STARTUP.com is a masterpiece documentary because of how it accomplishes the virtual aspect of how difficult it is to not only maintain a business but also a long lasting friendship. First let me start off by saying that the easiest thing about starting a business is the “IDEA”. Everyone can come up with ideas on a basic concept that people seem to need, how they will go about fulfilling this need and etc. However again that is the easy part, the difficult part would have to be maintaining this business, keeping it alive/fresh and constantly coming up with new aspects to make their product better than the competition. This is exactly where Kaleil and Tom went wrong.
STARTUP.com is the story of two best friends since a very young age coming up with an idea of basically paying traffic tickets and registering vehicles online! Kaleil Isaza Tuzman, a savvy business man who left his job at Goldman Sachs felt this idea would be the one that would fulfill his need of money for the rest of his life, and decided to do whatever he could to try and make this idea into a realization. He would later become in charge of all business aspects of the company and C.E.O. Tom Herman, the other half of this project was just in need of money and fast, for he had a daughter that he was unable to take care of. Tom would later become in charge of the technical aspect of the company and C.E.O. This product idea would soon attract a couple of other people to the point where they would even invest their own money just to see this happen. The product would later be named Govworks.com.
The earlier aspect of the documentary is to show the viewers what the day of an up and coming businessman entails. Kaleil and Tom would do whatever they could to talk to as many VC’s, introduce to them the proposition of their product, present executive summaries of what they expect from the company and hopefully draw investors; Even if that meant working 18 hours a day. Kaleil would handle the selling of the product, in which most cases by the time he was done presenting it seemed as if investors felt honored to have this idea be thrown their way. Kaleil would usually have offers after most meetings, but knew not to jump on the first offer. Due diligence is the most important part before accepting you final investment offer. Tom has his hands full as well… He is in charge of software design, and finding ways to make this site be exactly what Kaleil wants it to be. This is no easy task; however things were starting to look up as investors were becoming more serious. Offers were given out left and right, Now Kaleil and Tom had to decide which investor would help them most. This is where their first mistake is shown…Kaleil presented the idea of the site to a company called Highland, and was given an hour to decide if they were going to accept the offer, however having no lawyer at hand at the time, and not being able to find him presented problems. Time was up and not decisively coming to a decision cost them the investor and was unable to get Highland on board. But this would not hurt their spirit and motivation, for they would eventually find their investor and close at about 18 million dollars.
Now we start seeing the product become public, as Kaleil and Tom start appearing on magazine covers, and Kaleil appearing on C-span with President Bill Clinton only showed the potential this site was transmitting. However problems still began to arrive, with the buyout of a co-founder Chieh who simply thought the business was too risky for him to continue. In Addition a burglary is committed at the Govworks office, with important documents and Kaleil’s computer all missing; seemed to be a result of industrial espionage. And if that wasn’t enough problems for them to handle, it appeared as if the competition “EzGov” had now developed a software which was simply better than Govworks. Now things start to look bad, and Govworks is in trouble of failing.
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