Friday, October 5, 2007
Interview with Jason Nazar, docstoc
Jason Nazar is CEO of Beverly Hills-based docstoc.com (www.docstoc.com), a new online service focused around sharing professional documents. The firm recently raised a small round of funding, pitched at TechCrunch40, and is getting ready to release its services to the public. We caught up with Jason to hear more about the company. Ben Kuo spoke with Jason.
What is Docstoc?
Jason Nazar: docstoc is YouTube for professional documents. It's an online community where you can find and share legal, business, technical, or educational documents for free. It's user generated content, and users just upload professional documents they have, and any other user can preview and download those documents for free. So, if you ever need a legal document or business document, you can get it there.
So the idea is those documents are public to the world?
Jason Nazar: You can mark documents private if you want, and use the service for your own storage, but the main idea is that they will be there for everybody.
Who do you see using the service?
Jason Nazar: I think it's for all professionals, and those who need professional content, from entrepreneurs, to attorneys, to service based professionals, grad students, and teachers--anyone who needs professional content. Say, if you need a document--a will, or a consulting agreement, you can download and look at it. If nothing less, it will make you a more informed consumer of legal and professional documents. It's a really valuable resource for people who are starting companies, startups, professionals who need documents to work on a project, people looking for powerpoints or a sample income statement or balance sheet. It's for everyone in the small business category who needs access to professional materials.
Where'd the idea come from, and how did the company come about?
Jason Nazar: I was doing my JD-MBA at Pepperdine, and had both a legal and business background. One thing I realized is that no lawyer or professional ever starts from scratch. They use templates which they work from. If you're in the know, and connected, you can email friends or professionals you know and they will send you want they have. But, you have to have those connections, and it's a timely process, where you are at the mercy of someone else's schedule. I wanted a way to allow people to share professional content in one centralized place, with a vast quantity of high quality, professional documents all for free. The other thing is, I was a partner in a venture consulting firm in Southern California, Venature. I would spend about an hour and a half every day on Google looking for agreements for my clients. I thought that there had to be a better way. Why wasn't there something like Flickr or YouTube for documents? That's what we've created. It's received a really, really positive reception. We have thousands of registered users, and documents. Most people like the idea of getting high quality documents for free.
That's an interesting point--with people uploading documents to the site, how do you ensure high quality documents? For example, I swear I've seen dozens of different NDAs, all different.
Jason Nazar: There are two ways to ensure you get the highest quality documents. First and foremost, we rely on the community. You can see which documents are most viewed, which ones are highest rated on a scale of 1-10 on how many votes, and which ones are downloaded most often. You can also see which ones are commented on the most. Using your example, if you go to Google and find 20 NDAs, how do you really know which one is good if you haven't seen one before? At docstoc you can rely on the user community--you can see that the document was viewed 1000 times, that there were 500 downloads, and that it's rated 9.5 out of 10 votes, and that it has 30 comments. You can also read those comments. The community is helping tell you for each search, which is the most valuable. In addition to that, we have an editorial staff--which I head up right now--and we do feature documents. For any category, you can see which ones are featured as high quality content.
How far along is the service right now, and can people get to it?
Jason Nazar: We're in private beta. Socaltech readers who would like to check out the site, can go to http://www.docstoc.com/user/register.aspx and use the invitation ID socaltech to get into the site. We're hoping to open up to the general public this month.
How is the company backed?
Jason Nazar: The company was backed by Scott Walchek, of Integrity Partners; Brett Brewer, a co-founder of Intermix; Robin Richards, founding president of MP3.com; and Rick Smith, formerly of Palomar Ventures.
What's the revenue model behind the site?
Jason Nazar: It will all be free. We're using the LinkedIn model--create a thriving community, and use the ad model and premium services. There will always be quality, free content for all users, that is never going to change.
Finally, who else is on your team?
Jason Nazar: Alon Schwartz is our CTO. He was the head of technology at a LA-based startup for many years, was most recently at MySpace, where he headed up product development for one of their divisions.
Thanks for the interview!