There’s still time: why mid-stage scaling founders should apply for Upscale today

Kane Fulton, October 18, 2019 4 min read

When you’re the founder of a scaling company, it’s essential to have access to tailored, relevant and trustworthy support in order to overcome the unique challenges that accompany rapid growth.

Our established, curated and free Upscale growth programme has supported some of the UK’s fastest-growing tech companies, from Monzo to Bulb, providing access to an unrivalled support network – and you could become part of it by applying to join our latest cohort before midnight on Thursday (Oct 24).

“It’s really exciting to be launching Upscale 5.0, which supports both founders and their leadership teams by providing access to expert scale coaches and enabling peer-to-peer learning in an honest and open environment,” says Upscale Programme Lead Liam Ward. “By tapping into our growing alumni’s collective experience, we continue to help founders tackle pressing challenges and unlock the key to scaling.”

As Featurespace CEO Martina King notes in Upscale: the book, “With an exceptional team comes the need to delegate and trust. No general manager, MD or CEO can be an expert in all departments, and neither should they be.” It’s for this reason that Upscale alumni founders such as Tessa Clarke, co-founder and CEO of food waste app OLIO, appreciate the programme’s commitment to inviting senior leadership teams to sessions.

“What set Upscale apart for us was that all of our functional heads could join and benefit from it, which helped us raise the bar across the whole organisation,” she says. “Quite simply, it’s the best scaleup programme around, one with an incredibly well thought through format that’s also an unparalleled learning and networking opportunity.”

The criteria:

  • VC backed, having raised Series A round
    or generating annual revenues between £1.5m – £5m, if revenue focussed
  • Achieving 20% month-on-month growth
  • HQ’d in UK

Find out more and apply now >

Practical advice

Upscale companies benefit from being provided with more than 60 hours of support from more than 20 scale coaches. For Ben Prouty, founder of asset management platform Shepper, Upscale’s workshops and meetups – which cover everything from scaling company culture to dealing with adversity and managing a board – proved a particular highlight.

“I really enjoyed their variety,” he says. “There were opportunities to send along my management team to product and marketing sessions, and my corporate finance members to others on fundraising and international expansion.”

Each successive Upscale cohort receives insight from founders who appeared on previous versions of the programme. When Tech Nation programme alumnus LoveCrafts, who took part in Future Fifty, presented to the cohort last year, Helen Cockle, COO at cashflow software company Futrli experienced an “epiphany moment”.

“LoveCrafts spoke about building a community around their product to protect the company, something they call a ‘moat’ in VC land,” she says. “It was really interesting to hear that from somebody who is at the next stage of growth to us. We often reference their experience internally and have designed and created a moat ourselves.”

Find out more and apply now >

Making connections

Held over a six-month period, each of Upscale’s sessions present an opportunity for entrepreneurs to meet, learn from and confide in founders who are at the same growth stage and face similar challenges. Reflecting on her time on Upscale, Rachel Carrell, founder of childcare service Koru Kids, describes the “practical and emotional support” that she received on the programme.

“Founders get inundated with requests to join networks, and it’s about figuring out which ones are not just about some objective quality but also relevance,” she says. “On the practical side, because everybody is at the same stage on Upscale, it gives you confidence that the people you meet and the ideas you will be exposed to will be highly relevant. And, emotionally, it’s such a tonic to hang out with other founders who are facing similar challenges.”

“It’s such a tonic to hang out with other founders who are facing similar challenges.”

– Rachel Carrell, Koru Kids

Find out more and apply now >

‘Group therapy’

Stephen Bourke, co-founder of medication management app Echo, experienced similar benefits. “Upscale is group therapy for founders – it provides a safe space to share hopes and fears,” he says. “By leveraging our collective experience, what seems like insurmountable problems can be broken down into manageable chunks.”

Offline interaction is complemented with online in the form of private communication groups, which allow relationships to blossom long after the programme has ended. For Veeqo founder Matt Warren, the ability to contact every Upscale CEO simultaneously proved “super valuable” when it came to expanding internationally.

“We recently launched our US office and Upscale’s online group helped me discover things like how to set up a company there, what lawyers to use, and how to transfer pricing, all from founders on the programme who have done it in the past year,” he says. “Talking to other CEOs is inspiring and motivating, especially if they’re doing well as it makes you want to up your game – and nobody is ever selling stuff to each other!”

Based on values of honesty, intimacy and trust, Upscale’s dedication to sharing expertise and promoting peer learning lends it a unique quality among the UK’s crowded programme landscape. But don’t take our word for it – or our alumni founders’ – apply for Upscale today and experience it for yourself.

Applications for Upscale 5.0 close on 24th October 2019.

Find out more and apply now >

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