Uptake Reviews | Glassdoor

Uptake Reviews

Updated January 5, 2019
115 reviews

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3.1
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Brad Keywell
90 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "There are smart people with incredible track records everywhere you look in the company" (in 16 reviews)

  • "Amazing perks (snacks, drinks, unlimited PTO, etc" (in 16 reviews)

Cons
  • "I was also told there was good work/life balance, but I usually see people working during the evening and on weekends" (in 5 reviews)

  • "Upper management is being replaced by GE Digital execs" (in 8 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "Great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Business Analyst in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Business Analyst in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Uptake (Less than a year)

    Pros

    A lot of responsibility given to every employee—a very "GSD" mentality. A great business idea and model. As an employee who does a lot of market research, it's clear that Uptake's products and services are far beyond what other companies are trying to do. Uptake really did create this space.

    Cons

    Like any startup company, Uptake is trying to find its way—which can make for a bumpy ride, at times. (It's also part of the fun!) Luckily, it has a strong leadership team charting the path forward.

    Advice to Management

    As the company grows and matures, I think it will be really important that we preserve the GREAT start-up culture that got us here to begin with!


  2. Helpful (8)

    "A start-up still trying to get over the hump"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Product
    Former Employee - Product
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Uptake full-time

    Pros

    The level of talent at Uptake is great. There are smart people with incredible track records everywhere you look in the company. Even though many really talented people have left in the last year, there are still great people around.

    The new leadership team is committed to change. Executives brought in during the last year, from GE and elsewhere, are focused on improving the culture. While the new executives can be polarizing, they’re genuinely trying to take steps to move the company in the right direction.

    As others have pointed out, benefits like free snacks, a lunch subsidy, and unlimited time off are also nice. These benefits are almost always found at tech companies nowadays, though.

    Cons

    Culture is not very collaborative and morale is low. Teams operate in their own silos and a significant amount of time is spent playing politics rather than building. Waves of recent layoffs and poor transparency around those layoffs have led to poor morale and people fear for their jobs. The new team is trying to improve this, but they have a ways to go - this is deeply embedded at Uptake.

    Constantly changing, unnecessarily complex strategy has put Uptake significantly behind the competition. Although the product roadmap has been clarified, we’ve been constantly asked to create new product features and change we’re building based on new strategies (that always end up changing).

    This has also led to sales teams having difficulty finding and singing on many new customers, while we see competitors sign big names.

    There’s no rhyme or reason to promotions or explanation of how to build a career at Uptake. Teams often excuse this away by saying Uptake is a start-up. Unfortunately, with more than 500 people, there’s no excuse for not being able to explain what it takes to get promoted.

  3. Helpful (8)

    "Uptake is a boys club"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    data science is good

    Cons

    it's a boys club. The company obviously does not ask any behavioral questions during the interview

    Advice to Management

    get a hierarchy. Hire actual senior software engineers instead of engineers that just started working there a few months ago.


  4. Helpful (3)

    "Watch out"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Up and coming company trying to work it out.

    Cons

    Lots of ex-Jasper Cisco execs on board. Buyer beware of the environment of micromanagement and manipulation these folks will bring over to Uptake with them. Independent thought is not valued. The new execs loathe the 'malcontents' who voice differing opinions than their own.


  5. Helpful (22)

    "Working Here was a Mistake"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Uptake full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    -Great, super smart, interesting, and engaged people. For real.
    -Office space is pretty nice, 2nd floor lounge is awesome, snacks are plentiful.
    -Lots of opportunity to access and use different tech or software.
    -Decent pay/benefits. Good work/life balance. Commitment to philanthropy.
    -Data science = good.

    Cons

    Before joining Uptake, a former colleague expressed his concerns when I asked about the company. He did not recommend it. I should have listened.

    -Poor leadership and poor management...Simply put...blinded by ambition, out-of-touch with the business, and alienating. The other reviews have said enough already.
    -Politics are bad. Like, really bad.
    -Little mentoring or support from managers.
    -Regular layoffs. Seemingly constant turnover, from the executive level on down.
    -Strategy is always changing and is seemingly and unnecessarily complex. Walk before you run!
    -This was a setback in my career, disappointing in what seemed like a truly high potential opportunity. I did not develop as much professionally as hoped, and I believe a lot of that has to do with how Uptake is run.

    Advice to Management

    -Listen to your employees. They have a lot of great ideas. Act on them.
    -Focus on reducing politics, cronyism, and drama. It's a problem.
    -Focus on engineering a good consistent product before selling it.


  6. Helpful (8)

    "Sinking ship, too risky"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Uptake (More than a year)

    Pros

    Snacks Latest tech Unlimited PTO

    Cons

    Uptake used to be a great place to work prior to the re-org and the re-re-orgs. The senior executives from GE CA don’t seem to have a clue on how to organize the products and what to prioritize. With the recent lawsuit from GE on poaching IP and employees, it’s a highly risky place to be employed at. All the employees who help built Uptake are either leaving to other companies or let go.

    Advice to Management

    Good luck


  7. Helpful (4)

    "Fantastic experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Data Scientist in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Data Scientist in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Uptake full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    I loved my two years and Uptake. I left only because there was no longer an opportunity to use my primary specialization there.

    The company has floundered to some degree in terms of overall strategy and product direction. However, when Ganesh Bell became president in mid-2018 he put in place a product vision that is clear and to my mind compelling. The platform offerings in particular are not yet where they need to be, but multiple customers told us that our machine learning capabilities were far ahead of the rest of the market.

    I was a member of the data science team, which is well-run and stacked with talent. The software engineers with whom I interacted were also generally excellent.

    Uptake provides a lot of the perks you associate with young tech companies, such as top-notch equipment, free snacks, and team outings.

    Cons

    Uptake grew extraordinarily quickly before its product strategy was mature. As a result, it can be challenging as an Uptake employee to keep up with where the company is headed and how one's work fits in. The new leaders that were added in 2018 put in place what seemed to be a better long-term strategy at the time that I left.

    Some perks were cut in 2018, which while not a big deal in itself I think hurt employee morale more than Uptake's leaders realized. These changes together with strategic layoffs and strategy shifts contributed to an increasingly nervous atmosphere as the year went on.

    Advice to Management

    - Stay generous to your employees.
    - Keep the cool, fun tech company atmosphere.
    - Aim for stability in overall product strategy.
    - Keep wracking up wins and celebrating them.
    - In general, work to assuage employee nervousness.

  8. "Awesome people, Lots of learning, Great biz outlook"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Uptake full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - unlimited market opportunity... hear over and over again from customers, partners, analysts that no one is building what we're building with industrial data... there is optimism that this will lead to breakout 2019 year
    - unlimited PTO and great benefits particularly for families
    - great people... just an awesome community of folks who care passionately about what they do, learning, solving hard problems. Ive made lots of great friends here.
    - I like the new leadership....its probably too big of a leadership group at the top at this point but hopefully that will right itself over time..
    - I have learned more here than in any other job. Lots of opportunities to be creative and build
    - if uncertainty and lots of hard work/intensity isn't for you... (AKA if a startup isn't for you) then it's probably not going to be a good fit. some people thrive here, others don't!

    Cons

    - there has been lots of change to the business, sometimes without a moment to catch a breath (although this year the product strategy has clarified itself)
    - we've had some good people leave because there wasn't a clear career path for advancement
    - some of the culture from the earlier years hasn't carried over well and that's too bad

    Advice to Management

    Be people-focused and empathetic. Strategy and potential alone won't make the business win, people will. Also get clear on the GTM strategy (new CRO and CMO will help here I am hoping)


  9. Helpful (21)

    "Does not operate realistically"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Uptake full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    A large number of intelligent people. The data science group is exceptional, with some very insightful data models.

    Uptake has deployed numerous technologies that are the best/heaviest in their class. The engineers I worked with were the best I have met in Chicago.

    Cons

    The hype train of Uptake is massive, and generates more ideas than can ever be accomplished with little self awareness.

    The culture from the top gets very frustrated by people saying no or attempting to bring in realistic expectations. This has meant the more aggressive leaders are fired and the less aggressive leaders are sidelined or ignored, leaving mostly yes-men or the uninformed in middle management. (For example, if a team consistently estimates and completes 7-10 story points per sprint, failing to magically complete 90 points on a month deadline should not be unexpected.)

    The marketing hype leads to demoing wireframes, horrible hacks and mockups as real working code. And after the layoff of the entire QA department, when technical failures tanked multiple engagements, sales and upper management wrote it off as a "bad fit" and repeatedly failed to recognize the poor strategic decisions that lead to the problems.

    The brain drain is in full force. Whoever joins will need to pick up the pieces of a company that used to be 3x the size.

    Advice to Management

    Understand the complexity of the heavy systems you've built, and the tasks you've given. Listen to the technical experts you've hired, who you will not find invited to your normal meetings.

    No one takes you seriously when you direct PR talking points towards the very engineers you expect to make good on those insane promises.

    You could accomplish what you intend, it will just take you 10x the time you want, but only after you start recognizing the product and operational failures. The clients definitely do.


  10. "Software Engineer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Uptake full-time

    Pros

    A very dynamic environment. Alway in a phase of trying new things.

    Cons

    Changes happen all the time.

    Advice to Management

    Be more transparent.