The Business Case for Giving Back: Part 2 - Upside Foundation of Canada

Whats new

The Business Case for Giving Back: Part 2
October 18, 2016


How joining the Upside Foundation helps you achieve your business goals

Last week we talked about how embedding a social mission into your business can help you to achieve your talent, customers and brand exposure goals. Now let’s talk about a way of doing so that helps you achieve your goals related to financing, mentoring, and visibility.

There are many different ways to engage in social responsibility: cash donations, responsible supply chain practices, employee volunteering, etc. Startups often do not have the cash or time to give back in traditional ways. However, startups have one major asset: potential.

One way of giving back that conserves resources in your early days is by donating equity to charity: ‘sharing your upside’. The Upside Foundation has developed a platform that enables you to donate options at a very early stage- allowing you to support the causes you care about in a fast & easy way. Sharing your upside means that you get to start reaping the benefits of being socially responsible long before you have the resources to actually give back.

“What we’re trying to do is bring corporate social responsibility to the startup community…we want to change the way the startup community thinks about giving back and we’ve made it as easy as possible to do that. There’s no such thing as too early to give back.”  — Rob Antoniades, Information Venture Partners (Upside Foundation Co-Founder & Board Chair)

Donating to the Upside Foundation means that you become a member of an exclusive club of Canadian entrepreneurs, investors and influencers, who believe in doing good while doing well. Being a member in the Upside Foundation will help you to:

Build relationships with investors

35 leading investors advocated for the Upside Foundation and met with founders at the ‘Meet the Investors & Influencers’ event in October 2015

8/10 Upside Foundation Board Members & Advisors run VC funds or financing advisory companies

Attend any industry event on fundraising and one theme will consistently come through: building relationships with investors needs to start long before you are looking to raise money. If your pitch is the first time they are hearing about you, you are already at a disadvantage. Through Upside Foundation events and active networking opportunities, founders have the opportunity to start building informal relationships with investors.

Connect with peers and mentors

88 Founders and Co-Founders, from 66 companies, are members in the Upside Foundation

Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey. Most of the things you are doing, you have never done before. Upside Foundation private events and online forums provide an opportunity to talk through your challenges with those who are experiencing the same, and those who are a few steps ahead of you.

Increase the visibility & credibility of your company

“Seeing our logo on the screen at the Salesforce World Tour in our early stages was surreal” — Mircea Baldean (Upside Foundation member)

Especially at an early stage, being associated with an organization such as the Upside Foundation can help to give your new company credibility. Customers are looking for cues and symbols to tell them who you are and what you stand for- including the Upside Foundation logo alongside your brands helps them to see that your company is committed to giving back. Being a member means that your logo is listed on the Upside Foundation and the Pledge 1% website, on marketing materials, and displayed at industry events. Members and their companies are featured in Startup Success, the Upside Foundation’s interview series featuring those who do good while doing well, as well as through social media.

Take advantage of perks

Founders don’t give back because of the perks of doing so… but they can’t hurt! Through the Upside Foundation’s lawyers at Bennett Jones, members are able to have a customized ESOP built for them for $500. Members receive a complimentary membership in the INC Society, a corporate perks and benefits program, which includes a discounted phone plan, gym membership, insurance and benefits, and travel perks, among other benefits for founders. Members also receive discounted access to events, such as CIX and Fireside Conference.

In Conclusion

Giving back as an early-stage startup is an investment in your company’s success. While giving back certainly makes you feel good and is always a good thing to do, the fact that doing so strategically can also support your efforts with regards to talent, financing, customers, mentoring, visibility & brand differentiation, makes doing so a wise business decision. Joining the Upside Foundation is exactly that- a full complement to the goals you are pursuing.


“Making it easy for startups to ensure that their valuable equity can easily and simply contribute to society is an important part of our startup ecosystem.” — Dan Debow, CEO, Director, Salesforce SVP, Rypple Co-CEO & Founder

“A healthy technology ecosystem benefits everyone…[this aligns] perfectly with who we are as Canadians.” — Matt Golden, Managing Partner, Golden Venture Partners

“Go to Upside Foundation. I believe vigorously that we as a tech community can make a much bigger difference than we do.” — Howard Gwin, Corporate Director & Chairman

Read more testimonials here.

(To learn more about how giving back can help you recruit and retain top talent, build a strong culture, attract loyal customers, and ensure your brand is memorable, check out The Business Case for Giving Back: Part 1).

Take the pledge today to ‘share the upside’ and reap the benefits of being a company that cares!

Written by Jen Couldrey, Foundation Manager of the Upside Foundation. 

Connect with us: LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook

Connect with Jen: LinkedIn | Twitter


The Upside Foundation of Canada is a registered charity. The Foundation provides an innovative corporate philanthropy platform to help Canadian startups and high-growth companies “Share the Upside”. Since startups’ cash is scarce, as is time, the Foundation makes charitable giving quick, easy and cash-free.

The model is powerful: Earlier-stage and high growth private companies pledge stock options or warrants to the Upside Foundation. When the company has a liquidity event (e.g., IPO, acquisition), the Foundation monetizes the options and donates the proceeds to registered Canadian charities selected by the donors (and approved by the Foundation).

For more information, email

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

Speak Your Mind


five × four =