Ryan with UpKeep car
Staff & Training

We’re mobile-first, so we turned our Teslas into UpKeepMobiles… Here’s why!

Ryan Chan

I’ve been reflecting a lot on why I am so UpKeep obsessed and the little ways it has become part of my everyday life. And I’ve realized it’s because of you. Each and every one of you in the maintenance community.

My passion pushed me to build the UpKeep product. But I slowly discovered my purpose comes from the people within the maintenance community. Little did I know how all of this would make an appearance at my wedding.. and ON OUR CARS (!!)

Planting UpKeep’s roots in a manufacturing plant

Working as a process engineer at a membrane manufacturing plant, my main responsibility was to think about constantly improving our manufacturing lines. 

However, there were huge challenges with how we went about our daily work. We had expensive desktop focused software we were using to keep track of our tasks and work orders.. but we were literally NEVER sitting at a desk! As an engineer, I was always out and about around the plant, hardly ever near a computer screen.

So at the end of the day, the technicians would have to trudge all the way back to up to their computers and input all the data from the day, which was super hard to remember at that point. And as you can imagine, a TON got miscommunicated.

So I thought, I wish I had an app that would speed up efficiencies and productivity of our entire team. But the problem was, it didn’t exist. So I enrolled in a community college class on weeknights and weekends and taught myself how to code.

Fueled by passion, frustration, and LOTS of coffee.. UpKeep was born.

UpKeep started in my bedroom - 3 computer monitors building the product

My bedroom, UpKeep’s first office! I spent about 12 hours a day writing code and another 2 hours a day responding to customers through our support channel.

My wife, Shelley, also played a huge role in UpKeep’s growth!

My wife shelley played a huge part in UpKeep's growth

UpKeep’s huge growth wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for my wife, Shelley. When I was working and learning how to grow on this passion of mine for improving maintenance through technology, Shelley was incredibly supportive and was UpKeep’s second user (my mom was the first)! Even as a busy medical student, Shelley was a huge advocate for UpKeep, sharing the product with all of her friends and network.

Another funny story was when we essentially did a parent swap. I had just left my job, so we decided to live with my mom in greater Los Angeles to save money, while she started medical school at UCLA. I got into Y Combinator, which is based in the Bay Area, so I had to move back up North for a few months. Again, I decided to live with my wife’s parents. So then, my wife was living with my mom in LA and I was living with her parents in the Bay Area. Parent swap!

UpKeep became more than a product – it became a door into a community.

It all started with a support bubble on UpKeep and evolved into a transformative community. From our very beginnings, I would interact with pretty much every single one of our customers who wanted to talk to me about how to improve the application. In the first 12 months of UpKeep’s launch, I pretty much knew every single user’s first name, last name, what they liked about UpKeep, what they wanted to change about UpKeep, you name it.

My passion pushed me to build the UpKeep product, but I slowly discovered my purpose comes from the people within the maintenance community.

Thom Knudsen was one of the very first people who welcomed me into the maintenance community. He works as a Maintenance Coordinator for American Blending and Filling, a beverages and consumables manufacturing company in Illinois. Thom taught me that maintenance is a way to spread joy into the world, by making things people rely on and fix things in ways that people can trust. Thom once told me:

“We fill bottles and I’ve never felt closer to the community than I do now, because the bottles that I support and help make end up at stores right next door to me.”

Caption: Thom, his fiancé, and their four daughters.

Thom, his fiancé, and their four daughters.

Someone else who really inspired me early on was Eric Wright from Pine Ridge Camps in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Eric is responsible for ensuring campers of all abilities, as well as visiting guests, have safe and enriching experiences at camp. If the power goes out, Eric is the first one to rush over to the generator. Without his help, the water at camp wouldn’t be clean, the bunks wouldn’t have lights on, and camp would not be able to operate. Eric said to me once,

Even though I’m behind the scenes, the work I do helps the kids who come here have an awesome camp experience in the summer.”

I was so amazed to learn about how he took the initiative to integrate UpKeep’s QR codes for the entire staff at his camp. So whenever they’re out of supplies, Eric’s the first to make change happen.


Eric proudly displays his UpKeep mug at his campsite in Michigan!

It’s people like Thom and Eric who make me SO excited and SO proud to share UpKeep with the world.

I wore an UpKeep shirt… to my own wedding

Ryan c

It’s true!! I rocked an UpKeep shirt at my wedding. But I made sure that it matched my suit. For anyone out there planning a wedding, I will send you an UpKeep shirt for free. It goes great with mahogany 🙂

UpKeep’s been a huge part of our lives – past, present, and our future! And it gets better.

Shelley even mentioned UpKeep in her wedding VOWS! Here’s what she said:

“Dear Ryan Chan,

Founder and CEO of UpKeep, best app in the world. You should all download it on the Apple Store. I am so so so excited to be marrying you. To reminisce on a few of our awesome times together… 

And lastly, seeing the unbelievable transformation of UpKeep. From its first version coded by you in our apartment in Westwood, to where it is today. And shoutout to the awesome UpKeep crew here today.”

Caption: I had NO idea Shelley was going to mention UpKeep in the very beginning of her wedding vows!!

I had NO idea Shelley was going to mention UpKeep in the very beginning of her wedding vows!!

I especially knew in that moment, I was marrying the right person.

Can you spot the UpKeep stickers? Each table at my wedding had UpKeep stickers, as part of the centerpieces!

We now even have matching UpKeep cars!!!

UpKeep and its community has played such a huge role in our lives. We are SO proud of the people who are behind the scenes every single day sustaining and supporting our world.

It was super important to us that we celebrate and appreciate all the people behind the maintenance engine … naturally our own engines had to match.

UpKeep empowers maintenance teams to revolutionize their businesses.

UpKeep empowers maintenance teams to revolutionize their businesses.

If you see a bright red Tesla hood on the highways of Los Angeles, decked out with our gear, and shiny UpKeep license plates and frames, you’ll know it’s us!

We’re in this for the long run – in sickness and in health, ‘till downtime do us part.



UpKeep team is amazed to see Ryan's UpKeepmobile!


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