Startup Focus: Upside

Date: 4 May 2021
Author: FINTECH Circle

Andries Smit is the Founder & CEO of Upside. Find out how they’re changing the future of fintech!

How would you describe your business in one sentence?

Upside Saving is a fintech platform that enables banks and financial services companies to offer personalised, frictionless upsides to their customers.

Tell us why is your company a game changer for our industry?

Upside is what Open Banking was intended for. We are allowing customers to release the money in their data through a simple yet infinite loop of cashback rewards for zero-party data. As a B2B2C play this means any bank or financial institution can use our technology as a plug and play reward system that actually delivers value to their customers.

Upside is a savings account that fills itself up. The customer doesn’t have to click to activate an offer, to drop a cookie or even use a promo code for their discount. Whilst most cashback sites take at least 3 months to pay cashback, Upside gives customers their money back instantly – generating the dopamine hit every time a cashback reward notification hits the customer’s screen and creating long term loyalty and consolidated spends with brands.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Signing up 4 distribution partners, everything from charity, to insurance, telco to banking as a service. We’ve even been approached by a Football club wanting to give upside to their fans!

What has been the greatest challenge leading a startup so far?

Running a startup during a pandemic hasn’t been easy – we’ve missed being together as a team, solving problems and coming up with ideas face to face. Of course, we’ve found work-arounds as many people have, making the most out of the time saved on travel and commuting, making sure we build our culture remotely. Can’t wait to get the team together!

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt from your fundraising journey?

Everything can change in a heartbeat! Although overall, our lines of progress all have an upwards trajectory, if you were to track them day by day, they’d look like a rollercoaster. They’ve become smoother as we’ve learnt, made progress and implemented processes, but we have seen how quickly the world changes and how agile we need to remain to be able to respond to those changes.

Your advice to anyone starting out as an entrepreneur?

Find people who believe in the company vision and mission. Every member of our team has committed to the goal of helping Upsiders save a collective £1 billion a year by 2023. Without the desire to achieve that aim, if someone’s heart isn’t in it, then you’ll find the tough times far harder to manage.


Andries Smit is an entrepreneurial leader, with a track record of success leading financial services organisations (start-ups (SME Discounts), scale-ups (DollarDex) and large corporates (Aviva)) to drive growth.

With 20 years experience including in the UK, Canada, South Africa, and Asia, his experience spans working with publicly traded companies, venture investors, and startups.