Company Highlight: UpShift


With the recent announcement of the Brandery class of 2016, we are excited to feature each company in its own blog post! Each day we’ll post a new blog highlighting one of the startups in this year’s cohort. As we are officially two months out from Demo Day, get to know the names and faces behind the company!

Today we’ll be highlighting UpShift, formerly known as Pinch!

Pictured (left to right): CEO, Steve Anevski; COO, Alex Pantich and not pictured CTO, Nikola Jordanovski.

What does your company do?

We are attacking one of the biggest problems in our economy and the biggest headache I’ve had over the years as a bar & restaurant owner – the constant struggle of dealing with variable labor demand and availability. Our vision is to make work as easy and reliable as flipping on a light switch. We’ve built a digital platform that allows people to work when they want, where they want and for who they want and businesses to find qualified short term workers on demand. This platform will allow for a revolutionary amount of liquidity in the labor market that we believe will disrupt many industries in a positive fashion.

What attracted you to apply to the Brandery?

It’s access to anyone and everyone you need to make a company a success. Also, it’s team and support staff…the people here are world class.

How did the team come together?

I met my co-founder Alex through a former intern of mine who was working for Alex as a sales rep in his IT company. Alex built a website for me for another one of my businesses and I came away impressed with his ability, execution and professionalism. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was Alex’s third client. He’s since scaled that business. After that initial encounter, we would get together periodically and talk about different business ideas and when I put forward the idea of Upshift…well, the rest is history! We have a mutual respect for each other.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned at the Brandery, so far?

The power of a great Brand. Before the Brandery, I just assumed great Brands were the product of focus groups, research and a magic formula one learns in business school. Now I realize that the best brands are a product of great stories coupled with a flawlessly executed promise to consumers.

What do you like the most about Cincinnati?

How you can walk one block and run into 16 people you know and another 22 you recognize. This is especially true on the West Side of town where I grew up.

Did you have an “aha!” moment?

I have been running bars and restaurants for the past 10 years. My biggest headache and frustration over that time frame was staffing and dealing with workers. On the flip side, I constantly heard how my employees couldn’t find enough work or how other bars weren’t willing to hire for only one or two shifts. Then one night I was sitting on my sofa reading about the growth of the “gig economy”-Uber, Airbnb, etc-and I thought to myself, “why hasn’t anyone made an Uber for hourly workers?” It stuck in my head and I just couldn’t let the idea down; someone had to do this. So here we are.

The pictures used in this blog post were captured by Zackariah Cole, visit his website at http://www.zackariahcole.com/.