Finding our spot: A love letter to 5 years of parking.

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 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.

Michael Headshot (1).jpg

- MB

Meet the Honkers. Eddie: Sales and Sports Aficionado.


Deals, deals, deals! Everyone knows how vital sales is to any organization, but does everyone know what really goes on in a sales org? We’re sitting down with Eddie - a member of the sales squad here at Honk to get an inside look into a day in the life at a parking tech startup.

Honk: So Eddie, can you take us through a day at Honk? What’s the first thing you do when you get into the office in the morning? And what’s the last thing before you leave for the day?

Eddie: Every day at Honk is different, that’s what makes it such an exciting place to work. One thing that never changes is at 9:01am you can find me at the Keurig machine in the kitchen making my first coffee. From there it’s over to SalesForce to see what my tasks are for the day. The rest of the day will involve many calls, emails and demos of our parking platform. You’ll rarely find me in the office from 12-1pm as I enjoy a good midday workout. The last thing I do before I leave the office is make sure all my tasks for the day are completed and my schedule is set for the following day.

Honk: What’s the most challenging part about your job?

Eddie: Finding the right person at the right time. I would say this is true with 99% of sales jobs, talking to the right person can be the difference between making a sale or not. I had one potential client who I had been harassing (eeeerm, 'persistently trying to get in touch with') for 3 months, and I finally went over his head and called his superior. His boss loved Honk and we had it set up within 2 weeks.

Honk: What do you think the biggest misconception is around sales?

Eddie: The biggest misconception is that people think sales is all about wining, dining and partying with clients. There are definitely times where you get to enjoy going out with clients, but you have to put in countless hours of prospecting, cold calling, and presentations before you get to this point.

Honk: Favourite office snack?

Eddie: Without a doubt, peanut butter stuffed pretzel bites.

Honk: When not at work, where would you most likely be found?

Eddie: You will either find me in a hockey rink, or at my local pub watching the Maple Leafs. In the summer, you can catch me relaxing on the dock at the cottage from sunrise to sunset.

Honk: What’s your biggest pet peeve when it comes to parking in Toronto?

Eddie: Finding it! Before Honk, I would drive around aimlessly trying to find parking in the city that was affordable and convenient. Shameless plug - Honk takes the pain out of parking - period.

Well there you have it. A quick look into a day-in-the-office at Honk from a Sales perspective!

Eddie in his summer natural habitat: cottage-ing up North in Ontario.

Eddie in his summer natural habitat: cottage-ing up North in Ontario.

A (not-so-typical) Typical Summer Internship at Honk. Written by the Intern.

This past summer I was fortunate enough to intern at Honk. It was quite the journey, I had a great summer dabbling in all business functions at a tech startup, seeing firsthand how all the pieces work together. I met a lot of great people and was thoroughly impressed with positive workplace atmosphere, as I enjoyed coming to work each and every day.

First Day @ Honk |

7:00 AM - Still in bed. Didn’t have to start until 10:00 AM. (Winning!)

10:00 AM - Came into the office and met with CFO (Jordan). I am working under him for the summer in a variety of capacities, ranging from market reporting to preparing materials for decks. (No coffee runs!)

12:00 PM - First team lunch, this is where I formally met the entire team. No doubt a ton of moving parts in a fast paced startup, these monthly meetings are used to ensure all team members across all teams are in-the-know about updates and changes. Communication is KEY. Also, lunch is DEE-LICIOUS.

4:00 PM - I am finally added to the Honk Slack channel and thus officially feel like a part of the team.

Sales Exposure |

A large part of my summer consisted of working closely with the sales team - Eddie, Tyson & Kacey. I researched and established promotional material for pitching to new and existing clients in order to expand Honk’s operations.

9:00 AM - Tasked with acting as a translator on a call to a french speaking municipality. This is the first time I have used my French Immersion education in over 5 years. Whoever said you didn’t need French in wrong, friend.

11:30 AM - The sales team meets to discuss sales strategy and funnel planning. My job is to update Honk’s internal database or take notes to keep the team on track.

Sales & Customer Support/Operations reppin' the new Honk gear.

Sales & Customer Support/Operations reppin' the new Honk gear.

Operations / Marketing Exposure |

Another large aspect of my summer was working with the operations team and creating informational dashboards to keep clients informed and happy, as well as working closely with our marketing manager, Rachel, to help with our marketing efforts.

10:00 AM - Meet with Mia or Kacey to determine if any existing clients need reporting and to discuss deliverables.

10:15 AM - Annoy the dev. team about various SQL functions, which I learned over the summer.

11:00 AM - Rachel has me draft our varying press releases, and make edits. Honk is growing like crazy this summer - I have a huge funnel of releases to dabble at.

3:00 PM - Finish the dashboard and present the findings to either the sales team or Mia. Occasionally, this data is used for marketing purposes or for press releases.

Summer Social |

8:00 PM - Arrive at Rec Room. Food is abundant and we have received tokens to play arcade games as well as participate in a virtual reality game of Ghostbusters.

10:00 PM - Kacey is exhibiting considerable talent at live Karaoke, and I am very full from all the delicious appetizers.

11:00 PM - Jeremy is now evoking some inner Gord Downie on the mic and everyone at Honk is impressed with his hidden talent.

11:15 PM - I have just beaten Tyson, Eddie and Andre at the football oriented arcade game. Riding a high (this may have been the highlight of the internship, not gonna lie).

12:00 AM - I have been gifted the team’s tokens and was able to make a big purchase of Dots Candy and a flashlight. All in all - a great night!

Final Thoughts |

I now know more about the parking industry than I ever thought possible. My friends continually asked me throughout the summer “how is the parking space?”. Jokes aside, it’s been super interesting to get a deep dive into how an industry that is typically an afterthought in the day-to-day lives of most people, can be as complex as it is. And how technology can really transform such an old fashioned space.

Ghostbusters VR Game @ The Rec Centre.

Ghostbusters VR Game @ The Rec Centre.

Just a Few of Our Favourite Apps

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. But what’s an app on the home-screen worth? Quite a lot we think. Here at Honk we definitely rely on apps to help us with, well, life. From finding parking (duh!), to finding that last minute hotel accommodation, we’ve compiled a few of our favourite apps that our team just can’t live without.

Jiffy: Leaky sink? Malfunctioning AC? Can’t do anything with your hands other than Instagram? Not all of us at Honk are what you'd call "handy". Thankfully there's Jiffy. This app connects us to a network of service providers, in real-time, based on proximity, availability and ratings. We're not going to give names, but one of our employees may have used Jiffy to drill a floating shelf on the wall.... 

Foodora: After a long day at Honk, our staff is sometimes far too exhausted to make dinner. For times like these, we mindlessly turn to Foodora. All our favourite restaurants delivered right to our front-door via bicycle delivery person. With the tap of a button, we can satisfy that 10pm pad thai craving. It's quite the time we live in. Thank you technology - sincerely, our stomachs.

Bandsintown: Concert season is upon us, and Bandsintown has us covered. This handy app syncs our favourite music app and get updates on tours, concert venues and ticket prices - all in one place. There’s a bunch of die-hard concert-goers here at Honk HQ - so you can trust that we rely on this app to make sure we’re in the know with all shows coming to town.

HotelTonight: Let us preface by saying that our team loves to travel. Whether it be a quick trip to Amsterdam, a weekend in San Francisco, or a two week stint in Morocco - Honkers love to get out there and travel. Life can sometimes make it hard to plan ahead for a trip; for times like these we’re so thankful for HotelTonight. This travel app gives us great deals at premium hotels for these last minute trips. We simply go into the app, select the city and dates, and can book straight from the app.

Honk: And finally, we had to include our very own app - it’s not a bias, it’s just plain ol’ common sense! People are busy - time is valuable. Honk helps avoid wasting time circling the block trying to find parking - and lets you search, find and pay for that parking spot before you even leave the front door. We have an iPhone and Android version - and for those without a smartphone, we have an eCommerce enabled website. 

Do you feel like we forgot to include a cannot-live-without-app? Hit us up - we love discovering new apps!