A little bit about our co-founders Joe and Pardeep
Joe, who grew up in Italy, moved to New York, then to San Francisco, and finally to London, picking up his pilot's license along the way. He got into coding from playing Habbo Hotel back in the day. He had been hacking away at apps for Habbo Hotel, which rolled into learning to code and building dozens of other apps. Joe is nerdy, but not in a Star Wars kind of way; he'd probably fall asleep watching it. He's more of a "I found this book about contract law interesting" kind of guy. He's got copies of The Economist laying about. He's grounded in reality because it's fascinating enough.
Pardeep, born in London, had worked in startups, engineering companies, and government health organizations, doing coding to rework business processes. Then he started building a location-based social network. While building that, he decided to build a SaaS company to make an income while building said social network. It turned out that "casually building a SaaS company on the side" is not a part-time operation if you have to do the coding, marketing, support, sales, and admin all by yourself. He's a standard nerd: Star Wars, Star Trek, sci-fi books (Asimov, Niven, Banks, Hamilton), and, of course, the WW2 non-fiction books. Very standard.
How did Joe and Pardeep meet?
Both Joe and Pardeep were doing solo projects, building their own apps. One of Joe's projects was a lead gen API, and Pardeep's side SaaS project was a lead gen tool. Pardeep was using Joe's API and became his biggest customer. They decided to meet. Pardeep came around to Joe's office at WeWork in London's Soho area, expecting to meet a team of people. It turned out it was just Joe, in his white shirt and dark pants, on his own, running the API.
It made a lot of sense to work together on what was essentially the same project, rather than doing all the coding, marketing, and support individually. Joe was a more enthusiastic coder, and Pardeep was enthusiastic enough at marketing, and that became the split of work. While the lead gen app made money, it was not fulfilling, and they were both on the lookout for more ideas.
How Upscope began
The origins of Upscope itself are quite simple. When running any website, when a customer has a problem, you just want to see the problem. The advantage of being tech folk is that we want to do it the simplest way possible. Set up a Zoom call and screen share? No thank you. That's 2 or 3 steps too slow; we want to do it in one click.
Upscope's alpha version was built in December 2015 by Joe. It sat in Alpha for a full year until Joe and Pardeep returned to focus on it and realized that some people had been using the free Alpha version heavily, even though it had many bugs. The big advantage of having an app in free Alpha is that the free version's users had some of the slowest, most difficult websites out there. That period of making it work for those Alpha users was incredibly important for future stability.
Joe then began working on the production version of Upscope, which was launched in 2017, and the company was officially incorporated.
One of the first hires was Minh, who is still with the team. She's lasted through all the ups and downs and madness and now runs half the team. For quite a while, it was just Joe, Pardeep, and Minh, and this is why Minh is probably most attuned to Joe and Pardeep's mistakes and puts them in check at times.
What are Upscope's core values?
There's so much advice out there that, if you don't stand for something, you fall for everything. Understanding and getting our values right has taken time. What do we really believe in? If we use the product ourselves, we'll make it better at a faster rate. At a minimum, we should be building products we love to use so we'd be proud to ship them. That's also why our north star metric is 'usage'. If it really solves a problem for us and for others, then we'd use the product. So forget revenue, focus on usage first. Revenue will follow.
There's a new project coming that Joe and Pardeep are excited about. It incorporates elements of cobrowsing and would allow for better communication between companies and clients. In line with our values, we'll be using it internally and it would have to pass the usage test.