Uptake Reviews | Glassdoor.ca

Uptake Reviews

Updated Dec 7, 2019

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2.8
42%
Recommend to a Friend
45%
Approve of CEO
Uptake CEO Brad Keywell  (no image)
Brad Keywell
110 Ratings
Pros
  • "I was on the data science team during the majority of my time at Uptake, so my review will largely be focused around my experiences as a data scientist(in 19 reviews)

  • "Surrounded by very smart people(in 18 reviews)

Cons
  • "I think the main issue with uptake is upper management(in 10 reviews)

  • "Yes, it is very fast paced and not everything is black and white(in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
  1. "Nice Place to Work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Software QA Engineer 
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Uptake full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    good company for data science aspirants

    Cons

    Nothing I can point out specifically

    Uptake2019-06-20
  2. Helpful (5)

    "Avoid this place"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Mississauga, ON
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Uptake full-time

    Pros

    Close to home. Lots of work and opportunities for growth.

    Cons

    Managers work independently and can harass / gaslight junior staff members without any repercussions to their career.

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of anyone displaying hostility in the office, using aggressive or threatening language and extracting personal favours from others. Make this a safe place for all people to work.

    Uptake2019-12-07
  3. Helpful (4)

    "Culture of uncertainty"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Uptake full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Nice benefits, salary, people and atmosphere

    Cons

    There is constantly reorganization, uncertainty about whether you will have a job tomorrow

    Uptake2019-07-25
  4. Helpful (5)

    "Confused, unsustainable and highly toxic"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Business Development Manager in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Uptake full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Talented people and market potential

    Cons

    No stability, working product or strategic focus

    Advice to Management

    Peel it back to what works and stick to a plan - Uptake is a strong Data Science consultancy, but needs a proven growth CEO, who must reset the business plan, before the market or shareholders do it for you. Also, learn to partner to scale and be honest about product maturity.

    Uptake2019-12-04
  5. Helpful (10)

    "Rocketship that ran out of fuel"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Uptake full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    cool office space, snacks, lots of WFH and vacation time

    Cons

    Job security, Removing company perks to save costs, very hectic, company size is shrinking quickly

    Uptake2019-11-21
  6. "Start-up"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Account Manager 
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Uptake full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Work/Life balance with engaging/intellectual co-workers in a fun environment

    Cons

    Constant Restructure can be frustrating when aligning to business goals that change so frequently

    Uptake2019-11-19
  7. Helpful (9)

    "It's complicated"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Data Scientist in Chicago, IL
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Uptake full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Summary: Primarily AMAZING people, but also lots of other good things. I'm genuinely thankful that I had the opportunity to work here for several years. - Incredibly talented, hard-working people -- to some extent throughout the company but especially so on the Data Science team. Until the day I left, I felt like I constantly learned so much from my coworkers. In my opinion, this is one of the best data science... teams in Chicago. Data Science had a really collaborative and open team culture. As of the time of this review, there are still awesome people remaining despite significant attrition in the last year and a half. - Interesting and fun domain. You get to work with data from physical industrial machines, and solve problems like modeling early detection of failures. It feels rewarding when models and products work well, and there is positive feedback from customers about real, physical problems that are averted or solved. - Generally great work-life balance. This is not uniformly true all of the time -- once in a while, some customer engagements involve crunching on nights and weekends -- but it's very rare. Most people most of the time work reasonable 9-to-5-ish hours. Flexible about when you show up to work as long as you get your work done and make it to your meetings during business hours. PTO is unlimited, which at some companies can be a trap, but Data Science had guidelines for a generous 4 weeks per year that people were not afraid to take. - Some managers in Data Science are awesome, and the rest are at least pretty decent. Overall, Data Science has been notably well-managed over the years, though the head of DS left earlier in the summer. Most senior managers are at least so far still around and the department has done fine since then, but it's harder to speak with as much confidence about the future. - Cushy office. Lots of comfortable, open sitting areas; lots of all sorts of free snacks (even avocados and hard-boiled eggs); subsidized coffee bar ($2 for anything). - Decently competitive pay for Chicago tech, and good benefits with health insurance, parental leave, budget for learning and professional development, etc.

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    Cons

    Similar to what a previous reviewer said, it's not obvious whether my star rating should reflect my personal experience over the last several years (mostly 5 stars), the state of the company recently when I left (probably 1 star), or some forward guidance for future potential employees based on my best guess of the future. I chose this third approach, discussed below, for 3 stars. The company has felt like it... was crashing and burning this year (see cons below), but I do think there is a good chance that Uptake can eventually recover in some form or another, even if as a smaller company. I believe there is genuine value for what Uptake is doing, and Uptake has made it along far enough that it probably won't just shut down and disappear. There have been successes and genuinely impressed customers over the years, and there are still very talented people left despite attrition. It will probably get worse for some months before the chance to get better, but I still think it can get better. I disagree with a previous reviewer that it's "Too late to join now". People who join newly in the future, especially in Data Science, can potentially still grow and learn a lot, and get to work on a cool problems that feel practically impactful. "Buy low, sell high" may apply here. It's going to feel really bad for any long-time employees that rode the rocket up to 900 employees and then has been experiencing the crash down, but new folks who get in at the bottom may benefit a lot on the way back up if things get better. Cons as of this review: - Executive leadership of the company has completely lost the trust of frontline employees this year. They have been opaque about decision-making, the state of the company, and the direction, especially in regards to some of below points. - Bad strategic decision-making over the last 1.5 years, especially in deciding the what and how of committing resources. As other reviewers have noted, Uptake consistently tried to bite off too much, made enough progress to hit some milestone in each of many things, but then eventually decide to dial back or abandon those initiatives later because we were spread too thin. This led to half-finished, disappointing products despite promising starts. - Constant reorganizations and associated strategy changes have happened every few months since the beginning of 2018. It was fine at first, but it's at the point where it's starting cycling between things that were already tried, and it's not clear what is going to be different this time. - Sustained trickles of layoffs over the last year, happening silently without much acknowledgement from leadership. The layoffs can feel especially baffling when people are let go from teams where resources are tight from previous layoffs or attrition. - With the constant layoffs and reorgs and strategy changes, there is a high level of uncertainty and anxiety. People feel like they have no idea what's going to happen 6 weeks in future. - Really high attrition this year, especially of senior technical talent. Executive leadership doesn't really seem like it respects employees' feelings about the state of the company -- the CEO more or less said in an all-hands about this topic that people who don't believe in Uptake are welcome to leave. - Lacking management training and support. (Though there were still some great managers in spite of this.) - Really bad diversity. Uptake has notably low representation by women and underrepresented minorities compared to some of the other tech companies in Chicago.

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    Advice to Management

    - Be transparent and honest with all employees. Have frank conversations about past mistakes. - Realize that even people who believe in Uptake's mission have limits in dealing with the anxiety and toxicity of constant uncertainty and fear. - Actually focus on something and commit to building it for the long haul. Stop going in too many directions. - Brad should pay more attention to the company and really... understand what's going on, instead of going out and signing up for more deals to build more snowflake software that we can't reuse or make into a product. - Leadership needs to more closely understand the technology and its problems and risk areas -- talk to line managers and frontline employees.

    Show More
    Uptake2019-10-23
  8. Helpful (9)

    "A great opportunity blown by bad terrible management"

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

    I worked at Uptake full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Snacks Many good coworkers (unfortunately most of them have left). Some good managers in Engineering / Data Science

    Cons

    Little direction. Whiplash changes on a regular basis made it difficult to plan or focus. Some of the worst upper management I've had the experience of working with (GE executives ran the company into the ground for 18 months, then left). Not a performance based culture. Work as hard or as little as you want, it won't matter when layoffs come around. Sunday thoughts.

    Advice to Management

    Humility is key. Take accountability for the direction the company has moved in. This might help you to regain some shred of trust from the employees who remain.

    Uptake2019-11-02
  9. Helpful (5)

    "Do a Linkedin Search for Uptake Employee numbers"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Uptake full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    If you want to try and save a sinking ship, all the best to you.

    Cons

    People who made Uptake are not at Uptake anymore, you can imagine the impact. Steady graph of things going down the drain for quite a while now, Linkedin Insights on Uptake will tell you that.

    Advice to Management

    Promotions of people to Management who have 0 real world experience is directly related to the current downfall.

    Uptake2019-11-27
  10. Helpful (3)

    "Great opportunity to tackle Challenging problems"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Data Scientist in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Uptake full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    - Opportunity to work with some of the most creative and talented data scientists in the business. - Interesting challenges and great value in delivering data science solutions for process and performance improvement of industrial IOT. - Flexibility in work timings, great office space, healthy free snack options and ton of learning opportunities

    Cons

    Attrition of talented people is a source of constant worry.

    Advice to Management

    Please take time to address the team regarding the heavy attrition and analyze the comments leading to the growing negative Glassdoor reviews.

    Uptake2019-10-02
Found 149 reviews