YC Demo Day S17 Takeaways as an Alumni

yc demo day s2017 summer
The one and only.

Twice a year, some of the country’s finest minds flock to the prestigious Y Combinator Demo Day, where a number of hopeful startups present their business plans to a carefully selected audience of investors. Some of the finest minds are invited to flock the night before as well – to the rehearsal run viewing reserved for those alumni who presented successfully the cycle before. Alumni such as Upcall.

Upcall presented on the Winter 2017 Demo Day this past March, and now our own founders, Sam and Michael, attended the Summer 2017 Alumni Demo Day as guests. My, how time flies! At this invite-only event, the graduating class has the opportunity to do a dry run of their presentation before the big day.

upcall demo day yc
Upcall CEOs Sam (left) and Michael, presenting their own pitch this past March.

We asked Sam and Michael to share their thoughts about the event, including advice and who else was helping advance sales team efforts like Upcall. Read on for a little Q & A:

Q: What was your overall impression of the event?

A: An impressive batch. A great variety of companies, from over 17 countries and across all industries – including medical, construction, and autonomous cars. There’s a lot to look forward to.

Q: Tell me about the quantity and composition of the companies. How many startups are included this year?

A: YC is getting bigger every year and reached 1,400 total funded startups. This batch alone had 132, and as I mentioned from all over the world. We noted a slight uptick in female founders presenting, at 12%. Here’s some more statistics about this year’s Summer Demo Day to check out. 

alum night yc demo day
Credit: sfslim on flickr.

Q: Did any pitches strike you as particularly unique?

A: Yes – Flock is a wireless security system for neighborhoods. They’ve already helped to arrest a thief thanks to their cameras. Using this, someone could give the police evidence they need to help after a crime has been committed.

Another one was Mystro. This is an app to help drivers find better rides between different platforms, like Lyft and Uber. It was created for drivers by a driver, and makes on-demand drivers more money by allowing them to drive for multiple on-demand apps and miss less trips they might want.

Entocycle is an insect factory! They transform food waste into insect-based protein for the aquaculture and livestock industries. Very smart and innovative way to help the environment.

70 Million Jobs is the ultimate second chance – it’s a job marketplace for people with criminal records. Their mission is to help the formerly incarcerated men and women regain agency through employment.

Value Voting helps increase voter turnout through strategic primary voting. With the United States constantly engaged in the fight to encourage voter participation, this can help your organization achieve their legislative goals.

Q: Any startups worth noting for boosting your sales team efforts?

A: A good number of them! There was:

  • Slik – Slik offers highly targeted leads with an advanced filtering system, contextual data about decision-makers, and varied pricing.
  • Prism – Why do your customers do what they do? Prism lets you define your audience, collect feedback, and gather insights to find the answer.
  • Loop Support – Quality customer support is a necessity for any well-run company. Loop Support helps growing companies provide great customer support, from answering tickets, collecting insights, and doing their research for a knowledge base on your customers.
  • Meetingbird – With a slogan like “Less Scheduling, More Doing”, how could you go wrong? Meetingbird is a helpful Chrome extension that integrates with your Google calendar and email for easier scheduling.
  • Thematic – Thematic lets you use customer feedback to make effective changes, with text analytics and visualizations from your NPS, CSAT, user research surveys and chat logs.

Upcall is no stranger to empowering your sales team, either! Our special YC offer includes ½ price on-boarding, and 10% off all plans. Try us out and generate leads for your industry here.

yc demo day make something people want motto
Credit: pahlkadot on flickr.

Q: And last but not least, any advice for those thinking of founding a YC-worthy startup one day?

A: It’s simpler than you think. Just solve a real problem. The main motto at YC is “Make Something People Want.”

And there you have it – Upcall’s own little sneak peek into the S2017 Alumni Demo Day!

Ready to start your own call campaign with Upcall? Start your demo now!


Upcall is also looking for more talented individuals to join our team. Check out our available positions here!

Get Paid on your Get Away – Earn Some Extra Cash Working from Your Hotel Room with Upcall. ⛱

What’s better than taking a vacation? Taking a vacation and still making money. 💰  With vacation season in full swing, everyone can appreciate having a little extra spending money in their pockets. Here’s how Upcall can help you out.


The great thing about web-based, work-from-home sites like Upcall is that you can log in and work from anywhere with a decent internet connection. As for equipment, it’s not much different than what you’d bring along on your trip anyway: your laptop, charger, and a wired headset (for best call quality).

Here are a few tips on how to make the most of your Upcaller experience from the comfort of your hotel room:

  • Many hotels provide free high speed internet, but when they don’t, it’s worth finding out the average price most hotels charge for Wi-Fi. While using your phone as a hotspot isn’t the best option, many wireless carriers offer a separate hotspot unit that can be added to your plan for a fair price each month. Your signal strength will thank you.
  • Upcall campaigns run all over the US – this means you can take advantage of different time zones. If you’re catching some rays in sunny Santa Monica, your 6am wake up is already 9am on the east coast. Traveling in France? Log in in the evening after sight seeing. You’ll be able to call people in the US because it’ll only be mid-afternoon there.
  • Request a PayPal debit card so you can have instant access to your funds.
  • Got that PayPal card? Things like renting a car or booking a hotel can have different policies on how they hold funds on your debit versus credit cards. Check ahead and make sure you have enough money available to cover those charges.
  • Upcallers are able to withdraw their available balance once in a 7-day calendar period, whichever day they like. It can even be different each week as long as it’s been at least 7 days since the last time you withdrew. Time your withdrawals so you have access to your earnings when you need them.
    • PROTIP: Cash out a few days before you head out so you’ve got spending money ahead of time. If you’re transferring money from PayPal to your bank, it can take a few days.
  • When it comes to saving, keep that money out of sight and out of mind. Use your Upcall earnings like a saving account and cash it out in one large amount before your vacation. That way you’ve got max available funds for soaking up the sun. ✈

earning money on vacation

Upcall and enjoy. 👌

Want to join in on the fun? Become an Upcaller today!

Upcall’s New Features — All Designed to Help You Communicate and Interact Even Better with Your Upcallers. 🙌

Great news! Connecting, interacting and training top notch Upcallers for your outbound calling campaign has never been easier!

Coordinating with a growing team of agents can be a challenge, especially when they are remote. At Upcall, we know that communication is the key to success. And now we’ve made it even easier:

Discover Upcall’s 5 new Features for this month!

1. Company pages are live

Now Upcallers can get all the information they need in one nifty centralized spot.

Fill out all the information you want to provide to your Upcallers directly on your company page. From there you can upload:

  • Specific files and other content
  • Links to specific websites or media you want to share
  • An FAQ for your Upcallers

2. Kickoff meeting

One of our biggest releases yet, with requests from both Campaigners and Upcallers left and right. We heard you loud and clear!

So how does it work?

  • In the pre-launch phase, while preparing the campaign, you can hold a kickoff meeting. It’s as easy as sending a link.
  • Upcallers will apply to your campaign. Simply approve them and they can join the kickoff meeting.
  • This kick off meeting is the perfect occasion to meet your Upcallers, explain your goals, and present your company campaign. Use this as a platform to re-assert your vision and give some advice on your upcoming campaign.


  • The kickoff meeting is a great tool to set your campaign up for success. Keep in mind that Upcallers who invest the time are more successful and more committed to campaigns.
  • To make your campaign that much more attractive to potential Upcallers, and ensure a great attendance rate, you have the option offer a tip to all Upcaller applicants who want to join your campaign and kick off meeting!

3. Organize a conference call

You can now organize a conference call with your online Upcallers.

Once your campaign is live, you can reach out to your Upcallers through our Conference Call feature. We recommend keeping your exchanges within the platform to more easily keep track of your correspondences, as well as for quality assurance and security purposes.

When should you check-in with your Upcallers?

  • We will send you notifications when our Upcallers make their first, 20th, and 50th call so you know when to check in and hear how they are communicating with your leads.
  • Our Upcallers love feedback! Pay them a compliment or offer constructive feedback and they’ll continue to improve and tailor their calls accordingly. If you want to reference a specific call where they were outstanding, leave feedback in that call record.
  • Use our chat feature — you can address Upcallers in a group, or chat to them 1:1.
  • Feedback works both ways too! If you want to hear your Upcaller’s experience with your leads first hand, organize a check-in conference call and you can discuss methods and objection handling tips.

Some best practices when conferencing with Upcallers:

  • Schedule a meeting in the chat with your Upcallers. It’s always best to offer about 3 different possible times to check in.
  • Check which Upcallers are logged in.
  • A call conference can only be launched by campaigners. You have all the control!
  • Keep in mind that even if your Upcallers are logged in, they might be in a call. Always check their availability, and give them a few minutes delay so they can catch up.

4. Notifications

Check out notifications and alerts on your Dashboard!

Now you can check your bell when:

  • A new goal has been reached
  • New Upcallers have applied
  • And much more …..

5. Email and chat alerts!

We added new email notifications each time your Campaign and Upcallers reach a new key goal. Woohoo!

How’s it work?

  • When you’re on your dashboard, keep an eye on your “chat” button.
  • Each time you receive a new message from an Upcaller, you’ll get a notification alert (see that little red button?)
  • Upcallers will receive the same alerts on their dashboard when you contact them through the platform. (Remember that they may not be able to reply in real time. Your Upcallers are working hard and could be on a call.)

The Upcall team is always happy to be improving your experience in every possible way. Check out these new features and see what they can do for you!

Are you ready to launch an outbound call campaign with Upcall?

How Do You Measure a Call Campaign’s Success?👌

At Upcall we’re always happy to bring on new and better features to elevate the outbound calling experience. See how you can take advantage of our new options to run a call campaign, and become a pro at managing one!

How you can measure and analyze your call campaign like a champ?

When it comes to outbound call campaigns, the key is understanding all the different levels of performance. You have to be focused on your final campaign goal, whether it’s the number of appointments set or the amount of insights collected. But that alone won’t get you there. Knowing that every step in between plays a significant role will ultimately help you reach your goals.

Upcall was created to empower professionals in marketing, sales and even those working independently to effortlessly run a call campaign. But accurately evaluating just how well a call campaign performs is a little less simple.

No worries — we’re here for you. Read on for some guidelines to help you become a pro at interpreting call campaign results.

We’ll split call campaign performances into 3 categories:

  1. Contact List performance
  2. Dialing performance
  3. Calls Quality performance

Contact list performance:

As we always say, a good campaign starts with a curated contact list. Think of it as an old-fashioned mailing campaign — if you don’t have the right mailing address, you won’t have much success.

On Upcall you can check contact list’s accuracy by comparing the number of valid contact numbers in the list to the total number of contacts you’ve uploaded.

A few tips to keep in mind to make sure your contacts are reachable:

  • Scrub your list to exclude DNC contacts.
  • Make sure that you meet compliance for calling cell phones. Some call centers use robocalls or auto dialing technologies that prevent you from calling a cell phone.

Good to know > Upcall doesn’t use robocalls or prerecorded messages (TCPA). We comply with all call recording practices and use click-to-dial technology. That means cell phones are no problem for us. 📞📲

Dialing performance

Once you have a reliable contact list, the next step is figuring out the best ways to actually have them pick up the phone.

Good to know > At Upcall we use the click-to-dial technology to call cell phones and deliver qualitative calls over quantitative calls. No robots here. 🤖 Your contact will never pick up and hear that annoying *beep beep* or delay before they hear the agent’s voice. It’s just like a real human calling another human, the way phones intended.

Below is a graph illustrating how Upcall reaches out to your contact. Think of “Answered” as the equivalent of an “Open Rate Ratio” in the emailing industry.

call campaign outcomes

A few important things that could have an impact here:

  • Calling Hours: Contacts are called during business hours from Monday to Friday, 8am — 6pm, in respect to authorized calling times. Calling all over the map? Good to know> At Upcall we have an automatic timezone detection and also exclude local holidays and curfews.
  • Saturdays: Depending on the contact you’re trying to reach, it might be worth calling them on a Saturday. Good to know> With Upcall, Saturdays are an option.
  • Caller ID: This is the phone number your contact will see on their phone. For some campaigns it might be beneficial to use your own phone number or a Local Caller ID (Good to know > With Upcall you have all the options > more info on that here).
  • Voicemail: This is a great option when you just need to deliver a message. If you prefer to reach out directly you can set up to 5 attempts, and even change the timing between dials.
  • And coming soon to a dashboard near you: Sequencing and the option to leave a voicemail after [x] amount of attempts!

Calls Quality performance:

All successful campaigns have one thing in common: a quality call. But what’s the secret to a quality call? Does it depend on the experience of the caller? Does it matter if the lead is hot or cold? Is the script actually the only thing that matters?

In reality, there’s no one variable entirely responsible for a successful call. An award-winning script that converts 90% of leads is worthless if you have the wrong phone number, after all. It’s a mix of everything. So, where to begin? Understanding your lead’s journey from prospect to happy customer is a great starting point.

If you know what touchpoints your customers need to convert, you can design a campaign (or set of campaigns) to help foster those prospects from one stage to the next. Knowing what needs to happen to move someone forward is a blueprint for the perfect script. This perfect script will indicate what kind of skills and experience you need in a caller.

Good to know> Upcall only works with the cream of the crop — the top 3% of agents who apply to our platform. We then match campaigners needs with our Upcallers’ skills and expertise.

Upcall provides several key indicators to help you directly measure call quality performance on your dashboard:

  • Goals reached and number of successful calls
  • The accuracy and adherence to the script
  • Voice recording and much features

Discover it all here.

Want to know more about smart outbound call campaigning, and want to launch your own? Follow the steps here at Upcall.

4 Tips for an Outbound Call Campaign that Converts

If you’re trying to expand your outreach to targets in healthcare, independent professionals, SMB, or even restaurants, Upcall gives your business all the tools you need for an outbound calling campaign that really takes off. 🚀 But that doesn’t mean everything is smooth sailing. If you’re not sure where to start, try these 4 nifty tips below to energize your call campaign!

Outbound Call Campaign Upcall Tips & Tricks

1. Start with the right contact list

All right, so that’s an easy one. But sometimes the most basic stuff is the easiest to overlook!

Did you know that the industry average for cold call conversions is 2%? The Upcall average is above 9% for lead generation and appointment setting. How could that be, you ask?

Every performing campaign starts with a qualified and curated contact list, and data may vary significantly from one industry to another. That’s why at Upcall we always start with a consultation to review and understand your specific use case, and make sure you start your campaign with the right contacts list! And of course, if you need contacts, we do have an integrated database of +250M US business and consumers!

Here are a few of our top database picks for outbound cold calling:

Yellow Pages: YP is great for targeting independent professionals, and it’s free!

DatabaseUSA: DatabaseUSA is excellent for SMB and offers triple verified data for accurate and up-to-date contacts.

RainKing: RainKing can provide your business with actionable sales intelligence, especially the key people who influence and drive purchase decisions.

ZoomInfo: ZoomInfo is a growth acceleration platform with millions of businesses and contact information to empower sales, marketing, and recruiting teams.

Dun & Bradstreet: Dun & Bradstreet, or D&B, offers commercial data to businesses on credit history, B2B sales and marketing, supply chain management, lead scoring and social identity matching, just to name a few.

DiscoverOrg: DiscoverOrg provides org charts, overviews of tools being used, purchasing power, and more. Best for enterprises.

InsideView: Another good one for enterprises, InsideView gleans insights and relationships from more than 40,000 sources of business information, contact data, online news, and social media and customer CRM data.

Clearbit: Clearbit serves as the data backbone for a number of tech businesses (such as Zendesk and AdRoll) and is focused on scouring the web and other data sources for publicly available information on people and businesses.

2. Make your first seconds memorable using a custom field

Upcallers only have a few seconds to hook your target and catch their attention! It’s crucial to give an outstanding intro to your business. By using custom fields you can write a kickass script and make any call one to remember. 👍

call campaign tips

Check out this link at Inc. for some great tips on creating a custom cold call script.

3. Use a Local Caller ID to see more prospects picking up calls

A Caller ID automatically matches your customer’s local area. No matter where your US callers are based, you can make it feel like they’re right at home.

Picture This:

Your office is in Los Angeles, but most of the prospects in your contact list are based all over the US. Typical.

Problem solved: with Local Presence caller ID, the number your prospects see on their screen matches the area code linked to their phone number. Awesome!

So even if your contact is from Farmington, IL, they see this:

Upcall Local Presence Caller ID

Local Presence Caller ID is for you if:

  • You have an audience living in various areas across the country
  • You have a unique script campaign regardless of your target’s localization
  • You want to give a local feel when you reach out to your contact
  • You care about your ROI and want to increase the pick-up rate

Running a successful business can be tough! Luckily, we at Upcall believe in the crowdsourcing economy, and that communicating with each other remains the most viable and efficient way to generate leads in this digital world.

Regardless of your industry, there are a ton of great ways to use all of Upcall’s resources to your advantage!

4. Accelerate your campaign and incentivize your Upcallers by offering commissions based on their success with customers.

Outbound Calling Campaign

No matter what the specific goals are for your campaign — get an email opt-in, collect a specific answer, enrich contacts details, or set appointments — you can make it a commission-based question with Upcall. You invest in what matters to you.

How do you choose the right commission rate for your campaign and industry?

  • Consider who you’re calling. Is it the business owner, a C-level executive, or a potential customer? Do people usually pick up the phone on the first try? Are there gate-keepers to persuade? The harder it is to reach someone, the higher the reward should be for a successful call.
  • Think about the industry you’re working in. Is it typical to get a sale 50% of the time, or do you have to reach out to several people before you get a potential bite? Compensating the Upcaller with a higher commission when they are calling in a tricky industry will encourage them to stick with your campaign longer.

Want to know more about Upcall? Click here. 

Happy 1st Birthday, Upcall! 🎉

Upcall is celebrating its 1 year anniversary! We are also proud to announce that we have just moved into our new San Francisco office, in front of the AT&T baseball park.

,Sam & Michael, Upcall Co-founders

​A note from Sam, our CEO, on how it all began:

“A year ago, my brother and I created Upcall with one goal: Make it easier for millions of companies to reach out to new leads and engage with existing customers. We knew we could do this by creating a unified platform with instant access to a network of qualified U.S. call professionals with great features to monitor results.”

“Having run several startups, I always felt the need to effectively scale my sales team. It normally took me weeks to find the right person, and call centers, aside from feeling stilted and impersonal, didn’t allow the flexibility and transparency needed to work. What I really wanted was a fully integrated, more local solution with my existing marketing and sales tools.

“I decided to team up with my brother, Michael, and the two of us set out to offer a smart and disruptive way to generate leads over the phone at scale.”

Professionals focused on customer experience and localization would be key players. Helping companies like you connect with prospects, leads, and clients was and is the goal. And that’s how Upcall became what it is today!

We care about local, genuine human interaction.
We believe that technology can improve the way a company interacts with its stakeholders — not replace it!

Upcall’s first year in a nutshell!

  • In one year, our team has more than quadrupled!
  • Upcall has provided crowdsourced outbound calling for over 200 clients from companies such as Coldwell Banker, Farmers Agents, Munchery, Buildzoom, Naturebox.
  • Our Upcaller community has been growing right alongside our clients’ needs. Everyday we continue to engage and select the cream of the crop to join our amazing group of US agents.
  • Our goal is to provide our Upcallers with both flexibility and a sustainable source of income befitting their experience

Take a look at what our Upcallers have to say about us:

“Best and only one of its kind. Dedicated and amazing staff!”

“Everything I got is even better than I expected”.

“The work is consistent and hours are flexible. You run your own schedule.”

Thank you, for a wonderful year. We want to help businesses reach the highest heights it can with our support.

And last but not least…what’s next at Upcall?

What we’ve achieved in just one year is only the tip of the iceberg for how we see the future. Upcall is a whole new world of generating leads at scale from your desktop!

As part of our commitment to providing you with the very best, we’re excited to share some of the new features coming to you soon: such as multi-user access, calendar integration, company pages, and API version 2.

And we’re still working on more exciting innovations and features down the road, like call transcription and keyword analysis, voicemail drop, an intelligent script building tool, and a native Salesforce and other CRM integration.

The future never looked so bright!

Are you ready for your next campaign?

10 Reasons Why Outbound Calls Remain The Most Effective Way To Reach Out To New Leads

Every year, people say that outbound calling is obsolete, and every year the experts are proved wrong. In reality, calling sales prospects remains a vital part of the marketing toolkit. Here are some of the main reasons why.

1. The Human Touch Will Always Be Important

In an age of email marketing, sales automation and sales funnels, hearing a human voice can still be the most powerful way to connect with potential customers. Emails can be easily discarded and Facebook ads struggle to gain attention, but people are instinctively engaged by the human voice.

2. High Quality Scripts Can Really Engage Customers

With the right script, any call team can be trained to deliver compelling sales pitches with the right content and tone of voice until they find the ideal approach.

3. Hiring remote Callers Can Save Money and Time

If you choose to go down the Upcall route, you can engage more leads and existing customers and scale faster. Also, by supplementing it with your existing marketing efforts, it will support those calls and increase conversion rate. These calls create plenty of conversions at a low cost and relatively little effort on your end.

4. Outbound Calling Develops Selling Skills

Team members delivering outbound calls can hone their communication skills, helping them to deliver person to person pitches and presentations when required.

5. You Can Link Outbound Calls to CRM Systems

Modern outbound calling systems like those provided by Upcall don’t just allow you to schedule and make calls. They can also link up with your client database, providing invaluable data for your management staff to analyze.

6. Targeted Call Outsourcing Delivers Results

When you filter your client database by industry, age, previous sales and other metrics, you can build up detailed profiles of any contact before your sales team makes a call. When you know your customers, you can craft highly targeted pitches that really work.

7. Email Marketing Is Hit and Miss

Email marketing methods often have low click through and conversion rates, and can often be a waste of resources. With outbound calling, you can achieve much more impressive results.

8. Employee Performance Is Easier to Monitor Than Ever

In the past, call centers suffered from variable employee performance. Some operators would be brilliant, mastering any script, asking the right questions and persuading contacts to make a purchase. Others would waffle or irritate customers, and it wasn’t easy to track who was doing what. With modern calling platforms such as Upcall, companies can easily see which callers are delivering and who needs a little extra training.

9. Team Work Creates Healthy Competition

Well managed remote teams, high morale levels and staff who want to provide the best possible service can be incredibly productive. Callers tend to compete with each other, but not in a damaging way. It’s just in the DNA of how call operations work.

10. Outbound Calling is Responsive

Finally, call outsourcing is much more personal than any online forms of marketing automation. Instructions can be easily changed to add warmth and information, while callers can ask and answer queries from customers — something you don’t get from other forms of marketing.

If you are struggling to connect with potential prospects, give outbound calling a try! It can be a low-cost, effective alternative to online marketing options, and it might well be ideal for your business.