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Top Speed: Alumnus Jason Nazar Leads a Fast-Growing Internet Startup
During his third year of law school, Jason Nazar (SOL ’07) traded evenings in the library for late nights on the phone with a firm in India. Often up and working from midnight to 4 a.m., Nazar labored long hours to bring an idea to fruition: Docstoc, a You Tube-like Web site that places literally thousands of business and legal documents at your fingertips.
It all began in the midst of studying for his JD/MBA at Pepperdine University. “In my experience as both a JD/MBA, I was always looking for different documents, emailing classmates and sharing outlines,” says Nazar. Outside of the classroom, he ran into the same problem.
At Venature Capital and Consulting, the business Nazar started while still in school with MBA classmate Mike Sheridan (GSBM ’04), Nazar often needed documents quickly. “I was literally online for an hour and a half per day looking for documents, research reports, and templates for my clients,” he says. “I thought to myself, there’s got to be a better way.”
After finding few results with giant Google, and poor quality documents on sites that charged for their content, Nazar decided a free document-sharing Web site was an idea whose time had come. In fact, he thought it could revolutionize the way business professionals work. In March 2006, he began to assemble Docstoc.
Throughout his last year of law school, Nazar worked on Docstoc incessantly. He self-funded the project, outsourced the design and programming to a firm in India, and gathered a team of employees—many of whom were Pepperdine students or recent alumni.
Upon graduation, Nazar hit the pavement running, working his connections and looking for investors. Luckily, he had a few bags of tricks at his disposal. He had a diverse resume including co-founding Venature, working as head of sales and marketing for a startup, and spending two years traveling the country as a motivational speaker and corporate trainer. Add to that a solid idea and an audience hungry for what he offered.
One of the first investors to jump on board was Scott Walchek, an early investor in Baidu.com, known as “the Chinese Google” and one of the top 10 most visited sites in the world. Walchek and Nazar connected through Pepperdine, as Walchek’s son Steve was a Seaver student (SC ’05) who worked as an intern for Nazar at Venature.
Next Nazar enlisted Brett Brewer, one of the co-founders of Intermix Media, the parent company of MySpace, to join his team. Soon, Rick Smith from L.A. firm Palomar Ventures; Robin Richards, co-founding president of mp3.com; and Louis Graziadio, CEO of Boss Holdings, Inc., all invested. Nazar met Richards and Graziado through Pepperdine as well.
After securing a round of funding, Nazar and his growing team got another break. One of the most widely-read technology blogs, TechCrunch, selected Docstoc as one of the forty “hottest start ups” at their TechCrunch40 conference. Over 700 companies applied for the 40 spots.
In late September 2007, Nazar and his team, including Pepperdine student Matt Dildine (SOL ’08) and alumnus Tom Hulse (SC ’07), traveled to San Francisco to announce and demo Docstoc at the TechCrunch40 conference. “It’s a small niche world up there,” says Nazar. “For us to get the validation and stamp of approval from this Northern California/Silicon Valley community was a big deal. It really helped spread the word.”
Almost immediately, they started to get more press online. Just two weeks after launching publicly the site already had 10,000 registered users and tens of thousands of documents, ranging from sample business plans to non-disclosure agreements, tax forms, financial projections, and contracts. Users can find and share any document and organize and access their files with online storage for access anytime, anywhere.
“Docstoc is like a refinery,” says Nazar. “The raw materials are what you already have on your computer. We help you upload your own documents, and we show you which are the highest rated, most downloaded, and most commented on, so you can find the documents you need.”
As Docstoc grows, Nazar’s primary goal is to build its community—comprising entrepreneurs, attorneys, students, office staff, service-based professionals, and everyone else looking for legal or business documents. With growth, Nazar plans to add in a variety of premium services related to advertising, storage, and resources for employers, which he anticipates will generate revenue.
Meanwhile, the pace at Docstoc’s Beverly Hills office remains furious as Nazar and his associates forge ahead at the speed of light. From all appearances, there’s no sign of slowing down.
by Emily DiFrisco