Normally, I’d write a progress update for the past month, but this time I thought it could be fun to look back across the whole year. So below is our journey (including Dec) in “tweet style”. Enjoy!
2020 In Summary:
- Jan: 2020 - it’s going to be a great decade; incorporate co; create deck; list people to speak to in excel (785 of them); 1st investor & advisor (Marcus). The show is on the road.
- Feb: 2020 - weird times, but it’s still going to be a great decade; 1st team members (Barney, Chris and Alex); 2nd investor (Tom); 2nd advisor (Paul); 1st tech proto-type (testing open banking); horrible (self-created) deck and design; Steve joins as co-founder. We have believers!
- Mar: 2020 - COVID marmite: “it doesn’t exist” vs “it’s going to kill us all”; proposition taking shape; testing proto-type in place for user testing; key strategic acceleration by AND Digital investing; 3rd and 4th advisors (Ranila and Francesco) joins; closing first SEIS investment round (£260k and counting). Selected for InvestEast programme. Kathryn joins as co-founder. People are loving a little upside.
- Apr: Lockdown 1.0; 107 video calls (at that time, it was still foreign and fun); The Savings Guru (James) joins as advisor; testing with Distributors and Retailers start, feedback is positive; SEIS funding round grows to and closes on £547k. We have a team!
- May: Home-schooling - starting a business is easy compared to this! Persona and user testing continues - 77.6% love upside (200+ people already on the waiting list); Brian joins as advisor to help us with Retailers; we get FCA sign-off and are trade ready; Let’s do this!
- June: Unprecedented ‘new normal’; 3 distributors are interested in embedding Upside; waiting list now up to 700+; 1st retailer becomes partner; back-end tech rapidly getting there in prep for July launch; but as always, there are hidden hiccups in building tech (keeping published API docs up to date is clearly a challenge).
- July: Home holidaying, I prefer home-schooling actually; Upside launches in Testflight (private beta) and sells out beta testers in less than 2 days; unexpected high conversion rate (invite to complete onboarded); processed 100k+ transactions in a day; tech holding stable; 92% straight through; Paul joins as co-founder. We launched - high five.
- Aug: Giving ‘staycation’ new meaning; bizdev team (Brian, Alastair, Liam) builds pipeline of Retailers; kick-off pre-seed investment round; processed 200k+ transactions whilst tester numbers remain flat - users demand that we allow them to connect multiple bank accounts so they don’t miss out on any upside. Love it when development is driven by user demand.
- Sept: Phew - it looks like the world is about to return to some ‘new normal’; waitlisters urge us / demand to let them in (we allow another 47% mom growth); first paying merchants on board; processed c400k transactions; we fix credit cards (users can now also connect amex); morale reaches a new high; Seedrs campaign launches and we track up to £310k for the pre-seed round. There is SO much to do.
- Oct: We see other humans (exactly 2 times); we let another 42% mom growth users in to allow us more data to develop our cashback matching algo’s; 500k+ transactions processed; Henry (Ops) and John (UX) joins; Steve launches Savvy (our chatbot) to help with customer support; We face our first set of customers having to reauthenticate their open banking connections. Funding round reaches £350k. Learning more than ever before.
- Nov: Here we go again - lockdown 2.0; we sign our first distribution deal; a good few more paying retail partners onboard; getting ready for AppStore launch in Dec; upsides paid grows 73% mom as customers are loving their little frictionless upsides; 750k transactions process; tech and ops holding steady; Ramzi (Product), Sam (Data Science) and Neil (Design) joins; Funding round reaches £504k; Upside wins University of Essex - Fintech; We are having fun (but need a break).
- Dec: A different Christmas; we launch in the AppStore; customers jump; nice jump in signed-up retail partners; we cross a 1mil transactions processed; tech stable, humans not so much, so we take turns to get some rest; we sign our second distribution deal (a big one); get named East Anglia Rising Star by TechNation, and close the pre-seed funding round at £661k.
Phew - not sure how much of a summary that is, but hopefully puts a smile on your face.
2020 - a weird, but deeply humbling year. We have so much to be grateful for. As we look forward to 2021, we want to thank everyone that’s helped us on our journey. Every idea, word of encouragement, investment, referral, connection, and listening ear, has helped us drive forward on our mission!
Our mission to help the two thirds of the world that are excluded from savings, save effortlessly.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED:
We are in the App Store! Sign up and please spread the word.
We are hiring! Specifically looking for Software Engineers - if you know any rockstars, please refer them to Paul.
Please promote our B2B webinars - more details can be found here: