Ep 3: Clarence Bethea – Founder of Upsie

Founded in 2015 by Clarence Bethea, Upsie is an insurance technology company changing the way device warranties are purchased, managed and serviced. In this episode, Clarence tells the story of how he learned about his opportunity in the marketplace, how he got the first version of his product made and what it was like to raise money via TechStars. Clarence also explains the thing that keeps him motivated and excited everyday.

Thanks for listening and I hope you enjoy my interview with Clarence.

In this episode we explore:

  • The percentage of people who purchase a warranty from Upsie before they purchase the device [03:58]
  • When people purchase warranties (before or after purchase) [4:43]
  • How people sign up for Upsie [05:46]
  • How Upsie gives transparency into what is inside the warranty [06:31]
  • Who supplies the warranties for Upsie [07:20]
  • Upsie’s relationship with the big box retailers [08:26]
  • “If you don’t want Upsie around, do what is right for the customer.” [09:14]
  • How Clarence once ran to a Sprint store to buy a $900 phone for a customer to solve an issue
  • Upsie’s competitors [10:08] “We are the biggest threat (the warranty industry) has had since Square Trade in early 2000s.” [11:23]
  • Importance of the human element in building Upsie
  • How Clarence builds the Brand Identity
  • How the team is constructed [15:05]
  • How Clarence came up with the business idea [17:00]
  • His mentorship with the former Best Buy CEO [17:27]
  • How Clarence started the company with the help of a branding and design agency in exchange for equity [21:19]
  • How Upsie gain their first customers [23:43]
  • Early mistakes [25:23]
  • Sales funnel [32:50]
  • Techstars [36:51]
  • The equity raise that was done after TechStars [40:09]
  • The key metrics Clarence is watching [44: 51]
  • “We are a warranty company, but we are basically a data company.” Upsie has some information that every phone company could use [47:00]
  • What scares Clarence [50:06]
  • The call from the customer that made him cry [55:14]

Upsie’s  Website