When a startup has employees based all over the world, communication will inevitably become an issue. In fact, when the CEO has to repeat what he just told a staffer in the US to another staffer in Japan, it becomes a huge problem. No one has time to keep repeating instructions, or answering the same questions over and over again.
Furthermore, no one has the time to attend meeting after meeting, when their core job scope is to do work, and not sit in status meetings. What if there is a way to have a bird’s eye view of what everyone is working on, without having to get them in a meeting room?
With those factors in mind, David Clarkson, who was part of American corporation EMC and led a team of more than 100 service professionals in Asia Pacific and Japan, started Singapore-based Honeyhive, a free mobile and web application. The solution allows the users to chat about tasks in real-time, prioritise tasks according to urgency, filter projects, and reduce email.
He told e27, “My team was measured on billable utilisation (the per cent of time they are billable vs. not billable), so it was particularly painful to see such a high percentage of time spent on calls and in meetings simply because there was no viable technology alternative.”
With the solution, these team members can focus on role-specific and value-creating activities, and enjoy a dramatic reduction in terms of involvement in penning email and status meetings.
According to Clarkson, Honeyhive has four developers working web and mobile out of Zhtomyr in Ukraine, a Marketing Head based out of Singapore, and a front-end developer in Forth Worth, Texas. In the near future, there will be more hiring announcements. “As with any team,” he said, “we need to know who is working on what, so we can prioritise the alignment of resources.”
At the moment, the design and interface of Honeyhive does seem similar to Trello, a free-to-use web-based project management system.
However, Honeyhive seems to have done it right with the chat and collaboration option. One reason why project management is so tedious is that people do different things on different platforms. Clarkson said, “We had essentially eliminated email and centralised all of our work content in the platform, however, we were still using Skype for instant messaging. That meant we still needed to search Honeyhive and Skype to find previous discussions or content. So we added intuitive, real-time chat to Honeyhive.”
At the moment, the mobile app is only available on iOS with around 75 per cent of web app functionality. In the next six months, the team is looking to complete the iPhone app and release a fully functional Android app. In addition, while Honeyhive has “several thousand users globally, and several corporate customers in Singapore”, Clarkson noted that they are aiming to drive substantial user base growth in Asia, particularly in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.