By Christian Eckelmann, Cofounder and CEO of Upstreet
This has been a year no one will ever forget, mostly due to the host of global challenges and tragedies that came with it, however, there have also been numerous “silver linings,” among which we count the launch of Upstreet!
Investors, partners, advisors, regulators, suppliers, supporters of all kinds, and - of course - our team, have all pulled together to achieve some big wins in a year full of adversity.
Getting the green light from ASIC
Launching a new financial services company is challenging at the best of times and rightly so. In August, ASIC confirmed the registration of the Upstreet Fund as a Managed Investment Scheme and we were all systems go.
Building a beautiful app
Our engineering and design teams were putting the finishing touches on our app, which launched on the App Store and Google Play in October. 5 Star reviews have started rolling in on both app stores and even a spontaneous Reddit thread left us feeling pretty good overall!
Adding ASX-listed brands for users to own
Concurrently, our business development team was busy onboarding new brands, so that users would have some quality brands to ‘shopvest’ with from Day 1. We launched with a great mix of listed brands, including: Adairs (ASX: ADH), Shaver Shop (ASX: SSG), The Good Guys (ASX: JBH) and Catch.com.au (ASX: WES).
When shopping with these listed companies, Upstreet members earn a stake in the brands themselves, and increase their portfolio with every visit.
Proving unlisted brands work too
We soon attracted a few unlisted brands onto the platform, which was an equally exciting development for us. There are so many emerging, exciting and socially responsible brands with such unique stories to tell. These brands can choose from a list of Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) stocks to use as their share rewards for Upstreet members.
Three examples include: Kill Kapture (a “tough luxury” fashion brand built by special operators), Minnow Designs (children’s water shoes designed by Aussie mums) and Warndu (an Indigenous owned native food company).
The latest brands to join, both ASX-listed and unlisted
Some of our latest brands require no introduction, like BWS (ASX: WOW), Kogan.com (ASX: KGN) or Marley Spoon (ASX: MMM), where Upstreet members can earn direct ownership on everyday and frequent purchases. Subscription services like the meal kits provided by Marley Spoon can build a larger ownership stake incrementally and consistently.
Other recent additions revealed some exciting new possibilities for growth, when highly localised businesses joined the party. Coming soon, Tipica is our family favourite Italian restaurant in Bondi, which we frequent regularly and now earn ETF rewards with each time! And Mighty Craft (ASX: MCL) is offering share rewards at their two popular venues, The Mighty Hunter Valley (Google Maps) and The Mighty Moonee Ponds (Google Maps). Now customers at either venue can “own their local” just by enjoying delicious local food and beverages. This week we had our first mention in an official ASX announcement when Mighty Craft made this news public! We’re so excited to be working with great brands like them.
We see many opportunities to expand with beloved local businesses by our side as well as ASX-listed giants.
Growing the team
All this progress has meant big changes to our team, which has grown dramatically since October. We hired our first Head of Product, Peter Segerer; our first Head of Business Development, Sabine Tejerina; and our first Head of Marketing, Rodrigo Galvis. Our engineering team also grew as we welcomed: Lee Zhao, Maxine Chen, Michael Diedricks and Toby Laidlaw. They of course joined Joe Nalewabau and Sean Zhu who put in an extraordinary effort to get us so far without so many helping hands!
I can’t thank each and every team member enough for their efforts this year despite often ambiguous and changing circumstances, as well as many new collaboration tools and processes, on top of already large workloads. Not only did everyone rise up to the various challenges, but they did so with a positive attitude and sense of humour that kept us all going.
Considering what our team and supporters were able to achieve in 2020 despite everything, I personally can’t wait to see what we’re capable of in 2021. With more brands in the pipeline and our user base growing, you can expect many exciting announcements from us.
Wishing you safe and happy holidays with your family including a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year! 🎄
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