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Honeycomb Credit is a finalist in this big-deal national pitch competition. Here’s how the fintech startup has grown

If successful, the startup will earn bragging rights from the financial services industry's most influential conference. Plus: Could Pittsburgh be a fintech hub?

Honeycomb Credit CEO George Cook. (Courtesy photo)
A Pittsburgh fintech company is a finalist in a pitch competition at the industry’s biggest conference.

Honeycomb Credit, which makes a crowdfunding loan platform, is one of three companies that will give a live pitch to venture capital judges at the Money20/20 conference in Las Vegas this Sunday. Beyond the judges, the live audience for the final MoneyPitch competition will include executives across a wide variety of businesses in the fintech, cryptocurrency and financial services industries. So far, the conference’s website reports that over 7,500 people and 2,300 companies will be in attendance. Past attendees have included some of the largest banks, Big Tech companies and payment companies in the industry today.

While the competition doesn’t offer a tangible award like funding or other resources, Honeycomb Credit CEO George Cook says it comes with major industry recognition.

“More than anything else, this is kind of the ultimate bragging rights within the financial technology community and the broader financial services ecosystem,” he told Technical.ly.

Honeycomb’s finalist status in the competition comes after a string of other big milestones for the company. In April, it raised a $1.75 million seed round aimed at supporting customer acquisition and business growth.

So far, that mission’s gone well. In September, Honeycomb announced that it had moved $10 million across its platform, which connects small businesses to individual small investors from the community. The number of investors on Honeycomb has also gone up, recently reaching 10,000, Cook said.

“As the dollar amount of investment is increasing, so too is our user base,” he said, adding that the company has now also worked with 150 small businesses across 16 states, and has plans to further expand.

The company was also recently named a winner of Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs’ LIFToff Financial Impact Challenge, bringing in more funding and kudos.

Receiving the recognition of even being a finalist in the MoneyPitch competition is a significant testament to the work Honeycomb does.

“We’re really starting to hit our stride and really prove that Honeycomb is a viable way to get capital to small businesses, while creating really fun new ways for people to invest in in their own local community and earn returns,” said Cook. “And so I think the validation of being a finalist shows that we’ve reached the stage where people are acknowledging the fact that we’ve proven that this works. And now it’s all about scaling it up.”

Regardless of whether or not Honeycomb is successful in Sunday’s pitch competition, this moment is also significant for what Cook sees as a burgeoning fintech sector in Pittsburgh. Most recently, cryptocurrency firm Stronghold Digital Mining debuted a hugely successful IPO, while other fintech players like Pineapple Payments have gone public through acquisitions.

Those successes, paired with the heavy presence of technical talent and financial services company headquarters like PNC’s in Pittsburgh, will push the local fintech industry forward, Cook said.

“I think the formula is right, that the things that are necessary to be a financial technology hub, that Pittsburgh has,” he said. “And there’s some really fun concepts that are that are bubbling up out of Pittsburgh, and I think we’re gonna see more of that.”

Sophie Burkholder is a 2021-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Heinz Endowments.
Companies: Honeycomb Credit

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