Docstoc, the company that describes itself as the “YouTube for professional documents” has closed a small first round of financing.
Docstoc, along with competitor Scribd, makes it easy for people to upload and post entire documents on the Web — where they can be easily read without clicking on links.
The companies have stirred controversy because of the potential for copyright infringement. Scribd, which launched earlier this year (see coverage), and which is open to the public, continually has to remove copyrighted books, such as Harry Potter novels. Docstoc, of Beverly Hills, has not launched publicly yet, but has been testing privately with users. It will launch soon, no later than the next couple of months, says chief executive Jason Nazar.
The company focuses on legal, business and educational documents. Nazar said many people search for legal and financial advice. Someone may want a will for free so that “they don’t get screwed by a lawyer,” he said. Others may want special help, and find a good lawyer or adviser by finding their document at Docstoc, seeing their contact details and getting in touch with them. So lawyers and other professionals have an incentive to post, he said.
One difference from Scribd is the attention to different professional categories. You’ll be able to search for categories of professionals and then sub-categories, i.e., tax lawyer, divorce lawyer and so on.
Scribd, which dubbed itself the “YouTube for documents,” earlier raised $4 million in venture capital.
Among the Docstoc investors are Scott Walchek, of Integrity Partners; Brett Brewer, a co-founder of Intermix, which was the parent company of MySpace before it was sold to News Corp.; Robin Richards, founding president of MP3.com; and Rick smith, former managing director at Palomar ventures)
Docstoc’s chief technology officer, Alon Shwartz, formerly led product development at MySpace.