Who is Upp?
The world of retail changed forever when the world went online. Now competition is fiercer than ever, and businesses are struggling to survive. Why?
Firstly, companies struggle to drive revenue across multiple channels. Amazon, eBay, and Google all categorise, list and sell products differently so it’s hard to effectively sell on more than one channel. Secondly, companies still focus too heavily on revenue generation. On average, across an entire product range the company profit will be driven by only 30% of their products, the remaining 70% is sold at cost or loss.
Upp wants to help both local retailers and global multinationals to not only survive in this market but thrive, by enabling them to not only drive revenue more effectively across multiple channels but also to allow businesses to understand their profitability at an individual product level.
The Upp journey so far:
Upp started by focusing on the first challenge for retailers, being able to effectively sell their product across multiple channels by effectively using data and technology. When businesses first went online, ERP platforms were used as the core business system. These large, clunky platforms required a large amount of manual data entry, then once the data was inputted, they managed the logistics of the business. What they didn’t do was help businesses to understand how they could sell their products more effectively.
Upp focused on building their first module, their “Intelligent Listing Engine”. This addressed the challenge with selling products across multiple channels. Retailers can plug into the Upp platform, the platform ingests all of their data effortlessly, it figures out what data is missing using machine learning, it uses image processing to enrich the product data, and it then lists the products on multiple channels intelligently adjusting the listing depending on how that channel works. This allowed products to be listed 40x fast than traditional methods whilst, improving product visibility and increasing sales margins.
As Upp started plugging customers in to their platform, they discovered a more deep-rooted challenge for these businesses. Companies focused on revenue generation as a key business metric and their teams’ performance was measured in this way. Businesses with high revenue figures struggled because they didn’t have visibility of which of their products were selling at a cost or a profit. This is why local independents to global multinational retailers struggle alike to survive, they don’t have visibility of profit margins at a macro level.
Upp are now building a second module, their “Intelligent Margin Hub” to allow retailers to have macro visibility of their data and provide actionable insights.
Upp is a mission led startup looking to address a core challenge within one of the largest business sectors in the world, online retail. They are focused on developing and constantly improving the two core components of their product.
Upp has 25 employees based in their London office in Fitzrovia; with large open plan spaces great for collaboration, meetups and product demos, and obviously the obligatory beer fridge. Although the office space is great, it is the culture and sense of purpose that shines through.
For now, Upp is focused on increasing the number of paying customers using their “Intelligent Listing Engine”. Whilst the “Intelligent Margin Hub” is at Beta stage with a small number of businesses.
The company is backed by (list investors) with funding that will cover them until Q2 2021. At that point Upp will run their Series B to fuel further growth which will allow them to build further features and expand into other customer segments.
Upp Leadership Team:
- Ben White – CEO
- Geoff Ainsworth - VP Solution Delivery
- Drew Smith - VP Product Strategy
- Ben Moore – Director of Engineering
Ben White has been involved in successfully scaling four business, you couldn’t have a better person to steer the ship.
Ben M and Drew form a cohesive leadership unit and between them own the Product Engineering function. Their focus is two-fold; building a cutting edge innovative product and building a scalable high calibre product engineering team.
Geoff is focused on how the product is taken to market and customer acquisition, whilst working closely with Drew to get rapid customer feedback on their “Intelligent Margin Hub” module so they can move from Beta to production.
The Upp platform enables retailers to drive macro business outcomes by combining marketing, ecommerce and business data to win more customers and improve profitability.
Upp uses machine learning to enrich product titles, attributes and descriptions so they’re found by more consumers. Upp intelligently lists your products on Google Shopping and Amazon 40x faster than traditional methods while improving your product visibility and effectively increasing your sales and margin.
Beyond product listing capabilities, Upp empowers ecommerce and digital marketing teams to make smart online retail decisions, by giving them SKU level margin visibility and providing insights and actions to drive the best results. Upp aligns your teams around the bigger picture by simply connecting silos of data from across the business and helping the team stay focused on profitability.
Upp currently has two modules:
Intelligent Listing Engine:
- Taking product information and intelligently optimizing it for Google Shopping to drive revenue and profitability
- Improving your product visibility by enriching product titles and attributes to ensure your product is seen more and the customer experience improves
Intelligent Margin Hub:
- Providing SKU level margin visibility, insights and actions to optimize digital marketing spend and increase profitability
- Simply connects business and marketing data from the across the business to provide insights and focus on the right metrics
The Product Engineering function is 20 strong. Drew heads up Product, with a team of Product Owners and Designers. Ben heads up Engineering, leading 3 lean cross-functional teams.
The focus for the first half of 2020 is on the product and customer acquisition, the second half of the year will be focused on scaling the product engineering function.
- Backend: Java, Spring Boot, Scala, Python, Microservices Architecture, GraphQL, Kafka.
- Database: MongoDB, Neo4j.
- Cloud & DevOps: AWS, Jenkins, Docker, Kubernetes, Terraform, Packer, Ansible
You will be joining the “Intelligent Listing Engines” team to focus on new feature development whilst also supporting their customers. The product is still in growth mode, there are planned features to build alongside rapid feature development driven by real time customer feedback and needs.
The team works in sprints, mainly focused on feature development with a small amount of maintenance work. You’ll work with Senior Developers on larger complex features and work solo on smaller features. You will have an opportunity to touch on a wide range of disciplines: product management, user experience, architecture, design, development, QA and DevOps.
The team you are joining are super experienced product engineers, you couldn’t ask for a better bunch of people to learn from.
What you will be tasked with:
- Working closely with Customers, Product and Design to understand user needs
- Prototyping ideas to support sales processes or live customers
- Working on large features alongside other developers, or owning small feature development by yourself
- Managing features end to end; design, development, QA and deployment
- Working across the full stack, you’ll be focused on backend but have an opportunity to work on frontend features and everyone chips in when it comes infrastructure/deployment (DevOps)
What Upp are looking for in you:
Non-negotiables – soft skills:
- An interest in startups. You want to be part of building something new within a marketplace. You don’t want to be a small cog in a big corporate working on a boring features, or worse, fixing bugs all day.
- Product focused. You want to impact how a product evolves. You enjoy interacting with users to find out how you can improve their experience. You like prototyping ideas as well as working on planned features.
- Mission led. Someone who buys into the mission of a company and the problem they are solving. Upp are growing fast and have a tonne of things they need to achieve, they want people that are bought in for the long term and believe in what they’re doing.
- Logical thinker. You have a structured approach to situations, if you don’t know the answer, you’ll know how to find it out.
- Open to change. You are able to work in a fast paced environments where priorities can change instantly, and you are able to adjust.
- A DevOps believer. At Upp the team own both the development and infrastructure so you’ll get to work with AWS, Docker, and Kubernetes.
Non-negotiables – tech skills:
- Backend development experience using Java and Spring.
- Solid on code quality and testing.
- Comfortable taking requirements from Product and working through how to design and build features in Java.
- You have the foundations nailed when it comes to software engineering.
Nice to haves:
- An understanding (and hopefully some experience) with microservice architecture.
- Frontend experience, ideally using React.
- Architectural experience.
- Cloud / DevOps experience
What you will achieve in your first six months:
- Built strong relationships within your team, recognised as a valued member
- Understand the needs of the business and customers, and built relationships outside of product engineering (sales, marketing)
- Inspire and enable the team around you
- Delivered at least one feature, if not multiple.
- Have a clear plan and route towards becoming a Senior Developer
- Have an impact!!
How your role will evolve :
The next step will be Senior Developer.
Upp view a Senior Developer as someone that is technically competent across the board and can handle any tech related situation. As a Mid Developer Upp still expect to give you some guidance when it comes to technical decision making and working on larger, more complex features.
After Senior Developer there are a number of paths available:
- Team Leadership: there will be newly formed squads that will require Lead Developers. Longer term this will progress into a Head of Engineering position.
- Architecture: moving to work with the Chief Architect on architecture and tooling
- Technical expert: if you find you really enjoy DevOps or Frontend you could move into a role focused on a different aspect of engineering.
How Upp drive development of their people:
Personal development is driven mutually, your line manager will work with you to make sure you are progressing as effectively as possible. Likewise, your manager will look to you for guidance on the speed you want to be progressing at and where you want to be upskilled.
You will have monthly meetings with your line manager to manage your progress. Upp also heavily support attending and/or speaking at conferences and meetups, and you will have an annual budget of £2000 for personal learning assigned to you.
The Package and Benefits:
- £50-60,000 basic salary + 10% bonus (paid quarterly)
- Flexible working – up to 2 days
- Tech of your choice
- 25 days annual leave plus your birthday off
- Pension Scheme
- Free breakfasts, strong coffee, fully stacked fridge with drinks and snacks.
- Other perks: free mobile phone insurance, cinema discounts, eyecare voucher scheme, employee assistance programme.
- 1 stage onsite interview with the Technical and Product Leadership team. 1.5-2 hours.