Founder Spotlight: Sara Margulis of Honeyfund 

Want to know what it is really like to start a company? In our Founder Spotlight series we have candid conversations with real founders about the good, bad and ugly of getting your hands dirty and building a business.

Meet Sara Margulis of Honeyfund. Honeyfund is a wedding gift registry that helps couples receive the gift of funds for wedding, honeymoon and beyond from their friends and family. We had the opportunity to speak with their Honeyfund co-founder Sara Margulis to learn more about her journey, passion and how her dream honeymoon became a business. Check out the details of what her team is up to at Honeyfund.

How did you get here & what motivates you now?

Honeyfund is a wedding gift registry that helps couples receive the gift of funds for wedding, honeymoon and beyond from their friends and family. I started Honeyfund in 2006 with my then-husband after planning our own wedding. We didn’t want a blender or a toaster for wedding gifts. We really wanted a dream honeymoon in Fiji, so we asked guests to help fund our honeymoon as their gift. After our wedding, our guests enthusiastically asked us to do the same for them – so we created Honeyfund.

We were soon featured in various publications as well as invited to ABC’s Shark Tank – then it became bigger than we could imagine. After going through a divorce with my co-founder, I started exploring ways people could use Honeyfund to receive the celebration and support they need throughout marriage. So what drives me today is not just making the honeymoon happen but helping couples “keep the honeymoon going” – that is to  keep love alive throughout their marriage

How many pitches do you give a week/did you give to get funding?

Honeyfund has taken a different funding path. We were a profitable business that was invited to Shark Tank. Prior to that, we had only delivered one pitch, primarily looking to fund the growth of the staff we needed to serve the customers. Our Shark Tank investment from Kevin O’Leary allowed us to go after that growth. Since then we’ve raised funds through StartEngine via equity crowdfunding. More than 3,300 investors have joined us to the tune of more than $1.55 m!

What is your favorite beverage? 

I’d have to say water, I’m a huge fan of hydration! But I also love coffee and Italian red wine.

Why do people care about your solution? 

Today, wedding couples care about experiences more than household items. And they aren’t interested in spending $30k on a wedding. I believe we are currently at a  pivotal moment in the wedding industry. The pandemic really shifted people’s perspectives. They see the importance of doing something authentic vs spending crazy amounts of money on table settings. 

Honeyfund is even more relevant today as it speaks to a new age of couples that want to express their wedding in an authentic way. I believe they understand that they need support to not only have a honeymoon but to keep the honeymoon going. Honeyfund empowers their friends and family to support their milestones. Where else can you sign up for a service and end up with $2,500 in your pocket?

How does your typical day start? 

My day starts with coffee and some exercise. I read the news to get inspired for the day – and then I take a moment to set my intentions. It is really easy in my role to get sucked into the day so that moment of focus helps me stay focused on the big picture. 

What keeps you up at night? 

That I’m not paying attention to something really important. As a founder-CEO who operated the business for 15 years, it’s been a dream to be able to hand off the day-to-day to my fabulous team. But it’s a lot of work to transfer 15 years of institutional knowledge so I worry something got forgotten.

If you had to pick – a night out or a night in? 

A night out! I’m an extravert so I get energized by people.

Have you had to pivot since your initial idea? 

We had a couple of pivot points. Expansion and diversification. When the pandemic hit, it had an outsized impact on the wedding industry – so we needed to start thinking about how to diversify our gifting. When Honeyfund first started, our business plan heavily involved advertising revenue – but our community wasn’t large enough. So we pivoted to a user-pay strategy with a free and premium subscription model. Today we are big enough to be able to work with select advertisers – mainly in travel. We also monetize the sale of gift cards. Our goal is always to bring more value and enhance the user experience with our partnership/advertising models.

Was there a time you messed up and felt like you’d failed? How did you bounce back? 

Several times. The biggest one that stands out is when Honeyfund became big enough for other wedding companies to notice, they were deciding to either build or buy to compete with us. We missed an opportunity to get purchased or to develop some better competitive strategies. Deep down I was afraid of it so I just focused on other stuff and didn’t address it head-on. 

Now, coming out of the pandemic, growth is incredibly strong – despite the competition. I’m learning how to be a strategy-focused CEO with coaching and leadership classes. I am working with a fabulous team that is having fun building a great brand, together.

Do you have any pets? 

Yes, a sweet Lhasa Apso named Charlie! She is my “fluff therapy.”

What is one thing people don’t know/misconception of being a founder?

A common misconception is that founders have everything together and that they know everything. That isn’t true. I’ve been pretty open about my mistakes on the business side, and the journey that led to splitting with my ex-husband and buying him out of the business. I know I still have so much more to learn.

Coffee or Tea? 


Are you a natural risk taker or do you embrace risk taking? 

I personally have a high-risk tolerance, but I look to my team to collaborate on the identification of risks and agree on a path forward. That’s the beauty of a diverse leadership team, is that you can get information from multiple perspectives and take educated risks. We are also big fans of testing – if it’s feasible to test – why not try?

What do you know now that you wish you knew earlier?

I wish I had known the impact Shark Tank was going to have on our business, and how to staff a team to keep up with the growth. I would have hired a COO and raised more money initially, instead of believing I could do it all myself. But I’m grateful for all I’ve learned along the way!

At Buzzy Rocket we're passionate about supporting startups. Whether you are a client or not, we want to support your vision and your growth. We know first hand how exciting, difficult, fun, and lonely it can be to bring your vision to life. Contact us for more information about how we can support your startup and/or if you want to be considered for the Founder Spotlight Series.

Debbie is co-founder, chief of customer success at Buzzy Rocket and yellow lab lover. From LA to London, she is well known as an expert in creating that certain elusive magic that drives explosive growth at the intersection of companies, customers and mobile. She has proven strategic vision, and isn’t afraid to get in the trenches. In fact, she’s been doing this at companies big and small for 25+ years. Her background includes executive level positions at both public companies and startups where she has proven over and over again that her passion, drive and results oriented perspective get it done. She is tenacious, loves the game changer and loves to win.

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