Docstoc, which has been around since 2007, today launched a redesigned and enhanced website. The new design and functionality adds additional content. The content is presented in an up-to-date “Pinteresty” style — boxes with an image and minimal text (see above) linking to each content piece.
More importantly, Docstoc has improved the way small businesses find and retrieve content to help solve problems.
In an interview, Docstoc founder and CEO Jason Nazar told us the biggest change is that visitors to the site aren’t just presented with a typical search function. Instead, they get a guided experience using semantic search. “It’s an evolution to solving entrepreneurs’ core problems,” he said.
“The promise we deliver on is that no two Docstoc experiences are the same,” Nazar added. “The more you do, the smarter our algorithms get at learning what kinds of documents and content will solve your problem.”
When you visit the site you can search for traditional categories such as videos. But if you click the big “Get Started” button you are walked through a decision tree that asks questions such as: “Are you looking for help with starting a business or growing your existing business?” You get presented with this simple choice:
From there you are asked increasingly more-specific questions until you find the help and resources you are looking for.
The company’s semantic search technology was all built in-house by the company’s team of 12 engineers. All of the company’s core technology is built in-house, Nazar added.
The company’s sweet spot is the small business with 1 to 10 people in it. While Docstoc serves businesses of various sizes, these smallest businesses have the most need of help when it comes to documents and guidance. “When we got our first round of funding, we went to a law firm and they gave us a packet of documents. Those documents included standard non-disclosure agreements and other documents that saved us time. But what if you are a business of one? How can you get those kinds of resources?” Nazar said.
That’s where Docstoc’s mission comes in. They want to be known as the go-to resource for starting a small business and growing it.
Docstoc today has over 38 million registered users. It has 20 million documents, many of which are crowdsourced and shared by the community. But it also has 20,000 pieces of premium content. Over the past three years, the company has spent “literally millions” Nazar said, creating documents, videos, training courses and other premium materials to help business owners step by step.
Today’s revamped website experience follows a steady string of improvements and acquisitions that Docstoc has been making. In August, it acquired software recommendation site BestVendor. Earlier in May it launched ExpertCircle to find products recommended by your peers. And last year it launched License123 to help businesses identify needed licenses and permits.