supported by technology,” said D’arcy. “It’s basically building a community. And when you add to that the changing demographics of the workforce, and you can see why the co-working concept is appealing.”
Realizing that the office building model was “broken,” D’arcy decided to fix it with Honeycomb — a web and mobile-based platform that allows for two-way communication between the landlord, tenant, and service providers. (Kind of like Slack for office buildings.)
Building out the Idea
Darcy realized there was a need for this kind of platform both for landlords and tenants of office and commercial buildings. Owners needed a better way to connect with tenants, as well as offering the next-level technology that today’s generation of tenants want.
Seeing the potential for applying the co-working model at the building level, D’arcy began to develop his idea.
“We can create a new kind of landlord/tenant relationship, provide technology that makes their everyday lives better, and create efficiencies,” said D’arcy. “It also gives management an integrated infrastructure technology — basically like an operating system for office buildings.”
Most buildings were using a variety of separate, disconnected technologies, including work order management systems, parking management systems, and many others. But to more efficiently manage those technologies, an operating system could be created to connect them — which would create a better customer experience and provide value beyond the physical aspects of the building.
D’arcy saw that the office buildings of today need to be tech-agnostic, and by integrating current and future technologies — and seamlessly presenting them internally for usage by property management (such as monitoring energy usage) and providing extra services to tenants.
“By growing the owner/tenant relationship, you can actively do things that they see as intrinsically valuable,” said D’arcy. “Then, tenants will want to stay and owners can increase retention.”
How it Works
Property managers have a lot of responsibilities within their building infrastructure, including (but certainly not limited to) Wi-Fi, access control, parking management, work order management. Most managers have more than four content management programs to handle, as well as the possibility that they’re being asked to use legacy programs they don’t know. And the cost of use can be high, without providing much value.
“Our goal at Honeycomb is to change the way infrastructure is managed,” said D’arcy. “And also, to draw data from it to make correlations that will drive future decisions.”
Some examples of how Honeycomb can deliver benefits for owners and tenants:
- During tenant move-in, Honeycomb can help to provide a seamless experience, providing connectivity, insurance, devices, etc.
- Taking separate issues from separate systems and providing a solution for them all — such as tracking where work orders (such as hot/cold calls) are coming from within the building, and making correlations between IoT (Internet of Things) devices for HVAC units
- Monitoring and controlling various systems more efficiently and solving issues
“It goes beyond just providing software,” said D’arcy. “Property managers can more easily handle the day-to-day operations, so they can focus on making their tenants happy. And for tenants, they get faster responses and better services.
Getting Honeycomb off the ground was tricky, because D’arcy needed building owners and management companies to get on board.
“You really have to start in uptown, downtown, and work your way up from there,” said D’arcy.
But making those kinds of connections takes work and promotion. And when D’arcy heard about the CodeLaunch competition, he was intrigued.
“CodeLaunch was the very first event I had attended for Honeycomb. I had applied sort of on a whim, and was excited to be accepted to the competition.”
An “Awesome Experience” at CodeLaunch V
Not only was he accepted, but D’arcy and Honeycomb were named a finalist at CodeLaunch V, held on August 9, 2017.
“It was a great experience,” said D’arcy. “When the day came, I didn’t realize how big it was going to be. And I learned a lot going through the process.”
At CodeLaunch V, he presented the Honeycomb concept to the five-judge panel, which featured several successful entrepreneurs.
“Going out there and articulating your idea to a large audience was great. I’m not sure I did a great job, because we were still in the early days when you have this huge broad vision that was hard to distill down.”
Benefits of CodeLaunch
But even though Honeycomb wasn’t named the winner, the company definitely got a lot out of the competition.
“While we didn’t get direct investment from the actual event, I did get a number of potential channel partners who approached me post-presentation — some of whom I’m still working with today.”
“And honestly, I’m not sure we were prepared for large investors at that time, either.”
Since the event, Honeycomb has continued on the path to growth:
- Launched their first (beta) product on May 2018
- Released their alpha product in November 2018
- Initial product delivered in May 2019
While the company is generating revenue and raising capital, that’s not the most important goal at this stage of Honeycomb’s development.
“We’re staying focused and staying lean until we’re commercially ready for larger expansion,” said D’arcy. “The important development is the number of buildings that are scheduled to begin using Honeycomb in the second half of 2019.”
Once Honeycomb is up and running with numerous buildings on board, the plan will be to raise more capital and expand the company footprint.
D’arcy is eyeing a seed round for more funding and possibly even Series A investment by the end of 2019.
While the app is currently available — under the name “Honeycomb Buildings” — for Android and iOS, the company also launched “Honeycomb Flex,” which is their co-working solution. This product manages the co-working experience from end to end (lease to payments to amenity reservations, etc.).
In the near future, Honeycomb will likely explore creating products for apartment buildings, as well as universities and hospitals.
Advice For Entrepreneurs Applying to CodeLaunch
D’arcy calls his experience at CodeLaunch “great” and highly recommends anyone who’s thinking about it to apply.
“Just go ahead and do it — because you’ll get a LOT of benefit out of it,” he said. “It makes you really think about what’s important to your concept and your company, as well as the things you’re trying to communicate.”
About CodeLaunch VII
CodeLaunch is an annual seed accelerator competition between individuals and groups who have software technology startup ideas. The event was founded by Code Authority, a software development company in Frisco, TX in 2012.
Since its inception, CodeLaunch has accelerated numerous startup companies and has curated over 1,000 applications from all across the United States and Worldwide. The purpose of the competition is to accelerate the best startups with mission-critical seed services provided by sponsors. There’s no cost nor surrendered equity to participate in the competition and all ideas are protected under an NDA.
CodeLaunch VII will take place Wednesday, July 31, 2019 at the Comerica Center in Frisco, TX. In addition to the entrepreneur competition, CodeLaunch features a Startup Expo trade show that is beneficial for other startups who can meet up, network, and connect with interested supporters and investors.
Click here to learn more about what’s new for CodeLaunch VII or RSVP to reserve your seat at the CodeLaunch event on July 31st!