Upside: Finding product-market fit and then scaling process and product through rapid growth

Upside is a two-sided marketplace that drives proven, incremental profit to businesses, while increasing users' purchasing power on everyday items; it achieved a valuation of $1.5B in its latest funding round. I was the first PM hire, helping to grow the company from 200k to 3.5MM MAUs and expand from our initial vertical of gas to grocery and restaurant. I wore many hats during my time at Upside – merchant product lead for a B2B SaaS solution; growth lead, devising growth strategy and coordinating product and marketing growth initiatives; and consumer app lead, scaling our mobile product to increase new user conversion, existing user retention and lifetime value.

Case: Rearchitecting our MVP product as we hit scale

As a part of this hypergrowth journey, we eventually were running into significant tech debt and UX limitations within our initial MVP app, and core KPIs were showing it – 10+ second load times, spiking user churn, and a lack of engagement with new vertical offerings. I decided to embark on a data-driven, experimental approach to rethink the core consumer app experience.

The approach

We delivered an overhaul of the core app discovery experience, including:

  • Implementation of a new brand and design system
  • Significant load time performance improvements
  • Machine-learning offer recommendation rankings, powered by AWS Personalize
  • New map UX with richer detail and smoother interaction patterns

The team

This project involved all of the consumer product development teams – our core mobile app developers, UX designers, user researchers, data scientists, project managers and other app product managers.

My role

As the product lead for mobile apps, I led this initiative with buy-in and guidance from our leadership team. I conducted the initial opportunity analysis, prioritizing functionality according to user and business impact; brought in our user research team to conduct focused user interviews and data analysis; partnered with UX on developing a long-term vision for the evolution of our app experience; guided our engineering architecture teams in determining the best technical approach; prioritized functionality in a phased approach that ensured regular delivery of user value; developed an experimentation and rollout plan to ensure data-backed progress while providing fallback opportunities; and partnered with cross-functional teams – including Support, Marketing, and Engineering – to ensure a successful launch.

Organizational lessons

As a complete rarchitecture of our app, I was wary that this project would turn into the classic time sink without showing value. I therefore made sure that we were delivering functionality in a phased manner, allowing us to learn and iterate as we went.

Try it yourself! Download the Upside app on iOS or Android

Above: The legacy app experience
Below: New app experience, showcasing design system and richer map