Invitation to join The Upside Foundation's Winter Cohort

Hi there! Gabi, Upside’s Community Manager, here.

The Upside Foundation enables founders of early-stage, high-growth Canadian companies to build social responsibility into their business by donating equity to the charity of their choice. This allows founders - who don’t have time to volunteer, or cash to donate - to make a positive impact while growing their companies. Over 290 companies have made this commitment, including Borrowell, Hopper, Hubba, Wattpad, and Wealthsimple (however most Upside Members are much earlier-stage), resulting in $1.27M being donated to charity so far.

Members benefit from joining a community of like-minded founders, and connecting with Upside’s network of partners and investors. 2020 has been really hard, which is why Upside wants to rally more Canadian founders to create more upsides before the end of this year! Those who become a Member before November 30th will join the Winter Cohort of values-driven founders, and launch into 2021 with renewed purpose at the next online New Member Celebration with Upside’s founders and partners.

I’d love to connect with any founders interested in this opportunity, please don’t hesitate to reach out at

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Thanks @gabifoss!

Upside is a little Eastern Canada centric and a lot of the folks here are on the Western end of things.

I was introduced to Upside at a very cool conference in the woods a couple of hours east of Toronto.

As startup founders, you can grant Upside equity / “upside” in the event that you have a liquidity event so that it can fund charities.

Thanks Boris! Great to know there are Western Canadian folks on this board, since the pandemic hit we’ve become entirely remote and therefore our programming is accessible to anyone across the country. I’m actually based out of BC now!

Happy to chat with anyone who may be interested in exploring their fit with us :slight_smile:

Thanks again,

Hi @gabifoss

I’m in the process of deciding which of the donation options to choose when joining Upside.

Option 1 is granting vested options. Option 2 is granting future net personal proceeds.

I’m drawn to Option 2 in order to not impact the cap table. But I believe a possible outcome for any founder is that they end up receiving periodic dividends for some time frame.

Does Upside welcome smaller periodic cheques to cash and disperse?

What are Upside’s current feelings about periodic dividends?

A final question for founders. I’d love to hear any feedback regarding my line of thinking here. Especially whether I am being too concerned about cap table impact.

I don’t think this is the common case. Sounds like a future you problem to figure out.

If you’re taking the % out of your founder’s share, then for trivial amounts there is effectively limited cap table impact. Or you can see it as having an extra advisor.

Thanks for the insight @boris

I’m curious what the upside (no pun intended) of choosing Option 2 is (net personal proceeds). Why would a founder receive a recommendation to choose that?


Hey Shawn and Boris! Great conversation here.

re: Does Upside welcome smaller periodic cheques to cash and disperse? We absolutely welcome any donation amount, so if founders want to issue us a percentage of any funds received they are very welcome to do so. However we don’t demand they do, typically it’s only at a major liquidity event.

As for the upside (haha) of the personal proceeds donation option, normally founders choose this option when they don’t want to go through the process of gaining Board approval, or if one co-founder is on board with the donation and the other isn’t. Really up to personal preference!

Let me know if you have any other questions.


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