March 11, 2020

Greetings Investors & Advisors,

Thank you all for your continued guidance and support. First thing I want to say is that I acknowledge that in the second half of 2019 I haven’t provided official updates. Why? It was a challenging time for Upstock. We had some difficulty raising funds, work slowed down and I didn’t have much great news to share. Yes it would have been a good time to share anyway. Also, we seemed continually on the cusp of a solid raise so I kept deferring, waiting for the good news. Recently a string of wonderful things have unfolded. I’m excited to share them with you below.

Here are the important updates to share:

  1. We joined Acceleprise.vc, one of the top Business to Business SaaS accelerator programs in the world. They also invested $100k.
  2. Additional investment of $50k.
  3. We’ve upgraded our go to market plan to more accurately target our ideal customer base, Inhouse General Counsel plus founders between Seed and Series A.
  4. Completed the latest major version of our legal documents.
  5. New features are coming soon.
  6. International versions of the docs coming soon.
  7. Pricing.
  8. Traction.
  9. New Partnerships.
  10. Hired Amanda Baker to write content and assist on miscellaneous projects.
  11. Introducing our new advisor Eric Ries of the Lean Startup and the Long Term Stock Exchange.
  12. Onboarding our new advisor Alex Feerst, General Counsel to Neurolink.
  13. What’s next for Upstock?
  14. How you can get involved.

Latest materials here:

Executive Summary Http://docs.upstock.io/summary

Deck: Http://docs.upstock.io/deck

Walkthrough: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u181XArOIYc&feature=youtu.be%3Fvq%3Dhd720

1. Acceleprise

Accelerprise is a Business to Business (B2B) Software as a Service (SaaS) accelerator and mentorship program that invests in early stage enterprise technology companies. Their program focuses on developing go-to-market strategies, sales, and fundraising through workshops, one on one meetings with theAcceleprise team, and introductions to mentors, investors and potential customers. Their investment of  $100k has extended our runway 6+ months and has given us the opportunity to expand our team. The Accelerprise program has been incredibly helpful in upgrading our understanding of exactly how to get 100 paying customers, as well as expanding our sales and marketing knowledge base. They have also made incredible introductions and insights into expanding our network. We are grateful for the opportunity to continue learning and collaborating with the Acceleprise team through May of 2020.

2. $50k Investment

We received another investment of $50k from incredible angel investors. Our newest investors are fellow startup founders backed by Benchmark. Our story is building momentum and is really coming together.

In the last year we have raised $250k. We will keep raising like this until we reach enough customers that we can do a proper seed round. Perhaps 50-100 paying companies. If they pay a minimum of $500 a month then we are looking at $25,000 -$50,000 Annual Recurring Revenue.

3. Upgraded Go-to-Market Plan: Clarification of Initial Customer Profile

Over the last couple weeks I’ve had 40 potential customer conversations. I’ve learned that the easiest companies to close are between Seed and Series A funding. This demographic has few if any affordable options to grant equity to their workers despite being the group that would benefit the most from leveraging equity for less pay. Upstock can fill that gap. Our ideal customer is a company between Seed and Series A.  

This week I had a realization, rather than targeting CEOs directly, why not approach companies through their general counsel? As general counsel attorneys are able to see the potential benefits Upstock can provide their company. With Upstock general counsel is able to deploy RSU’s without taking hours of their time. In addition, the Upstock dashboard can be used to help explain equity to their workers.  Our tools make their job much easier.

We are currently looking for intros to GC’s at companies with 100 or fewer workers.

4. Latest version of our top shelf legal documents.

A couple months ago Terry Williams and Fred Whittlesey, our risk adverse legal extraordinaires  completed reviewing and enhancing our legal documents yet again. We are now starting active sales and marketing. In the past our advisers cautioned against adding too many customers until the legal documents were signed off by the best of the best.

5. Features Map

Now that we’re going to market, we will be focusing on adding additional features starting with new vetting technology to verify potential customer leads. We are also in the process of updating the Upstock website’s UI/UX for a more modern and mobile friendly look as well as building a new one button click-to-launch feature to convert existing stock options into Restricted Stock Units.  

6. International doc support coming soon

Our legal team is finishing a version of our docs that will work in 40-70 countries. We are receiving a lot of customer demand around the world that we have not been able to meet.

7. Pricing

We are moving from a tiered pricing structure to a per-user model. We will be charging $30 to $50 per worker per month. Overall our solution lowers the cost of deploying an equity plans by 75% compared to traditional equity plans due to attorney's fees and 409A valuations.

8. Traction

Great news, we currently have 25 paying customers. Many of these we are in the process of up selling to a higher plan. Still no huge amount of revenue. We have had a lot of mixed feedback in pricing. Some folks at the accelerator believe that we should be at $50 per worker per month. One of our partners I just spoke with recommends we should be closer to $20 to be competitive with current options. Recently we have been testing a $100 per worker set up fee plus $10 a month. It seems to be a hit.

9. New Partnerships

We are currently in partnership talks with several Human Resources platforms (Early Growth, Gusto and Trinet). I will be presenting to Early Growth’ part time CFOs in early May. In the meantime EG will start recommending us to their 100’s of companies. They said that they see Upstock as the future and we are an incredibly scalable technology.

10. New Hire: Amanda Baker

Amanda Baker has spent the last ten years working as a paralegal and personal assistant to a sole practitioner specializing in taxation, wealth management, estate planning, and probate. She graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature. Amanda will be working on content creation and assisting the executive team.  

11. New Advisor: Erik Ries

We are excited to welcome Erik Ries, author, entrepreneur and creator of the Lean Startup movement as one of our new advisors. His book, The Lean Startup, has been read by every startup founder in Silicon Valley who hasn’t been hiding under a rock. He is currently the founder and CEO of the Long-Term Stock Exchange, the 14th newest stock exchange which offers incentives to reward long-term business strategies and investments.

12. New Advisor: Alex Feerst

We are excitedly onboarding Alex Feerst as a new advisor. Alex Feerst is the general counsel of Neuralink, a neurotechnology company founded by Elon Musk to develop tools that connect computers with the human brain. He formerly was general counsel to the publishing platform Medium where he was head of the Legal and Trust Safety teams. He currently serves on the board of the San Francisco Intellectual Property Law Association as well as the American Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Law Section’s Committee on Continuing Education.

13. What’s next for Upstock?

Now that we have a complete set of legal templates optimized to minimize risk to employers and employees integrated with the completed software platform, we see how companies are feeling really confident about Upstock. We are ready for the market. We are making a sales push to gain 100 customers.

We will continue to build out our sales and marketing materials and eventually will bring on a sales account executive to properly scale Upstock as well as manage sales and onboarding new customers.

14. How can you get more involved?

We are looking to network with General Counsel to companies, if you know some we would love an intro.

Know of a company Upstock can help? Our ideal customers are start-ups and any company between Seed and Series A funding.  

Please feel free to contact me directly or use the following link to schedule a meeting:  upstock.youcanbook.me.

Looking forward to connecting with you!

Cheers,

Casey

CASEY FENTON

+1.415.786.4546

casey@upstock.io