Canadian Startups Give Back: #CelebrateTheUpside

The Upside Foundation is making it easy for startups across Canada to give back. Upside provides a platform for startups and high-growth companies to donate equity, so that when they have an exit event, a portion of the proceeds are donated to whichever charities the company wants to support. This innovative model allows startups to start reaping the benefits of being a socially responsible company, including taking part in an exclusive network of prominent investors, thought leaders and entrepreneurs, right from the beginning. As tech startups continue to become a prominent part of the Canadian economy, Upside seeks to empower successful companies to support the ecosystem that enabled their success.


#CelebrateTheUpside is a campaign to celebrate and encourage giving back from the Canadian startup community.

When people think of the startup community, ‘giving back’ isn’t one of the first words that comes to mind.  However, we continue to see people and organizations across the community doing so much good work, so we wanted to take the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate that!  Ultimately our goal is to bring the Canadian startup community together and build a reputation for the tech sector as a force for good for Canada.

 We also think that there is a bit of a misconception around giving back. That giving back only makes sense to do on an individual level, or for large, established companies.  We’re ensuring that startups are aware there are ways of giving back that make sense at an early stage, and that doing so can actually help you achieve your business goals.

Benefits of giving back

1.   Customer Loyalty – Customers are highly socially aware, and want to support companies that are socially responsible. 95% of customers think it is a good idea for companies to support charitable causes.

2.   Employee Recruitment & Engagement – Employees want to have a higher social purpose to their work than simply working for a paycheque. Companies that can tap into this are more likely to attract employees more deeply committed to the company’s growth and success.

3.   Brand Differentiation – One of the earliest challenges startups face is standing out from competitors. Making a commitment to giving back makes it clear that your company stands for something, gives you something unique to talk about,  and indicates what your intentions are for your business (i.e. that you will be hugely successful).

4.   Membership – For those that join the Upside Foundation, they become a member in a cross-country exclusive club of like-minded entrepreneurs, investors and influencers, with frequent opportunities for connection.

Wavefront’s Commitment to Giving Back

Each year, Wavefront staff and companies join together to participate in the Startups Care holiday food drive for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Startups Care is a grassroots volunteer organization working in the Vancouver startup scene to give back to the community. At the end of the drive, the Wavefront community donates their time at the food bank to help sort the donation bins.

Additionally, Wavefront CEO Jim Maynard, is on the board of the Science World Equity Giving Program.

With a thriving technology sector, and a demand for skilled workers in STEM, it is vital that today’s young people in British Columbia are supported and empowered to pursue these career tracks.

Science World’s Equity Giving program provides the opportunity for startups to support children and youth across BC by pledging shares or options in private companies. Equity Giving with Science World is an easy way for high growth companies and entrepreneurs to give back to the community without having to donate now, at a time when your focus is on building your company. In an exit event, we will celebrate your success with you and the impactful gift you’ve made will support the next generation of computer programmers, coders, engineers, scientists and doctors in BC. You can donate equity directly to Science World or name Science World as the beneficiary if you donate to the Upside Foundation.

Join us to #CelebrateTheUpside

To participate, simply publish a #CelebrateTheUpside social media post by November 29. Post a photo of you and/or your team holding a #CelebrateTheUpside sign that talks about how you do or will give back and/or which causes you support.  Every submission across twitter, facebook, instagram or linkedin is entered to win a $500 donation to the registered Canadian charity of your choice! Everyone in the startup community is invited to participate – organizations (startups, incubators, investors) or individuals (founders, employees).

Join the Upside Foundation, Wavefront, & the Science World Equity Giving Program in giving back this holiday season!

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Written by Jen Couldrey, Foundation Manager of 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).

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