Blog #2 - March 2020

I'm humbled by the sheer amount of support we've been given over the past 3 months, and even more so by the integrity of our team, advisors and investors.

Despite the world looking pretty bleak at some points, even personal illness in some cases, every last person stuck by us and delivered on their commitments, whether it be time, money or connections. A deep sincere THANK YOU!

I hope that you and your families are well and stay well during this time.
Lots to update on from last time, so let's start:

Covid-19 impact

Starting with the obvious question: how has and will the pandemic impact on Upside? So far we've been fortunate enough to not be impacted significantly, but this is mainly due to our early stage of development.

  • Development has actually accelerated recently (the first two weeks was tough as everyone scrambled to find new ways of working, but we are through that)
  • Partnering conversations have slowed in the last week and a half. But mainly at larger enterprises. Small companies are much more responsive. Our view is that this is a temporary blip as it takes larger organisation longer to reset ways of working and set new norms

Product development
March has been fantastic in terms of our development velocity. As always the start was painful as we needed to find our own ways of working, patterns and rhythms, but the beauty of an experienced team is that they punch through complexity quickly. We now have:

  • Detailed customer journeys for most of the key journeys, ready for testing and build
  • We have a testing app (in true MVP style, it's bare, but it's alive and being improved each day), and
  • the back-end application is progressing nicely

Of course we'd always want to go faster, but the proverbial train is now on the tracks and moving.

Retail & Service Partners

With the upheaval in March, much of our larger enterprise conversations where pushed back into April, but we had some wins on the smaller companies.

We now have 10 team members at Upside. Each one passionate about our mission to help people save. Each experienced in their field. Coming together as a team. With all the key skills we need included: Sales, Tech, Operations, Product, UX, Research, Design, Marketing and Business Development.


In addition to our great Advisory Board members Marcus East and Paul Clark that I introduced last time, we now also have Ranila Ravi-Burslem and Francesco Cardoletti on board.

  • Ranila leads SME Solutions for Aviva in the UK. Previously she was Director of marketing for NEST (National Employment Savings Trust) where she had responsibility for customer strategy, propositions, distribution, and digital across commercial and retail markets. Her experience and connections in the savings space has already been invaluable.
  • Francesco as successful serial entrepreneur and Entrepreneur in Residence at Citi Ventures is helping us shape out Product and Proposition, especially from a distribution perspective.


I'm delighted to announce that we've successfully closed our SEIS round, as targeted by the end of March. This gives us:

  • HMRC advanced assurance of our SEIS and EIS tax relief status confirmed, and
  • Total of £260k cash investment thus far

Other news, with a smile

  • Upside has officially been approved and enrolled into Open Banking. This means that we have full access to the OB Sandbox and can test with sandbox data. We still need to obtain our FCA approval to become a fully licenced AISP (account information services provider), but the first key step has completed successfully.
  • We've also been selected for the InvestEast programme (one of 20ish companies across East Anglia) which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and results into funding opportunities with the Anglia Capital and Cambridge Angels networks.
  • We've been fortunate not to have suffered a 'video call catastrophe' (think completely obscure items or people in the background)... yet... but we have seen a few interesting things...

Stay safe and well! ...and always look on the upside of life... {sorry I just had to}