Upside

We are talking to Andries Smith, CEO and Founder of East Anglia-based start-up Upside. Members of the Angels@Essex platform, Upside have also worked with Invest East, Tech Nation and the UK British Angels Association to develop their proposition. They were also awarded £10K from Angels@Essex.

Tell us about Upside.

Upside are on a mission to help people save. Our first flagship product is called Auto Cashback. It is as simple as plugging in your bank account through open banking, which is safe and secure, and then receiving cashback as and when you qualify.

How did you find out about Angels@Essex? 

We took part in the Invest East programme in East Anglia, which is where we are based. Through the programme we were connected to Angels@Essex and various other organisations in and around East Anglia.

How did the Angels@Essex team help you?

 

We’ve been very fortunate. Angels@Essex invited us to present at the UK British Angels Association event. Pitching there gave us exposure to over fifty angel investors, and we had multiple follow-up conversations from that. We were also invited to Tech Nation’s programme, which was fantastic.  We listed our campaign on the Angel@Essex platform, which helped us clarify our proposition and investment pitch and get in front of more investors. 

What do you see as the main benefits of using the University of Essex services and the Angels@Essex platform?

I live in Essex and am passionate about not only nurturing local talent but keeping that talent local. When I worked in the corporate world, I found it strange that so many people from Essex would commute into London when that talent could be harnessed right here. The University of Essex is ideally placed to do this. We attended a few events at the Essex Innovation Centre and met a number of start-ups that we are still in contact with. It is a fantastic facility, and we are looking to take up space there when the doors reopen again. We have also been in contact with the internship programme and are very keen to participate in that in the future.

Would you recommend the University of Essex services to others?

From what I have seen of the services and the support they provide to local businesses and start-ups, absolutely yes! We are voting with our feet by using the services ourselves.

“I live in Essex and am passionate about not only nurturing local talent but keeping that talent local. When I worked in the corporate world, I found it strange that so many people from Essex would commute into London when that talent could be harnessed right here. The University of Essex is ideally placed to do this.”
Andries Smith Upside CEO and founder

What are the future plans for the business?

2020, despite all its interesting dynamics, was the year we addressed our fundamental hypotheses. Will people like it? Can we sign up partners? Can we build the technology? Can we raise the funds? All four of those hypotheses we have proven. 2021 is now the year of scaling. We are in the last phases of our current funding round. That money will be used to get us into the app store, onto mobile devices, and in the hands of UK customers. There are12 million people in the UK that have less than £100 in savings. We believe that we can raise that to£1,250 a year. We are talking about life-altering savings and we are deeply passionate about it. So, watch this space, sign up to the app, and tell everyone about it!