This article was published on November 10, 2012

Docstoc launches video program for its 30m users, may raise funds for acquisitions, but not service

Docstoc launches video program for its 30m users, may raise funds for acquisitions, but not service
Ken Yeung
Story by

Ken Yeung

Ken Yeung is a reporter for The Next Web based in San Francisco, CA. He carries around a big camera & likes to write about tech, startup Ken Yeung is a reporter for The Next Web based in San Francisco, CA. He carries around a big camera & likes to write about tech, startups, parties, and interesting people. Follow him on Twitter, on Facebook, and Google+.

Docstoc, the document-sharing service that focuses on helping small business operators start and grow their companies, has a new video course designed to help offer advice and education for entrepreneurs.

With over 30 million registered users and 25 million documents shared on the site, the company has been focused on becoming the toolkit for businesses and entrepreneurs. Its CEO, Jason Nazar spoke today at a Bloomberg luncheon where he gave some insights into its new program and the future of the company.

Started six years ago on stage at the TechCrunch40 conference in San Francisco, Docstoc originally was focused on creating a service similar to that of SlideShare and Scribd where it was a place for user-generated content to be hosted and shared around the web. But while it accepted content across all categories, Nazar said that it was always focused on professional content. Today, the company has grown, with 20 million monthly unique visitors (with just 30-35% of that traffic in the US) and 100,000 paid subscribers over time, of which 30% are still active today. It also says it’s been profitable over the past two years.

In furtherance of its mission, Docstoc’s video course is an effort to connect small business operators with subject matter experts so that they can gleam insights on various topics that relate to running a business (e.g., how to hire a lawyer, legal documents, etc.). It is a series where Docstoc brings in thought leaders to talk about a specific topic relating to running a business and is broadcast on Many of these thought-leaders are from the Los Angeles area where the company is based, but Nazar says that geography is not going to limit his efforts to bring in great people to talk to businesses.

These videos are not filmed with live studio audiences, but rather more like fireside chats with the experts. Docstoc puts the topic together and finds the expert — it is then up to the expert to talk about that topic and what small businesses need to know. So far, the company has 40-50 video courses that you can choose from, but one clear downside to this is that not everything is available on all platforms. Some videos are on mobile while others are on the website — some are  on both. This is a bit disconcerting and Nazar admits that this is something the company will work to address.

But even with this one tiny issue, its video program looks to be bringing in engaged users — Nazar says that 50,000 people per week come to be engaged by the video courses and the company is planning to continue releasing 2-3 more each month. Each of the videos also references documents that can be found on the site, thereby tying everything together. All video courses are free to watch, but if you wish to look at the documents that are referenced, you will have to be a premiere subscriber.

This isn’t the only product that Docstoc has released. Other business tools it has produced include a service that Nazar considers to be the “TurboTax for documents” where you can customize a specific form just by answering a few questions, in addition to its most recent product, License 123, which is a self-service database of licenses and permits you’ll need for any business in any state.

With all the incredible growth of the company over the past six years, Nazar says that he’s not interested in going out to raise more funds anytime soon. To date, the company has raised $4 million and now that it’s been profitable for the past two years, the company is looking forward to acquiring some companies. Docstoc’s founder says that he’s “not interested in raising money for the core business.”

So what is Nazar looking for in potential acquisitions? He says that it’s going to be a company that has a track-record helping out businesses, similar to the mission of Docstoc. Companies that specialize in accounting software, dashboards, KPI metrics, etc. are all fair game and it could be looking at larger deals that could potentially be done with a roll-up strategy in the space.

The company is also thinking ahead to its next product release — something Nazar says will be like the “Uber of business advice” where it would like to match business operators and people with experts — almost like the small business niche market for Clarity.

Photo credit: RL Hyde/Flickr

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