Our Story Starts with…
…two cashless travelers, a major credit card company, a Denver restaurant, the Amazon rainforest, two rental car bus drivers and plenty of doubters!
The concept of Honey came to be one night over dinner in Denver when two of our founders (Chip and Frank) were discussing similar problems. They had each desired to tip a service worker before arriving in Denver, but were not carrying cash. It was frustrating that a simple tool didn’t exist that would enable two people to exchange money without the two people having the same app or having to trade app IDs, telephone numbers or email addresses. They wondered why they couldn’t they just simply tap or shake their phones or use some sort of a QR code mechanism to pay another person.
They got the bill at the restaurant and, still not having cash in hand, they had to pay using a credit card.
About six months later Frank visited the Brazilian rainforest. There he learned how the river people participate in the local economy when they need medicine or help from the outside world. In the river basin, floating homes are rare, yet the floating houses he saw, housed cows and solar power panels.
Intrigued, he wanted to learn more. In talking with the village chief, she explained to him that the cow serves as the village’s bank account. It all starts with the village trading for a calf and raising the calf into a cow. When they need money to interact with the outside world, they sell the cow at market. If left to roam, the cow risks getting eaten by land and water predators, so they are kept in the floating houses for protection. It was intriguing because while the cows and solar panels had refuge, the villagers had to contend with electric eels swimming through their kitchens during the rainy season.
The solar panels were to charge the villager’s cell phones. Two boat rides and plane ride away from the nearest city lies a village with houses that have no electricity, but nearly every person had a cell phone. The concept was fascinating. Mobile phones and floating cows, it was a sign.
The next day, Frank saw a boat pass his floating house and a local told him it was a floating ATM that comes down the river every two weeks to serve all of the communities along the river. It was then he knew he had to pursue Honey full time.
When Frank returned to the U.S., he parted ways with his day job, but he had so many ideas of what could be and he was trying to piece it all together. About two months later, he received a call from future founder Peter Melerski. At the time, Frank was looking at trying to figure out how to buy an existing credit card network to give away free payments (supported by enabling the merchant to retarget the credit card user). Peter invited Frank to La Jolla to discuss buying the network and the whole idea of Honey. Two days in, Peter and Frank officially formed Honey and started working together to take Honey from an idea to a company with a product.
A few months later Chip joined and we had our team.
Next Section: Team