Today we are excited to announce the launch of 150×150: Turn Equity Into Charity, our campaign to double our membership to 150 companies as we celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday. We are also announcing several prominent Canadian startups who have taken the Upside pledge, including Wattpad, Wealthsimple and Overbond, as well as our second exit resulting in funds going to charity.
“The Upside Foundation provides an easy solution for both early-stage startups and high-growth companies who want to give back but don’t necessarily have the time or money,” said Rob Antoniades, Board Chair and Co-founder of The Upside Foundation. “Through this national campaign, we hope to empower 150 Canadian startups to take the pledge to donate a portion of their equity and help build a stronger future for Canada.”
Wattpad, the Toronto-based entertainment company for original stories, is the first company to kick off the 150×150 challenge.
“At Wattpad, we believe startups aren’t just about profits, they’re about giving back to communities, at home and abroad. We’ve already made a remarkable impact on millions of people’s lives around the world. Today, we pledge to join the 150×150 campaign to demonstrate our continued commitment to positive social impact,” said Allen Lau, Wattpad co-founder and CEO. “Whether you’re in the early stages or a well-established start-up nearing exit, it always makes sense to support charities that serve your users and mean something to your team. If you haven’t already joined the Upside Foundation, what are you waiting for? Join the 150×150 campaign today!”
Over 75 companies have already pledged to give back with the Upside Foundation. Recently, we had our second exit when BlueCat was acquired for $400 million. BlueCat CEO, Michael Harris, had previously pledged to donate proceeds from a portion of his own stock options to the Upside Foundation. The funds have been distributed to the Enbridge® Ride to Conquer Cancer® benefiting the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, a 200-kilometre cycling trip which Michael is participating in- read more here.
We’re looking forward to working with our members, partners and supporters to grow the number of companies who have committed to giving back to communities in Canada to 150. Stay tuned for campaign updates over the coming months, including new members, events, and opportunities to join the movement.
Vuk Magdelinic, co-founder and CEO of Overbond, a primary bond issuance platform, said, “I’ve always believed in giving back to the community, and I’m proud that we have now found a way to make Overbond’s success mean that charities in the community will win alongside us.”
Any Canadian startup or private high-growth company can take the Upside pledge by committing stock options or warrants that will be converted to cash at the time of an exit or IPO, and donated to a registered Canadian charity.
“People work at startups because they want to effect change, and the Upside Foundation enables startup employees to have a meaningful impact on their community,” said Mike Katchen, founder and CEO of Wealthsimple. “Our team is proud to join the 150×150 challenge.”
How Companies Can Join the 150×150 Challenge
The Upside Foundation encourages Canadian companies to join those who have already taken the pledge.
- Companies fill out the online pledge form and a representative will be in touch.
- Once the pledge form is received, companies will receive detailed instructions on how to contribute from an ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) or a simple legal form, with flexibility depending on the stage of the company.
Others looking to get involved with the Upside Foundation and our 150×150 campaign are invited to check out www.upsidefoundation.ca/150×150/ or reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org to connect with us.
Wattpad, the global multiplatform entertainment company for original stories, transforms how the world discovers, creates, and engages with stories. Since 2006, it has offered a completely social experience where people everywhere can participate and collaborate on content through comments, messages, and multimedia. Today, Wattpad connects a community of over 45 million people around the world through serialized stories about the things they love. As home to millions of fresh voices and fans who share culturally relevant stories based on local trends and current events, Wattpad has unique pop culture insights in virtually every market around the world. Wattpad Studios co-produces stories for film, television, digital, and print, to radically transform the way the entertainment industry sources and produces content. Wattpad Brand Solutions offers new and integrated ways for brands to build deep engagement with consumers. The company is proudly based in Toronto, Canada.
Wealthsimple is a new kind of financial advisor — one that’s intuitive, affordable, and human. They provide world-class, long-term investment management without the high fees and account minimums associated with traditional investment managers. They invest your money in a globally diversified portfolio of low-cost index funds modeled after the same Nobel Prize-winning research used by the world’s savviest investors.
Overbond is transforming how global investment banks, institutional investors, corporations and governments connect and access the primary fixed income market. Overbond’s fully-digital platform for primary bond issuance eliminates inefficiencies, provides higher transparency, optimal price discovery, and investor diversification for all counterparties in the primary bond market.
ABOUT THE UPSIDE FOUNDATION
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).