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We love our investors

We are so grateful to our incredible investors for believing in us well before the market arrived. We appreciate the time, energy and effort you've put into Upstock.

This page and related materials are confidential and under FrieNDA. Please don't share without permission. Thanks!

Upstock successes, struggles and future vision.

2018

Beta testing begins on our platform with a select group of companies.

2019

3x savings = 3x runway! We are eating our own dog food. Instead of taking two years and $2M+, we build our first fully functional product with the world's top equity attorneys for only a fraction of the cost. By leveraging our platform and our vision to democratize equity sharing, we are able to attract top talent to work on our platform in exchange for equity.

Early
2020

Upstock attends Acceleprise.vc and learns how to build a B2B SaaS company. We realize the market isn't big enough if we only offer dynamic equity. We do a small pivot and start offering fixed RSU equity as a stock option replacement.

Late
2020

Timing is Right. There was a global shift during the pandemic and now the timing is right for "worker equity as a service." Customers are willing to forgo an attorney and trust Upstock to issue their equity instead.

Early
2021

Reliable customer acquisition.We get customers sold and onboarded at a consistent rate.

TODAY

Raising $1-2M. 

Late
2021

Upstock becomes preferred. In the future we become the preferred way for savvy startups in the valley and beyond to share meaningful equity that gets workers emotionally motivated to do the best work of their lives.

2022

Upstock moves up market and serves larger companies offering stock option conversion to RSUs. Upstock also helps new companies incorporate and issue restricted stock to founders.

2023

Upstock launches support for other kinds of enterprises including VCs wanting to gamify their carry and co-ops needing to split ownership fairly.

2024

Any entity, any geography. Upstock becomes known as the place to split ownership and create alignment of practically any kind of entity, over any geography.

2025

A new form of cooperative capitalism arises.Clones of unsustainable and uncooperative companies are created by teams of workers who want to make things right. These new companies fairly share equity with their workers and a very large transfer of capital ensues as these companies vacuum the value out of their unsustainable counterparts.

Upstock successes, struggles and
future vision.

2018

2019

Early
2020

Late
2020

Today

2022

2023

2024

2025

Beta testing begins on our platform with a select group of companies.

3x savings = 3x runway! We are eating our own dog food. Instead of taking two years and $2M+, we build our first fully functional product with the world's top equity attorneys for only a fraction of the cost. By leveraging our platform and our vision to democratize equity sharing, we are able to attract top talent to work on our platform in exchange for equity.

Upstock attends Acceleprise.vc and learns how to build a B2B SaaS company. We realize the market isn't big enough if we only offer dynamic equity. We do a small pivot and start offering fixed RSU equity as a stock option replacement.

Timing is Right. There was a global shift during the pandemic and now the timing is right for "worker equity as a service." Customers are willing to forgo an attorney and trust Upstock to issue their equity instead.

Raising $3m. 

Upstock moves up market and serves larger companies offering stock option conversion to RSUs. Upstock also helps new companies incorporate and issue restricted stock to founders.

Upstock launches support for other kinds of enterprises including VCs wanting to gamify their carry and co-ops needing to split ownership fairly.

Any entity, any geography. Upstock becomes known as the place to split ownership and create alignment of practically any kind of entity, over any geography.

A new form of cooperative capitalism arises.Clones of unsustainable and uncooperative companies are created by teams of workers who want to make things right. These new companies fairly share equity with their workers and a very large transfer of capital ensues as these companies vacuum the value out of their unsustainable counterparts.

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May 2018

May 4, 2018

Greetings Investors and Advisors,

I’m pleased to share an update with you about Equitizer (dba Mastly). Many exciting things have happened in the past few months.

  • Decided to rename from Mastly to UpStock.io. coming in May / June.
  • Brought on new key advisers:
  • Arne Peders Blix - Having bootstrapped a SaaS business within plan design, accounting, valuation and disclosure of equity-based incentives from start to sale to a major PE, Arne brings Mastly more than 15+ years of experience and global network within the equity-incentives industry.
  • Fred Whittlesey - Link… Principal Consultant of Compensation Venture Group, has been providing expert witness and litigation support services in the compensation field for over 30 years.  His globally-recognized expertise in executive compensation, incentive compensation, equity compensation, and employment agreements has provided valuable support in a variety of legal cases. He is helping ensure our legal documents are as bulletproof as possible.
  • Joined NCEO (National Center for Employee Ownership)
  • Continued improving our legal  documents / agreements (the plan, employee, adviser, contractors, etc). For liability reasons we need to be sure our docs are signed off on by top legal experts before we go to market.
  • Lowered our burn even more using equity, currently under $10k a month.
  • Met with PwC, KPMG and other law firms across Europe (many in person while speaking at entrepreneur conferences) to test out potential partnerships with partnerships. Barcelona, Reykjavik, Oslo, Helsinki, Paris, Amsterdam, Zurich, Sweden, Sydney, etc.
  • Partnerships that are currently under construction: Iceland is already signed (KPMG), Norway may be next (PWC), Switzerland soon too (KPMG), Germany in a couple months hopefully (KPMG), Australia is in talks (PWC), Barcelona is in talks.
  • PwC in the US wasn’t willing to partner with a startup (not surprising) but did give us some valuable insights around reducing liability.
  • Meetings planned with GlobalEquity.org leaders to become a member and receive their endorsements.
  • I was a top speaker on the Central Stage at Slush in Helsinki. I spoke about equity and trust:  http://docs.mast.ly/Slush.
  • Starting another round of fundraising as we have two months runway left. We’ve raised about $400k so far.
  • Product upgrades:
  • Live Estimated Valuation - instead of only showing workers the last valuation which often makes their slice seem smaller over time, we now default to showing a valuation based on the last valuation plus the value of the work that has been done since that time. Eg.: last valuation $2m + $100k cash salary paid + $200k equity dollars contributed = LEV of $2.3m.
  • Our funnel is more fully defined and close to deploy. With this we can cold message potential customers.

Please reach out any time with questions! 415-786-4546

Sincerely,

Casey Fenton

April 2019

April 22, 2019

Greetings Investors & Advisors,

First things first: I want to say a huge THANK YOU for your helpfulness and commitment to the success of Upstock thus far. We have reached a huge milestone and we couldn’t have come this far without you. I know you’ll be excited to hear about the progress we’ve been making bringing this vital piece of technology to the world.

I also want to share the exciting news of where Upstock is currently headed, and offer you an opportunity to contribute further and help redefine how equity is issued across the globe. I would love for you to be a part of our continued growth.

If you haven’t been following closely over the past year and you would like to see our latest materials, you can here:

Http://docs.upstock.io/summary

Http://docs.upstock.io/deck

Understanding initial projections

When I built Couchsurfing, I learned firsthand the dedication, time, and hard work it takes to build a movement that unites millions of people. Starting Upstock, I was cautious about what it would take to build out a platform that could scale.

Early projections from experts I consulted were that it would take at least $2 million ($1M for legal & $1M for tech) & two to three years to build Upstock, to get it ready to go to market. Two and a half years in, here’s where we stand.

Development of case studies

It turns out the timelines were accurate — given the importance of details when it comes to legal tech, our advisors urged strongly that we take time to properly vet all our legal documents and the tech. Our lead adviser Arne Peder Blix was the biggest proponent of this. He already built a company, Accurate Equity, which was “Upstock for Fortune 100’s.” He acquired 30% of Fortune 100 companies as customers, never lost a customer and then sold the company 5 years ago. He encouraged us to limit onboarding customers to a small handful of test cases where we know the entrepreneurs personally.

As a result, we’ve spent our time going deep instead of wide, building long-term case studies of successful companies, many of whom have now been using our system for 2+ years. All in all there has now been $7.9 million in compensation issued through Upstock’s system over the course of 150,000+ worker hours logged.

Massive progress on legal documents

At the same time, we have been diligently building the legal backbone to be able to bring Upstock to millions of companies across the world. Fortunately, we were able to bring on two of the brightest minds in worker equity: Tery Williams, an 18-year veteran of HP & Baker Mckenzie’s international equity division, and Fred Whittlesey, an equity litigation expert with 30 years experience testifying on every equity-related issue possible.

Tery & Fred have worked hand in hand for the past eight months to bulletproof the legal docs that form the backbone of Upstock’s equity service. Their work has made us 100% confident about going to market in 10+ countries across North America & Europe. We’re in the last phases of getting sign off and will be launching with our new legal documents shortly.

Progress on tech development

One of Upstock’s biggest successes thus far is that we’ve actually been able to pull off the tech solution with far less funding than originally projected. Rather than $2M, we have been able to build a MVP product with vetted legal documentation for just $630,000.

We’re especially proud of this because it serves as a stellar proof of concept for Upstock — we’ve been able to significantly reduce our expenses by offering equity in addition to cash. We see this as a huge selling point for companies like us who are trying to spend as efficiently as possible.

All of our ducks are now in a row on the tech side, and we’re ready to bring on new customers with up to 1,000 workers.

Other successes we’re proud of

Market validation: Over the past two years we have acquired remarkable market validation, with a large number of international clients on our waiting list for the software. Every other day a new customer asks if we are available in 'country X'. Early indicators say that our CAC is likely under $650 and our LTV could be at least $2000.

Growing team: We have hired several new rockstar team members who believe in Upstock so much that they have been working primarily for equity. These team members have been building out the go-to-market strategy and have marketing funnels ready to launch as soon as there are additional funds.

Channel partnerships: We have built out a channel partnership strategy with Xplorico that is currently in tech development. This will allow other companies to sell Upstock to their customers. Upstock is likely deploying on the ADP App Marketplace. Through their partner network, we will be able to offer “one-click” access to Upstock for 35 million businesses around the world.

Test market launched: As part of our pursuit to be a global company, we have officially launched with localized legal docs in Iceland.

Potential New Customers: We are currently talking with an airline about using Upstock for hundreds of employees.

Attended GEO Conference: Arne Peder Blix and I attended the prestigious Global Equity conference last week. I have now been thoroughly introduced to the global equity ecosystem’s movers and shakers.  

Additional funding exposure: Upstock has now gone live on Fundable (a division of Startups.co), with the intention of reaching investors & entrepreneurs outside of our existing network. We see Fundable primarily as a marketing device to expose the project to ecosystems beyond Silicon Valley.

What’s next for Upstock?

Now that we have done the heavy lifting of de-risking the legal and building the software platform, we feel confident to take Upstock to market.

In May I will be doing a Silicon Valley roadshow to acquire $1-2m in funding, or two years’ worth of runway.

How can you get more involved?

Let’s hop on a quick call to discuss the current strategy. I’ve been talking with a dozen fintech founders who recently raised their Series A. It’s been incredibly helpful. I would love to learn from you as well. What are you seeing out there?

Feel free to text/message me or simply book a call on my calendar: upstock.youcanbook.me

I really want to hear your thoughts about the terms of this round.  Can we also discuss introductions to additional investors? I already have my list of investors we want to pitch. Maybe you know a couple of them? I’m now scheduling meetings in SF for our upcoming roadshow. We want to condense as many meetings as possible into the last two weeks in May.

Here’s that link to schedule a call one more time: https://calendly.com/upstock or simply reply to this message.

Looking forward to connecting with you!

Cheers,

Casey

CASEY FENTON

+1.415.786.4546

casey@upstock.io

March 2020

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

October 2020

October 2020

Greetings Investors & Advisors,

Thank you so much for your help. So far we’ve had a pretty good 2020 considering. We attended Acceleprise, it was a great success, and we’ve figured out how to sell our product and service. I’m excited to share a few pieces of news. We are weathering covid well, with an increased interest in Upstock. This week we have launched a new set of documents that allow us to serve companies and workers in 63+ countries.


Here are the important updates to share:


  1. Successful Acceleprise accelerator experience.
  2. Upstock now works in 63+ countries.
  3. $50,000 in the bank.
  4. Low $8k burn rate.
  5. New sales plan in place.
  6. Growing our sales pipeline.
  7. Updated pricing for COVID.
  8. Launched new vesting functionality.
  9. Looking for new partnerships.
  10. Substantially refreshed website materials.
  11. Preparing to launch our Ambassador program.
  12. What’s next for Upstock.
  13. How can you get more involved?


Latest materials here:


1. Successful Acceleprise experience.

Accelerprise is a Business to Business (B2B) Software as a Service (SaaS) accelerator and mentorship program and one of our our most recent investors. We have recently completed their program which focuses on developing go-to-market strategies, sales, and fundraising through workshops, one on one meetings with the Acceleprise team, and introductions to mentors, investors and potential customers. We have learned so much from this experience and I can’t imagine a better accelerator for Upstock.


Accelerprise helped us learn more about  B2B SaaS sales and marketing. I had a lot of experience with B2C social networks and marketplaces, but I had never tried to sell a B2B SaaS product before. I highly recommend Accelerprise and Whitney Sales in particular. Whitney has truly helped us figure out how to reliably sell and close customers.


2. Upstock now works in 63+ countries  

Thanks to the diligent work of our legal team, Renata and Virginia specifically, we now have jurisdiction specific language for 63 countries. This is a big breakthrough because half of our incoming sales interest is from abroad. To see which countries we cover, click here: http://docs.upstock.io/countries

3. $50k In the bank.

We currently have $50k in the bank.


Unfortunately COVID has affected my original plan to embark on a Silicon Valley roadshow to  acquire $1-2 million in funding. We will start this up again in early 2021.

4. Low burn rate.

Currently we are trying to keep our monthly expenses to under 8k, mostly focusing on sales and changes to the product which allow us to serve more customers.

5. New sales plan.

We have figured out how to sell consistently. Over the last couple months I’ve had about 15 customer conversations per week. We are continuing to focus on companies 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 is filling that gap. My near term goal is to reach eight or more qualified calls per day.

6. Growing our sales pipeline.

We currently are in the middle of our LinkedIn sales campaign. Our messaging reaches 40 people a day, and so far we have been receiving a good response.


We have also been reaching out and forming partnerships with “fractional CFO” and financial services companies, as well as mentorship programs that support founders. Many of our partners, particularly financial firms, want to be able to receive equity from the companies that they’re working for. Using Upstock makes this process of gaining equity in their customers' companies easy. A perfect fit.


We are happy to announce our most recent partnership with Burkland, a CFO, accounting and tax services company that specializes in providing smarter finance services for startups from seed to scale. Burkland has already brought on a customer.

7. Updated Pricing for COVID.

We are evolving our price structure to reflect the current state of the market. Initially our plan was to charge $30 to $40 a worker per month. Taking into consideration the challenges placed upon businesses during these times, we have switched to charging $10 per worker per month with free onboarding during COVID times.

8. New vesting functionality.

We have successfully launched a new fixed vesting functionality. Upstock is now able to directly replace stock options with vesting over months, quarters and years. We are also able to support dynamic performance equity so that our customers can utilize fixed equity, dynamic equity, or a combination of both in their equity planning.

9. Looking for new partnerships - can you make intros?

We need help bringing on more partners and would greatly appreciate any introductions you can make. We’re a great fit for financial services, VC firms, and some law firms.  

Example of how to make an intro: Upstock Helps Financial Service Firms - email template

Please visit Docs.upstock.io/Share for more resources and materials.

10. Substantially refreshed website materials.

In the past month we have substantially updated nearly every page on Upstock.io making it easier for customers to find materials and understand the value prop. Check it out: http://upstock.io

11. Preparing to launch the Upstock Ambassador Program.

We are currently working towards launching our ambassador program. Upstock Ambassadors will be able to start gaining equity by joining Upstock’s performance equity pool. Ambassadors that help bring on new clients will be rewarded with equity!  http://upstock.io/ambassadors

12. What’s next for Upstock?

We’re currently keeping our nose to the grindstone, bringing on new customers to Upstock and perfecting our sales process while maintaining a low burn rate.

We will continue to update and improve our sales and onboarding materials as well as making small tweaks and improvements to our product and website. We are upgrading our designs to be more visually consistent and more professional, as well as creating content to be used for our sales and marketing campaigns. Product improvements include rolling out ambassador and affiliate partnership programs.

13. How can you get more involved?

Know of a company that 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:  docs.upstok.io/calendar.


Looking forward to connecting with you!


Cheers,


Casey


CASEY FENTON

+1.415.786.4546

casey@upstock.io

March 2021

Upstock Investor & Advisor Update

March 2021

Greetings Investors & Advisors,

Once again, thanks for all your support. We’re having a good start to 2021, upgrading our software and getting new customers onboarded. Our team has been making great headway on the website, tech, legal, and marketing.

Fundraising:  Our core advisers have said that Upstock is now ready to do a seed raise of about $1.5-$3M. Eric Ries and Arjun Dev Aurora are leading the charge for investor introductions.

Arjun says, “I would say that given 100+ folks on the platform, happy customers, a bullish FinTech market, support of [your advisers] Arjun/Eric and running a tight and aggressive process we feel confident to raise.”

Also, we are open to another $100k at our previous valuation to help pay legal costs of this next financing round. We want to be sure we can do so easily, even if it takes three or four months for the entire transaction.

Please see our page for investors: https://www.upstock.io/investorsrock

Small 2020 product pivot: Our accelerator, Acceleprise.vc, helped us to find the right market fit.  In the last year we have built out our features including “Fixed Equity” similar to the option vesting model of “four years, one year cliff,” to add specific functionality in order to serve the average startup and larger companies too. This acts as a bridge to our more modern dynamic equity and directly replaces stock options.

Our vision of bringing easy to implement and affordable equity sharing is finally ready for the mass market. I’m more excited about Upstock than ever.

Here are the important updates to share:

1. The right timing = success.

2. Sales funnel: Time to increase the number of people we talk to.

3. Number of customers.

4. Runway.

5. Updated app design.

6. Adding profit sharing support.

7. Soon we will offer conversion of existing stock options into RSUs.

8. iOS & Android apps are coming.

9. Upstock will soon work in 70 countries.

10. Hired new senior developer.

11. Hiring a sales lead.

12. Website updates.

13. VC fund support.

14. Partnerships: Looking for new ones - can you make an intro?

15. What’s next for Upstock.

16. Podcast: Modern Alignment

17. How can you get more involved?

Latest materials here:

Share Upstock Documents: https://docs.upstock.io/Share

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

Upstock Overview Deck - For Potential Customers:  https://docs.upstock.io/Overview

Owner Onboarding: https://docs.upstock.io/Owner-Onboarding

Worker Onboarding: https://docs.upstock.io/Worker-Onboarding

RSU’s Blog post: https://docs.upstock.io/Why-RSUs

Become a Partner: https://www.upstock.io/become-a-partner

1. The right timing = success.

Years ago the Startup Genome Project released research that showed that the number one determinant of startup success is timing. For example, many startups tried to do video sharing and streaming prior to YouTube but failed. It wasn’t until around 40% of US households had broadband that the idea could succeed. Upstock is very much the same. I knew that we were early when we started experimenting with mainstream cloud based equity systems. We knew that it was a great idea because potential customers would often say, “This is such a great idea, I need this.” But, it was hard to get entrepreneurs over the line. They were paralyzed thinking about legal what if’s.

Once the pandemic hit, things really started to change and Upstock. Suddenly, our potential customers felt that using a cloud based equity system, without needing to hire a lawyer, was a very attractive and reasonable solution. Today, when I get on a Zoom call with potential customers, it only takes 5-10 minutes to hear them say, “Wow, this is really what I need. How do we get started?” We are currently onboarding 10 new companies. We need to make the system more self-serve so that we can really scale and move up market.

2. Sales Funnel: Time to increase the number of people we talk to.

Currently we are working on warm email leads from my personal address book of about 4,000 contacts. That’s led to a few customers already.

We have also gotten a good amount of deal flow using Cleverly.co (costing $300 a month with LinkedIn sales navigator) to send cold messages to 60 LinkedIn Founders and CEOs each day. 30% of my connection invites are being accepted. This has led to an average of 10 phone/zoom conversations a week with potential customers and partners.  

As I write this we are currently onboarding 10 new companies and talking to 3 - 4 leads a day. We need to dramatically increase the number of companies we talk to. To reach this goal we are optimizing our sales process, hiring a sales lead and team to find and vet leads, and continuing to network and look for partnership and up market enterprise opportunities.  This next raise will allow us to do all of this.

3. Number of customers.

It’s been a long journey for us to figure out all of the permutations that we would need to cover to allow 80% of companies (C corps, LLCs, etc.) to be able to use Upstock. When we first started there was only a narrow band of companies that would be able to use us given our feature set. Today, we have already iterated our software so that we now cover most complex scenarios.

In the past few years of testing while in restricted beta mode we have onboarded over 100 companies. 60 of those perished. That’s to be expected as 9 out of 10 startups fail in the first two years.

About 25 companies have signed up on the $2 a month demo plan. We are in the process of upselling them to the fully paid version.

About 25 companies from our initial beta were allowed to be grandfathered in with free plans. We will try to upsell some of them in the future. We are extremely thankful to these companies for helping us figure out all of the features that our future customers need to scale their companies.

Recently we have brought on a few companies so now we currently have 6 companies paying $10 per month/per worker!

Today we are onboarding 10 new paying companies.  

In the past couple years we have tested with over 100 companies, 100,000’s of hours of worker time and we have helped startups extend their runway, sometimes as much as 3x, helping companies to retain key talent longer than they would have imagined.

Example customers we are onboarding now

  • Maya Health - 10 workers
  • Rise Kombucha - 15 workers
  • Aware Healthcare - 10 workers
  • Main Event Digital - 20 workers
  • Give Nation - 5 workers
  • Lisa’s Clarinet Shop - 2 workers
  • Etc.

4. Runway.

We have three months of runway.

Currently we are trying to keep our monthly expenses to under 8k, mostly focusing on sales and changes to the product which allow us to serve more customers. We are starting to pitch VCs this week. If you know of someone who you think we should pitch, please let me know ASAP.

5. Updated app design.

We recently finished giving the Upstock app a sleeker, more polished look. Here’s a screenshot of our demo account:


6. Adding profit sharing support.

Due to the requests of both current customers and potential customers, our development team is working on adding profit sharing support to the Upstock platform. We are almost finished with the documents.

This is important to prioritize as we are currently in talks with the #1 Indiegogo marketing firm to supply them with a way to incentivize their sales teams with profits. This is a company that has consistently brought on $200k indiegogo campaigns and blown them up to $2M in 30 days. They have successfully magnified 7 of the top 20 indiegogo campaigns of all time. Rainfactory.com

Also, today I spoke with another company who needs to split profits immediately with 10-20 content creators. They are being onboarded next week.

7. Soon we will offer conversion of existing stock options into RSUs.

We are currently working on a way for companies to convert their existing worker stock options into RSUs. We have the documents written and are excited to get the functionality coded up and into the platform because many potential customers have requested this feature. This will also allow us to move up market.

8. iOS & Android apps are coming.

We are working with a developer to build a simple app that will allow workers to see their equity and how it changes over time. Workers will also be notified when their equity changes. This furthers our goal to gamify equity. Next week I will have two quotes for this work.


9. Upstock will soon work in 70+ countries.


Thanks to the work of Renata and our legal team, we will be able to serve customers in around 70 countries very soon. We currently support 63 countries.

10. Hired new senior developer.


We brought on a new senior developer recently and he is off to the races. He is about to deploy a page that allows workers to model different exit scenarios to see what their equity could be worth. The page allows the worker to select the exit multiple which defaults to 10x, and the future dilution which defaults to 30%.

11. Hiring a sales lead.


With this new raise, we are hiring a sales lead to help us go up market and sell to larger clients. We will also hire a team of business development reps (BDRs) to generate more leads.

12. Website updates.


We have really done a lot of work to upgrade our website. It is a lot more robust.


Pages added:


Check it out and let me know what you think. http://upstock.io

13. VC fund support.

Lately we have begun to receive questions about if we can provide some gamification for a fund’s carry. The answer is yes, we could indeed add something like this on to Upstock. That would be a year or more down the road. If you have ideas on this functionality, I’d love to hear them.

14. Partnerships: Looking for new ones - can you make an intro?

We need help bringing on more partners and would greatly appreciate any introductions you can make. We’re a great fit for financial services, VC firms, and some law firms.  

Example of how to make an intro: Upstock Helps Financial Service Firms - email template

15. What’s next for Upstock.

Next up we are focused on fundraising so that we can expand our reach and enhance our customer support and onboarding processes. We are adding videos for potential customers so they can understand how Upstock will benefit their company. We are also shooting ‘how to’ videos that will appear inside the app to help users understand how to use each piece of functionality. This helps us toward our goal of making it possible for smaller companies to self serve and require little or no support.

We will continue to make tweaks and improvements to our product and website as well.  

16. Podcast: Modern Alignment

We are getting ready to launch a podcast where I interview equity experts and customers. We will be speaking about their experiences motivating workers to do the best work of their lives. I’m hoping our adviser, Eric Ries, will be one of the early folks to come on. Who else should I interview? Please intro.

17. How can you get more involved?

Know of a company that Upstock can help? Our ideal customers are start-ups and any company between seed and Series A funding. We are a perfect fit for companies that have already issued founder equity.

Please feel free to contact me directly or use the following link to schedule a meeting:  docs.upstok.io/calendar.

Looking forward to connecting with you!

Cheers,

Casey


CASEY FENTON

+1.415.786.4546

casey@upstock.io

October 2021

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

December 2021

Upstock.io & Uptoken.com

Investor & Advisor Update

Q4 - December 2021

Greetings Investors and Advisors,

Happy new year and thank you so much for all of your support. Upstock is based around the idea that anyone, anywhere should be able to share ownership in companies to inspire and motivate workers. We appreciate your continued enthusiasm and support in making our vision a reality moving into 2022.  

What is Upstock.io? Upstock helps companies share equity in the form of future stock promises so that workers (employees, contractors, advisers, community members) will only receive their equity when it is safe to do so (vesting, taxes, etc.).

What is Uptoken.com? Uptoken is our sister site that has created a path for crypto companies to distribute tokens and incentivize contributors with less regulatory risk. By modifying the Restricted Stock Unit model (which has precedence with regulators globally), Uptoken has created “Restricted Token Units” that can be deployed on its live platform.  

Slowing down to speed up: We’ve been focused on product updates and expansion into the new market. Check out our updates below for more detail. Pushing heavily on demand generation in Q1. Unfortunately, there was some expected seasonality for sales. Over the holidays we were flat on revenue but we have a lot of people who we are picking up their interest in January.

Here are the important updates. For a more detailed update on each point, please read further down past my signature block.

Topics Outline: (more details about each item near the end of this document)

1. Asks:

  • Intros to founders of pre-tokenization crypto companies
  • Intro to crypto investors

2. Current Growth Focus: expand crypto offering with Uptoken

  • Stared onboarding crypto companies using Restricted Token Units (RTUs)
  • Launched Uptoken website
  • Attended Puerto Rico Blockchain Week and made valuable new connections
  • Sign off from lawyers and crypto specialists on our RTU framework
  • More info: https://www.uptoken.com/

3. Financials

  • Bank Balance: $750,000
  • Monthly recurring revenue: $1200
  • Burn: 60K
  • Runway: 12 months

4. Fundraising

  • Raised in 2021: $1.25M
  • Raised all time: $2M
  • Currently looking to raise $3 million in 2022.

5. Sales update:

  • We have 42 projects in our pipeline. We recently closed and onboarded our first paying crypto customer (Lit Protocol) and have several more actively onboarding. We have over 100,000 qualified leads ready to begin outreach to and are waiting on the next iteration of our product to pull the trigger so that we are in a better position to close.
  • Catering to crypto markets to increase traction and increase MRR
  • Continue working with Whitney Sales on GTM strategy
  • Existing customer Dancefight wants to convert from RSU’s to RTUs
  • Pricing updated to $20 per worker a month

6. Partnerships

  • Working out partnership with benefits companies for Upstock referrals
  • Exploring partnerships with several crypto platforms  

7. Marketing Update

  • Working with Explainify.com to make introductory videos for Upstock.io & Uptoken.com
  • Contracted with Leopoldo Pirela to improve SEO to drive content conversion across our blog and social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram)
  • for inbound leads
  • Moving from Wix to Webflow for main websites

8. Product

  • New Backend codebase is 70% complete
  • - Preparing to beta test by the end of Q1 2022
  • - Allow us to have channel partner integrations (within their dashboards)
  • - Mobile - Increased mobile compatibility
  • - Modernized look and feel (see screenshots below)
  • Frontend codebase is 80% complete
  • - Prepped to beta test by the end of Q1 2022
  • - Front end developers working on the new look for the web app
  • Customizable legal terms - now Upstock or a company’s legal team can add custom legal terms to our standardized legal documents
  • Conversion of stock options to RSUs

9. Team

  • Size:12 Full Time Equivalents (half US, half abroad)
  • New Company Hire: Amresh Mishra - Web developer
  • Actively recruiting a new copywriter to join our content team

10. Focus for Q1 2022

  • Launching the new backend & frontend framework
  • Transition website to Webflow for improved SEO and design capabilities
  • Increase sales

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 2022!

Cheers,

Casey

PLEASE READ BELOW TO SEE MORE DETAIL:

CASEY FENTON

+1.415.786.4546

casey@upstock.io

1. Asks - how you can help

We are currently looking for introductions to crypto founders. If you know of any companies that are pre tokenization, they could be a great fit for our new Restricted Token Unit Offering: Uptoken. With Uptoken we have created a path for crypto companies to distribute tokens and incentivize contributors with less regulatory risk. By modifying the Restricted Stock Unit model (which has precedence with regulators globally), Uptoken has created a digital ledger for Restricted Token Units that can be deployed on its live platform.  

We are also looking to raise next year. Please make introductions to any investors you think would be a good fit for us in the crypto space.

Uptoken blurb: https://www.uptoken.com/uptoken-blurb

2. Current Focus: expanded crypto offering with Uptoken

Upstock companies are now able to offer fixed and dynamic RSUs as well as fixed and dynamic RTUs. In order to avoid confusion and have a clear-cut offering to customers, we have created a separate website to explain our crypto offering called Uptoken. Uptoken has created a path for crypto companies to distribute tokens and incentivize contributors with less regulatory risk. The web application enables RSU and RTUs to remain on the same platform, so applicable companies will be able to offer their team members and communities both equity and token promises.

The first week of December our CEO and Sales Lead attended Puerto Rico Blockchain Week to gauge interest, meet with crypto companies, and made valuable new connections in the crypto regulatory space.

We are in talks with and making new connections to crypto ecosystem attorneys, SEC attorneys, and specialists to review and vet our RTU framework.

More at: https://www.uptoken.com/

3. Financials

Upstock currently has $750,000 in the bank. At our current burn rate, we have one year of runway. Our current recurring revenue is still $1,200 a month because we lost a customer and gained a couple of smaller ones.

4. Fundraising

We raised $1.25M in 2021, big thanks to our lead investor Streamlined Ventures.

To date, we have raised about $2.1M total all-time funding.

Starting in February, we are looking to raise $1-2 million in early 2022. Our goal is to raise $3M by the end of 2022. We will be using the funds to speed up our app development, bolster our sales team, and build out our marketing team.

5. Sales update

We have been working hard on the uptoken.com offering because companies in the crypto space are clamoring for our solution. There has been a lot of interest in our RTU platform. While we are still reaching out to startups and companies looking to get their employee equity plans in place, we are now also shifting our focus to the crypto market.

We currently have 42 new companies in our pipeline and we have already onboarded our first paying company, LitProtocol, using Restricted Token Units. There are several other companies going through our onboarding process.  Also, one of our existing customers, Dancefight, recently got funding to create a utility token and they asked to do a joint press release about their success with Upstock. Dancfight also wants to convert their existing community rewards system from RSUs over to RTUs.

Once our development team has completed improving a few design changes and bug fixes to our current web app, we will be in a better position to close and will begin outreach to over 100,000 qualified leads. Our goal is to 100x or more in the next year, reaching 100k in MRR asap.

We are continuing to work with Whitney Sales on our upmarket strategy. Her insights on who to target for our demand generation have been extremely helpful.

After careful consideration and feedback from our existing customers and investors, we have updated our pricing from $10 per worker a month to $20 per worker a month. This price increase will allow us to offer discounts for our partners and allow us to run special promotions.

6. Partnerships

Our Sales Lead, Jon Gillon, has been building out the specifics and onboarding for our partnership benefits and Upstock referral program. He is currently in talks with several mid to large-sized companies that are interested in partnering with us and offering our equity plans and legal documents to their customers. He is also exploring potential partnership opportunities with several crypto companies. Additionally, a handful of individual practitioners are interested in our referrals program in Upstock and are getting familiar with our product.

7. Marketing Update

In today’s market, people are often more interested in video content than anything else. So we are working with Explainify to make introductory videos for Upstock.io & Uptoken.com. We will feature the videos on our website and social media. The videos should be ready by the end of January.

At the recommendation of our investor and adviser Forum Ventures (formerly Acceleprise), we have contracted with Leopoldo Pirela to improve our SEO. He has been gathering competitor data, targeting how and what website pages to improve, and putting together a list of targeted content ideas based on google keyword searches and questions emailed to us.  

We are continuing with regular weekly content updates across our blog and social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram). This has been great for our SEO and has helped to improve our website traffic.

In order to improve the functionality, design, and SEO of our website we have started re-building Upstock’s website onto Webflow. Webflow has a smoother codebase and more professional design tools. Once we have finished building the new website we will transfer the domain over from Wix.

8. Product

Some screenshots of the new web app:


Our back-end developers are 70% complete in building out and creating our new backend framework. If things continue on track we will be prepared to launch beta testing in March 2022, before the end of the first quarter. 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 have a more sleek and modern look and improved mobile compatibility.

We started working with two talented front-end developers to build out the web app’s new frontend. It is currently 80% completed and should be ready to launch beta testing by the end of the first quarter this year alongside our new backend framework. The new front end will improve the design and ease of use of our web app.

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-issued 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.

9. Team

We have the equivalent of 12 full-time workers. Half of our team is based in the United States, and the remainder are abroad.

Please join us in welcoming Amresh Mishra, a web developer that is helping us with our website transition over to Webflow. He will also be helping us to upgrade the website’s design and functionality moving forward.

We are currently reviewing applications for a new copywriter and social media content specialist to join our team in 2022.

10. What we’re going to be focusing on for 2022

On the top of our list is getting even more “signoff” from an expert SEC attorney and approval of our legal documents. No lawyer will actually “sign off” on any legal document, but they can let us know if there are any red flags in regards to token-related legal aspects. This will help our customers feel like they can trust us without needing a lot of sign-offs from their lawyers.

We are also focusing our efforts on improving our product. Most of our developers are working on completing the new backend and frontend framework to give our web app a beautiful new look with improved functionality. We are hoping to have the beta launched in 3 months, by the end of the first quarter of 2022. We also have a developer working on our current web app to make bug fixes and improve design aesthetics.

In order to improve our design capabilities and SEO, our team is transitioning our websites off of Wix over to Webflow. We will also be upgrading the Upstock and Uptoken website’s look for a more professional and up-to-date design with improved navigation.

We are continuing to build out and evolve our sales team to figure out the best way to reach and onboard new customers in the employee equity space as well as the token economy.

Thanks again for all of your support!

We wouldn’t be here without your support and guidance. We truly appreciate all that you’ve done to make Upstock a success now and in the future. Hope you all had a wonderful end of the year and we look forward to improving and growing together in 2022!

-The Upstock Team