Frequently asked questions

  • How does The Upside Foundation work with member companies?Open or Close
    The Upside Foundation receives pledges of stock options or warrants from private companies. When the company has a liquidity event (e.g.,  IPO, acquisition), the Foundation sells its options or warrants for cash and donates the proceeds to registered Canadian charities. The Foundation has no involvement in the companies’ operations. While not its focus, The Upside Foundation also accepts cash donations to fund operations.

  • Who decides when to convert the stock options to cash?Open or Close
    Upon a liquidity event, the Upside Foundation’s Board will decide when to convert the options or warrants the Fund has been granted and when to sell the shares. Generally, these options, warrants and shares will be liquidated at the earliest possible opportunity, in order to provide cash allocations to the charity organizations.

  • Is my company too early for The Upside Foundation?Open or Close

    If you’re already referring to ‘your company’, no. The Upside Foundation is intended for small and growing companies. As an emerging company, this is a very effective tool that can be used to leverage your  community involvement and participate in something bigger. There is no cash impact on the member companies as a result of the pledge. Companies have joined as early as pre-incorporation and pre-name- all you need is a strong idea.

  • Is my company too late for The Upside Foundation?Open or Close

    All Canadian start-ups and private high-growth companies are encouraged to join The Upside Foundation.  Companies have joined after receiving multiple rounds of funding worth millions of dollars.  As long as your company is still private, you can join the Upside Foundation.

  • What kinds of companies join The Upside Foundation?Open or Close

    Any company that is based in Canada and has high growth plans can join the Upside Foundation.  Many of our companies are tech-focused, but not all.  We welcome companies from all industries.

  • How does my company contribute stock options to The Upside Foundation?Open or Close

    The process is very simple. To get started, just fill out our online pledge form on our website and we will be in touch.  No lawyers or accountants are required for the first step as you are simply pledging the options.  The aim is to keep the process as simple as possible. However, options and grants require a legal process, so the Foundation has created customized forms for this purpose. Once the pledge form is received you will receive detailed instructions on how to contribute from an ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) or a sample legal form that can be used to complete the process.

    For more information on the legal donation process, please review our Resources section (under the About Us tab).

  • How many options are required from each donor company?Open or Close

    The number of options varies with every company, but it is typically around 1% of the outstanding shares for early stage companies. Companies that join at a later stage typically donate a smaller portion. While no minimum number of options is officially required, in order to make a significant impact upon a liquidity event, we request that you donate a meaningful amount of stock options so that the resulting funds can make a difference.


  • Will companies be required to give additional pledges of options to The Upside Foundation?Open or Close

    While companies will not be required to make additional contributions, several companies working with our global partners a have in fact generously done so in order to minimize the Foundations’ dilution following subsequent financing rounds.

  • What happens if a member company goes out of business?Open or Close

    These stock options will be worthless and will not be exercised.  However, as an entrepreneur, you will have hopefully participated in numerous Upside Foundation events, met with like-minded entrepreneurs and venture capitalists and also had your company logo and business description included on our website as a proud member. We hope you will consider making a grant from your next, more successful, venture as well.

  • Who has already supported the Upside Foundation?Open or Close

    For a list of our member companies to date who have shared their upside, see our List of Members. In addition to member companies, the Upside Foundation is supported by a committed group of Founders, Board Members and Advisors who are all volunteering their time, in addition to one full-time Foundation Manager- see our List of Board Directors, Advisors and Managers.  Many prominent Canadian investors, incubators and community organizations have demonstrated their support for the Upside Foundation- see our List of Community Partners. The Upside Foundation has secured various firms and individuals to provide pro-bono services- see our List of Supporters.

  • How does The Upside Foundation select the charities to support?Open or Close

    The Upside Foundation wants the charity allocation to be very meaningful to the member company.  Once a liquidity event is imminent, (i.e., the company is about to be acquired or go public), we will check with you to see if there is a specific area of focus or charity where you would like to direct the proceeds.  Our goal is to tie the giving back to the community we are building that is relevant to entrepreneurs, and therefore we typically focus on three causes: poverty, education and technology.  We will then suggest the most impactful charities within the chosen focus area based on external research.  You can then choose to direct the donation to one or more of the charities we identify or of your own choosing, provided it meets Foundation Board approval.  Any charity suggested by a member must pass the Foundation’s due diligence process which includes, but is not limited to, the charity being Canadian, in good standing with the Canada Revenue Agency and unaffiliated.

  • How can a charitable organization apply to receive a donation from the Foundation?Open or Close
    We are not accepting proposals at this time.  We will update our website when we are ready to start evaluating various organizations.

  • How is the Upside Foundation funded?Open or Close
    We receive private grants that cover our operational expenditures.  See our List of Founding Donors for an overview of those who support us.  We are also the recipient of a major grant from a national foundation, which we will be publicly announcing soon.  100% of donations from our donor companies are directed to chosen charities.  While companies are not required to donate to the Upside Foundation, companies are welcome to consider the Upside Foundation as one of the recipients of their final donation.