Q+A: Rachel Kaplowitz, Honey
If you are looking for a better way to communicate with your team, check out Honey, a new social network startup based in DUMBO. Think of Honey as a beautifully designed corporate Reddit, where employees can like comments, follow conversation threads, and share anything from internal news to funny gifs. New employees can dive immediately into the company culture while management can upload and archive reference documents for later use.
Honey began its journey at DUMBO-based digital agency Huge but recently moved to a new home at the NYU DUMBO Incubator. Although still in beta, Honey has already attracted over fifty customers, ranging from startups to Fortune 500 brands. We sat down with Honey’s CEO Rachel Kaplowitz to chat about Honey’s beginnings and why she loves working in DUMBO.
Tell us about Honey!
We’re a private social network for companies, similar to an internal Reddit that you only use with your coworkers at the office. Honey started over at Huge. Originally in DUMBO, Huge has since grown to nine offices around the world and employs almost one thousand people. One of their challenges in growing so quickly is figuring out how to keep everyone on the same page and make people feel connected.
We started as a project to solve this problem for Huge. As we were developing the product, we set up digital kiosks set up around the office. Huge’s clients would walk in, see the Honey product everywhere on screens and mention that they also needed a service like Honey. At that point, we realized we’re not just building a project here. We’re building something so much larger to meet a need that companies in all different industries have. We then shifted from project-mode to company-mode.
We moved into the NYU Incubator about two months ago. We are now raising our first round of venture capital. We began selling our product last summer. Initially, we started selling to small teams and startups of about 25-50 people. In September, we began selling to our first enterprise accounts. We are growing really quickly and it has been exciting.
You can feel the passion and creativity here walking through DUMBO... You can’t go out for a coffee without meeting someone who is working on an awesome project.
Rachel Kaplowitz, CEO of Honey
What do you love about working in DUMBO?
In the New York community, especially in DUMBO, everyone wants to help each other. Currently, there are a few startups like us trying to solve problems in HR and communication technology. Although not based in DUMBO (we’ll forgive them), Greenhouse and Namely, in particular, are great mentors to our company. They are a bit ahead of us and they have helped us to meet clients, meet investors, and think through some of the challenges that we are encountering right now. In DUMBO, we are surrounded by awesome companies. You can feel the passion and creativity here walking through DUMBO. Because the neighborhood is so small, everyone is out at Brooklyn Roasting Company, Superfine, or Gran Electrica. You can’t go out for a coffee without meeting someone who is working on an awesome project. Sometimes, meeting someone in the neighborhood will lead to something helpful that will help both persons’ businesses.
What advice do you have for other aspiring entrepreneurs?
Meet as many people as you possibly can. The tech community in New York is super friendly. Go to events at Digital Dumbo, Huge, and NYU. Take advantage of all of the opportunities to meet people. People are always looking to hire. People are always looking to invest. People are really excited to be a part of what is going on right now.