Upstock

Investor & Adviser Update

Q3 - October 2021

Greetings Investors and Advisors,

Thank you so much for all of your support. Our third quarter of 2021 was fast-paced. Wow, what a great time to build a company. Company owners worldwide are realizing that being equitable is good for founders, good for workers and good for the world. Upstock is in a great position to help a lot more companies succeed while helping create a better world.

Here are the important updates, you can see more detailed updates on each point further down past my signature block.

1. Upstock's Updated Vision Statement

- “Help increase global worker equity from 8% up to 30% in the next decade, thereby quadrupling median household wealth.”

2. New Product: RTUs

- Crypto Companies need Restricted Token Units (RTU) instead of simply offering Tokens

- Upstock now has a RTU solution and we are testing with blockchain companies

- “...we expect to see the market for token compensation moving toward restricted token units...” Harvard paper (scroll halfway down)

3. Universal EquityTM

- We have pioneered a set of legal docs that blend RSUs and RTUs. This is a first in the world as far as we know.

4. Gig Companies

- We are going after gig companies because there is no good way for them to offer equity to their gig workers… until now. Regular 4-year vesting risks workers being seen as employees. Dynamic equity on the other hand doesn’t have the same risks. Now, task workers can receive equity points for specific things they accomplish.  More info…

5. Gaming & Community Companies

- Gaming & community driven companies benefit from their customers becoming brand evangelists and eventually ambassadors.  Upstock offers gamified equity that no other law firm or equity management system can compete with.

6. Hiring update: currently looking for

- Front End Developer (link to job ad)

- We will scale the sales team post fresh funding

7. New Backend codebase, already 50% complete

- Allow us to have channel partners

- Integrations

- Mobile app

- Modernized look and feel

- Increased mobile compatibility

8. Increased content and social media outreach

- Blog posts once a week

- Posting to social media three to four times a week

- Posting on Facebook, Quora, LinkedIn

- Website: Ongoing improvement, updates to design, new targeted landing pages

9. Sales update:

- Casey had to pause sales to fundraise

- Jon Gillon has been getting up to speed in order to lead sales

- Brought on Whitney Sales (yes that is her last name) for upmarket strategy

- Focus shifting to crypto markets  

10. Statistics / Traction

- About 40 paying customers

- 1200 in MRR by end of October

11. New Features

- Customizable legal terms - now Upstock or a company’s legal team can add custom legal terms to our standardized legal documents. For example, if a worker requests that the company add a special paragraph required by banking laws in their country, that can be added.

- Conversion of stock options to RSUs - we have made this functionality more robust

12. What we’re going to be focusing on for Q4

- Shifting our focus to larger companies (50-500 workers) including gig worker companies, gaming companies, and crypto companies

- Completing the new backend framework to be up and running for 2022

- New annual pricing structure

13. Asks: how you can help

- Intros to crypto, game, or gig companies

Please feel free to contact me directly or use the following link to schedule a meeting: https://calendly.com/upstock

Looking forward to connecting with you all more in 2021!

Cheers,

Casey

CASEY FENTON

+1.415.786.4546

casey@upstock.io

1. Updated Mission and Vision for Upstock

A recent Harvard Business review article showed that when US businesses reach 30% worker-ownership, the wealth of the bottom 50% of households will 4x, creating life-changing gains for marginalized populations and the least educated. Read the article here: The Big Benefits of Employee Ownership.

We’ve revamped our vision statement. In the US, worker-owned companies only make up 8% of corporations. By getting global worker equity ownership up to 30% globally the median household wealth will quadruple. Our goal is to help increase the overall percentage of ownership of companies in the decades to come. To learn more, check out our About page, or read our blog post: Achieving a more equitable world with worker equity: Our vision for 30% worker-ownership by 2030.

2. New Product:  Restricted Token Units (RTU)

From a Harvard Law website post by Morrison & Foerster: “Given the various mechanical and tax issues involved, we expect to see the market for token compensation moving toward restricted token units, particularly for early-stage companies.”

We agreed so we had our legal team create a set of legal documents that blend RSUs and RTUs. This is a first in the world as far as we know. Huge thanks to Asmina and the rest of the team for moving so quickly. Now Upstock companies will be able to offer not only fixed and dynamic RSUs, but fixed and dynamic RTUs as well. This allows us to serve crypto and blockchain companies. We are talking to a variety of crypto companies and crypto ecosystem attorneys to better understand what kinds of companies can most benefit from this innovation.

Our aim is to help crypto companies minimize their risk in regards to 409A, ERISA, and SEC regulations.

More at: https://www.upstock.io/crypto

3. Universal EquityTM

In order to make equity available for every location, situation, and type of company, we created a set of legal documents that combine the best of RSUs and RTUs. This is a first in the world as far as we know, and we are excited to launch this new category of equity compensation. Upstock’s universal equity allows companies worldwide to issue high-quality equity to practically any kind of worker, even community members.

Our Universal Equity is fractionalized, visualized, shareable, liquid (soon), crypto-friendly, and works in 70+ countries. Our emotionally inspiring equity & RTU tracking dashboards motivate workers by translating achievements into ownership.

More at: https://www.upstock.io/universalequity

4. Gig Companies

Until now, gig economy companies have not had a good way to offer equity to their gig workers. Yet, gig workers can easily jump ship to work with competitors, something that VCs regularly ask gig companies about. Upstock equity helps retain a gig company’s hardest workers by motivating them with meaningful yet non-voting equity. Regular four-year, one-year cliff fixed style equity risks workers being seen as employees instead of contractors. Dynamic equity on the other hand gives workers the opportunity to earn “equity points” based on the kind of task they complete while keeping the risk of misclassification to a minimum.

We are now targeting gig companies to see how large the market interest is.

More at: https://www.upstock.io/gigcompanies

5. Gaming & Community Companies

Gaming companies as well as other types of community-orientated companies can benefit from their customers becoming brand evangelists and eventually ambassadors.  Upstock offers gamified equity that no other law firm or equity management system can compete with. Now community members can be rewarded with non-controlling equity for spreading awareness about a company’s games, products, and services. Once the company is successful their community members will receive their slice of equity. They can reward evangelists for helping grow the company’s user base.

We brought on a new gaming company, Dancefight, with 30 community workers. They will now be able to grow their community by offering equity to their evangelists. Upstock’s equity is making a huge difference in the success of their start-up by incentivizing community leaders to spread the word.

We were able to quickly build out this new functionality to support Dancefight and other community-driven companies like them. Now, when their community members log into Upstock, they will see a list of tasks to perform for the month, including goals like the sharing of company posts to Instagram and Facebook, and rewards for recruiting new players.

More at: https://www.upstock.io/buildcommunity

6. Hiring update:

Senior Front End Developer needed: We are currently looking for a remote Senior Front End Developer to join our tech team of back-end developers, UI/UX designers, and our leadership team. We’re looking for someone with a keen eye for design, with excellent English communication skills who wants to make a meaningful difference. They will be responsible for ensuring the alignment of web design and user experience, web app maximum efficiency, and maintaining brand consistency across our digital presence. Most importantly, they will translate our vision of a more fair and equitable world into reality, thereby emotionally engaging workers and company owners around the globe, to the solar system, and beyond.

If you know of a good candidate or source of candidates, please send them our job ad here: link

7. New Backend codebase, already 50% complete

Back-end code base: For the last three months, our back-end developers have been busy creating a new backend framework that will allow us to add many useful features. Our new platform will allow us to bring on channel partners, and allow our users to set up their own partnership programs. We are also modernizing the app’s design to be more sleek and modern.

Mobile app: We also have a developer starting work on a mobile application for iOS and Android. The minimal viable product will simply be the worker’s overview dashboard showing their equity growth and the value of their equity earned based on the company’s valuation. From there we will be able to add on additional functionality to allow workers to see their legal documents and update their activities within the mobile app.

Goodbye Hellosign: We will soon move to our own online document signature functionality so we no longer need to rely on a 3rd party integration Hellosign (like DocuSign).

8. Increased content and social media outreach

Our content team is going really strong. We are now posting to social media three to four times a week on Facebook and LinkedIn. Twitter coming soon. The current content schedule is as follows:

  • Monday: announcements (occasional)
  • Tuesday: Blog articles (weekly)
  • Wednesday: Brand awareness (weekly)
  • Thursday: Educational and short product features (weekly)
  • Flex posts for holidays and events

We’re also getting some website traction from answering questions about worker equity on Quora.

We are continuing to improve our website design. We are improving upon our messaging with our updated About and Materials pages, as well as adding more landing pages to target specific companies.

Updated pages:

Newest pages:

9. Sales update:

Our sales team has managed to increase our MRR despite needing to rebuild our sales pipeline due to Linkedin globally changing their policies. Linkedin has lowered their weekly connection requests (friend link request message) to about 70 per week down from 800.  We are rebuilding our sales funnel to be more robust by bringing on experienced advisers like Whitney Sales and Trent Lapinski.

Jon Gillion has been getting up to speed in order to lead sales and has been working on building a sales playbook. He’s recently launched an enterprise email campaign, as well as building out sales lists to reach partnership and gig companies.

We have also brought on Whitney Sales to help us develop our up market strategy. Upstock’s biggest potential for growth is to bring our equity solution to companies with 100+ workers. We are currently in the process of onboarding a company with 200 workers, and they are helping us refine our sales pipeline to fit the needs of enterprise companies.  

10. Statistics / Traction

We currently have 40 paying customers and a MRR of about 1200.

Our website traffic has gone up over the last month with more traffic going to our Blog and increased traffic coming in from Google, Quora, and LinkedIn.

11. New Features

We are continuing to improve upon our product to fit the needs of our customers. We’re excited to now be able to offer customizable terms and have improved the functionality of our process of converting pre-existing stock options into RSUs.

Now Upstock or a company’s legal team can add custom terms to our standardized legal documents. A box to include custom terms is now a part of the legal documents drafting process. For example, if a worker requests that the company add a special paragraph about banking in their country, that can be added.

12. What we’re going to be focusing on for Q4

We are continuing to improve upon our sales pipeline and shifting our focus to larger companies with 50-500 workers. We will continue to serve small businesses and start-ups, but we are also going to be targeting gig worker-based companies, gaming companies, and crypto companies. All are growing markets that we believe would greatly benefit from our Universal Equity offering.

Our developers are working hard to complete the new backend and frontend framework to be up and running in early 2022. We are looking forward to starting the new year with a beautiful new look and improved functionality and features for both our existing customers and new companies.

After a lot of feedback from advisers, we will also be updating our pricing structure to offer annual plans. We will still be offering monthly payment plans at a slightly higher price. This will help some companies with their annual accounting, while also allowing us to offer special discounts for partner companies, as well as a limited free trial period for prospective customers. We will continue to honor existing payment plans in place for our current customers and may offer them a special discount for the first year for switching to an annual plan.

13. Asks - how you can help

Do you know of any community-driven crypto, game or gig economy companies that Upstock should talk with? Please make intros.

Thanks to you all again for all of your support!

-The Upstock Team

Upstock

Investor & Adviser Update

Q3 - October 2021

Greetings Investors and Advisors.

Thank you so much for your support. Our third quarter of 2021 continues to be fast-paced. Wow, what a great time to build a company. More and more solutions are appearing that help make the world more fair and equitable. Company owners now are realizing that fairness in equity is a win-win-win. It’s good for founders, it’s good for workers and it’s good for the world. Upstock is in a great position to help a lot more companies while creating a better world.

Here are the important updates, you can see more detailed updates on each point further down past my signature block.

Updated Vision Statement

“Help increase global worker equity from 8% up to 30% in the next decade, thereby quadrupling median household wealth.”

http://upstock.io/about

New Product: RTUs

Crypto Companies need Restricted Token Units (RTU)

We have a new RTU solution, we are testing with blockchain companies

“...we expect to see the market for token compensation moving toward restricted token units...” Harvard paper (scroll halfway down)

More info http://upstock.io/crypto

Universal EquityTM

We have pioneered a set of legal docs that blend RSUs and RTUs. This is a first in the world as far as we know.

More info...

Gig Companies

We are going after gig companies because there is no good way for them to offer equity to their gig workers… until now. Regular 4-year vesting risks workers being designated as employees. Dynamic equity on the other hand doesn’t. Imagine task workers receiving points for tasks they do.  More info…

Gaming & Community Companies

Gaming companies benefit from their customers becoming brand evangelists and eventually ambassadors.  Upstock offers gamified equity that no other law firm or equity management system can compete with.

Hiring update: currently looking for

Front End Developer (link to job ad)

We will scale the sales team post fresh funding

New Backend codebase, already 50% complete

Allow us to have channel partners

Integrations

Mobile app

Modernized look and feel

Increased mobile compatibility

Increased content and social media outreach

Blog posts once a week

Posting to social media three to four times a week

Posting on Facebook, Quora, LinkedIn

Website: Ongoing improvement, updates to design, new targeted landing pages

Sales update:

Casey had to pause sales to fundraise

Jon Gillon has been getting up to speed in order to lead sales

Brought on Whitney Sales for upmarket strategy, our greatest potential for growth

Focus shifting to crypto markets  

Statistics / Traction

About 40 paying customers

1200 in MRR by end of October

New Features

Customizable terms - now Upstock or a company’s legal team can add custom terms to our standardized legal documents. For example, if a worker requests that the company add a special paragraph about banking in their country, that can be added.

Conversion of options to RSUs - we have made this functionality more robust

What we’re going to be focusing on for Q4

Shifting our focus to larger companies (50-500 workers) including gig worker companies, gaming companies, and crypto companies

Completing the new backend framework to be up and running for 2022

New annual pricing structure

Asks: how you can help

Intros to crypto, game, or gig companies

Please feel free to contact me directly or use the following link to schedule a meeting: https://calendly.com/upstock

Looking forward to connecting with you all more in 2021!

Cheers,

Casey

CASEY FENTON

+1.415.786.4546

casey@upstock.io

Updated Mission and Vision for Upstock

A recent Harvard Business review article showed that when US businesses reach 30% worker-ownership, the wealth of the bottom 50% of households will 4x, creating life-changing gains for marginalized populations and the least educated. Read the article here: The Big Benefits of Employee Ownership.

We’ve revamped our overall vision for the future. In the US, worker-owned companies only make up 8% of corporations. By getting global worker equity ownership up to 30% globally the median household wealth will quadruple. Our goal is to help increase the overall percentage of ownership of companies in the decades to come. To learn more, check out our About page, or read our blog post: Achieving a more equitable world with worker equity: Our vision for 30% worker-ownership by 2030.

New Product:  Restricted Token Units (RTU)

From a Harvard Law website post by Morrison & Foerster: “Given the various mechanical and tax issues involved, we expect to see the market for token compensation moving toward restricted token units, particularly for early-stage companies.”

We agreed so we had our legal team create a set of legal documents that blend RSUs and RTUs. This is a first in the world as far as we know. Huge thanks to Asmina and the rest of the team for moving so quickly. Now Upstock companies will be able to offer not only fixed and dynamic RSUs, but fixed and dynamic RTUs as well. This allows us to serve crypto and blockchain companies. We are talking to a variety of crypto companies and crypto ecosystem attorneys to better understand what kinds of companies can most benefit from this innovation.

Our aim is to help crypto companies minimize their risk in regards to 409A, ERISA, and SEC regulations.

More at: https://www.upstock.io/crypto

Universal EquityTM

In order to make equity available for every location, situation, and type of company, we created a set of legal documents that combine the best of RSUs and RTUs. This is a first in the world as far as we know, and we are excited to launch this new category of equity compensation. Upstock’s universal equity allows companies worldwide to issue high-quality equity to practically any kind of worker, even community members.

Our Universal Equity is fractionalized, visualized, shareable, liquid (soon), crypto-friendly, and works in 70+ countries. Our emotionally inspiring equity & RTU tracking dashboards motivate workers by translating achievements into ownership.

More at: https://www.upstock.io/universalequity

Gig Companies

Until now, gig economy companies have not had a good way to offer equity to their gig workers. Yet, gig workers can easily jump ship to work with competitors, something that VCs regularly ask fledgling gig companies about. Upstock equity helps retain a gig company’s hardest workers by motivating them with meaningful yet non-voting equity. Regular four-year, one-year cliff fixed style equity risks workers being seen as employees instead of contractors. Dynamic equity on the other hand gives workers the opportunity to earn “equity points” based on the kind of task they complete while keeping the risk of misclassification to a minimum.

We are now targeting gig companies to see how large the market interest is.

More at: https://www.upstock.io/gigcompanies

Gaming & Community Companies

Gaming companies as well as other types of community-orientated companies can benefit from their customers becoming brand evangelists and eventually ambassadors.  Upstock offers gamified equity that no other law firm or equity management system can compete with. Now community members can be rewarded with non-controlling equity for spreading awareness about a company’s games, products, and services. Once the company is successful their community members will receive their slice of equity. They can reward evangelists for helping grow the company’s user base.

We brought on a new gaming company, Dancefight, with 30 community workers. They will now be able to grow their community by offering equity to their evangelists. Upstock’s equity is making a huge difference in the success of their start-up by incentivizing community leaders to spread the word.

We were able to quickly build out this new functionality to support Dancefight and other community-based companies like them. Now, when their community members log into Upstock, they will see a list of tasks to perform for the month, including goals like the sharing of company posts to Instagram and Facebook, and rewards for recruiting new players.

More at: https://www.upstock.io/buildcommunity

Hiring update:

Senior Front End Developer needed: We are currently looking for a remote Senior Front End Developer to join our tech team of back-end developers, UI/UX designers, and our leadership team. We’re looking for someone with a keen eye for design, with excellent English communication skills who wants to make a meaningful difference. They will be responsible for ensuring the alignment of web design and user experience, web app maximum efficiency, and maintaining brand consistency across our digital presence. Most importantly, they will translate our vision of a more fair and equitable world into reality, thereby emotionally engaging workers and company owners around the globe, to the solar system, and beyond.

If you know of a good candidate or source of candidates, please send them our job ad here: link

After we finish closing our most recent round of funding, we will be looking to expand our sales team.

New Backend codebase, already 50% complete

Back-end code base: For the last three months, our back-end developers have been busy creating a new backend framework that will allow us to add many useful features. Our new platform will allow us to bring on channel partners, and allow our users to set up their own partnership programs. We are also modernizing the app’s design to be more sleek and modern.

Mobile app: We also have a developer starting work on a mobile application for iOS and Android. The minimal viable product will simply be the owner and worker’s overview dashboard showing their equity growth and the value of their equity earned based on the company’s valuation. From there we will be able to add on additional functionality to allow workers to see their legal documents and update their activities within the mobile app.

Goodbye Hellosign: We will soon move to our own online document signature functionality so we no longer need to rely on a 3rd party integration Hellosign (like DocuSign).

Increased content and social media outreach

Our content team is going really strong. We are now posting to social media three to four times a week on Facebook and LinkedIn. Twitter coming soon. The current content schedule is as follows:

Monday: announcements (occasional)

Tuesday: Blog articles (weekly)

Wednesday: Brand awareness (weekly)

Thursday: Educational and short product features (weekly)

Flex posts for holidays and events

We’re also getting some website traction from answering questions about worker equity on Quora.

We are continuing to improve our website design. We are improving upon our messaging with our updated About and Materials pages, as well as adding more landing pages to target specific companies.

Updated pages:

About (Vision and Mission)

Materials

Newest pages:

Universal Equity

Crypto Companies

Build Community

Gig Companies

Legal Documents (hidden)

Sales update:

Our sales team has managed to increase our MRR despite needing to rebuild our sales pipeline due to Linkedin globally changing their policies. Linkedin has lowered their weekly connection requests (friend link request message) to about 70 per week down from 800.  We are rebuilding our sales funnel to be more robust by bringing on experienced advisers like Whitney Sales and Trent Lapinski.

Jon Gillion has been getting up to speed in order to lead sales and has been working on building a sales playbook. He’s recently launched an enterprise email campaign, as well as building out sales lists to reach partnership and gig companies.

We have also brought on Whitney Sales to help us develop our upmarket strategy. Upstock’s biggest potential for growth is to bring our equity solution to companies with 100+ workers. We are currently in the process of onboarding a company with 200 workers, and they are helping us refine our sales pipeline to fit the needs of enterprise companies.  

Statistics / Traction

We currently have 40 paying customers and a MRR of about 1200.

Our website traffic has gone up over the last month with more traffic going to our Blog and increased traffic coming in from Google, Quora, and LinkedIn.

New Features

We are continuing to improve upon our product to fit the needs of our customers. We’re excited to now be able to offer customizable terms and have improved the functionality of our process of converting pre-existing stock options into RSUs.

Now Upstock or a company’s legal team can add custom terms to our standardized legal documents. A box to include custom terms is now a part of the legal documents drafting process. For example, if a worker requests that the company add a special paragraph about banking in their country, that can be added.

What we’re going to be focusing on for Q4

We are continuing to improve upon our sales pipeline and shifting our focus to larger companies with 50-500 workers. We will continue to serve small businesses and start-ups, but we are also going to be targeting gig worker companies, gaming companies, and crypto companies. All are growing markets that we believe would greatly benefit from our Universal Equity offering.

Our developers are working hard to complete the new backend and frontend framework to be up and running in early 2022. We are looking forward to starting the new year with a beautiful new look and improved functionality and features for both our existing customers and new companies.

After a lot of feedback from advisers, we will also be updating our pricing structure to offer annual plans. We will still be offering monthly payment plans at a slightly higher price. This will help some companies with their annual accounting, while also allowing us to offer special discounts for partner companies, as well as a limited free trial period for prospective customers. We will continue to honor existing payment plans in place for our current customers and may offer them a special discount for the first year for switching to an annual plan.

Asks - how you can help

Do you know of any crypto, game, community-driven, or gig economy companies that Upstock should talk with? Please make intros.

Thanks to you all again for all of your support!

-The Upstock Team