Locofy is the India-Pakistan startup story we need
It was a stroke of luck that Honey and Sohaib got together.
They met in Singapore when working at the caregiving startup Homage and travel startup Wego respectively, and immediately realized that they held similar values. They had complementary skill sets, and shared an enthusiasm for the developer ecosystem.
They soon began talking about ideas and after a while found themselves giving up their lucrative jobs with a dream of building a global developer tools company.
This dream has become a juggernaut, because Locofy, a low code platform that turns design files into production grade front-end code, launched a year ago. The Start-up has already raised more than $3 million from BoldCap, Accel, GGV, January Capital, and other angel investors.
Sachin Tendulkar and Wasim Akram on the same team
Honey is Indian while Sohaib is from Pakistan. Honey's childhood was spent near the Himalayan foothills in Dehradun, where his father owned a general store. From the age of seven, he would help out by sitting at the counter during his father's lunch breaks. Honey's family was quite large, with fifty-two first cousins, and money wasn't always easy to come by. His mother took up a job as an art teacher at their school, so that Honey and his sister could pursue something different. Eventually, his sister became an aeronautical engineer and Honey aspired to become an Air Force pilot.
Like many Indian students with good grades, Honey applied to the best colleges. "I got accepted to BITS-Pilani and Stephen's in Delhi, but I couldn't afford to attend as it was expensive. It would have entailed taking out a loan, getting a job to pay off the loan, and this is apart from my financial responsibility of taking care of my parents. It would have been a vicious cycle. Singapore was a lifesaver for me."
For Honey, being accepted to the National University of Singapore with a scholarship was a total game-changer - just like going to the US in the 80s or 90s would have been for many Indian engineers. Honey has now lived in Singapore for close to two decades, almost half of his life. In his early years, he attended university and even worked at a Shell gas station as a cashier to make ends meet. These experiences helped shape him into the founder he is today. He is very fond of his adopted country and setting up Locofy here is his way of giving back. It's also where he met Sohaib.
The sentiment is mutual for Sohaib, who similarly found the prospect of a better life in Singapore. Sohaib hailed from Pakistan and his father is a teacher like Honey’s mother.
Working together but for other companies
When Honey was product manager at Wego, Sohaib was his first engineering recruit. “I asked if he had any knowledge of developing for Android, and he said he did, though in actuality he had no such experience. Within 21 days, however, he had learned and put together a remarkable product that was chosen by the Editors as one of Asia's best apps. Additionally, he was able to construct a mobile website that became the fastest travel site of its kind, even though he had no history in web development. That's the kind of person he is!”, said Honey.
Ever since their time at Wego, the two have been working together mostly and they have been buddies for a decade. They respected one another's professional potential, connected over a similar background and discovered that they had a shared ambition to build a business from Singapore to the world.
What the pandemic brought
When the pandemic hit in 2020, Honey and Sohaib were working at Homage, a health technology business, and they experienced a large increase in demand for their services. Although they found it rewarding to help people in need, it was draining and Honey decided to take a six-month break. Well, at least that was the plan.
Around the same time, during one of their brainstorming sessions, Sohaib proposed an ambitious concept of a low code platform that could help developers create high-quality code from design files in hours instead of months. Honey loved it and saw the potential, so they sent their work to some of their mentors and acquaintances to get feedback. Surprisingly, within two days they had almost a million dollars' worth of funding commitments and a lot of feedback. They were astonished by the response and decided to start Locofy.
“We set out to create the product and our initial launch was on Product Hunt, and we were excited as we received seven awards, including #1 Product of the Month, Dev Tool of the Month,and Design Tool of the Month. So far, We have already automated over 50 million lines of code, and our users are from 160+ countries. We've been able to raise more than $3 million and are backed by BoldCap, Accel, GGV, January Capital and notable founders like Rajoshi from Hasura”, says Honey.
"At Locofy, we want to replicate the success Amazon Web Services had for developers when it started - a lofty ambition, but by no means an impossibility,” they say.
Honey also attests that the bond with BoldCap is special one since Sathya was one of the first to believe in them. He helped us form the perfect cap table, he is a hands-on product guy who always has our back and will continue to be a sounding board.