BEST BUSINESS DOCUMENTARIES
If you’re like me, there’s nothing you enjoy doing more than drinking a fine glass of wine while watching your favorite business documentary.
I recently asked Term Sheet readers for your recommendations of the best business documentaries, and they did not disappoint. If you don’t have plans for the long weekend, these are excellent choices:
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room: This documentary details the fall of the Enron Corporation, which became one of the largest business scandals in American history.
“Kind of obvious, but I’ll send it anyway.” — Everett
“Best business documentary.” — Frank D.
[The film was based on the best-selling 2003 book of the same name by Fortune reporters Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind. Read McLean’s feature from 2001 that was the first to raise serious questions about Enron’s opaque accounting.]
General Magic: In 1990, a new company called General Magic spun out from Apple. It took Silicon Valley by storm, but the mid-’90s tech landscape wasn’t ready for an innovation so far ahead of its time.
“Cautionary tale of the most influential startup to fail — only to have housed and incubated future creators of all our digital gadgets: iPhone, Android, iPod, iPad, eBay and more. Lessons learned from early 1990s Mac/Apple folks. Can apply to the people of now like Tesla, Uber, Lyft, and then some. Entertaining, celebratory and cautionary.” — David M.
“General Magic is not only a remarkable story of innovation but a story of innovators/entrepreneurs that have forever changed our world as we know it. Powerful footage that will change how you look at Silicon Valley. It gives you chills, makes you think, and leaves you with a different take on failure and societies readiness for new technologies.” — Elise H.
Something Ventured: The film investigates the emergence of venture capital by following the stories of the earliest investors who backed companies like Apple, Intel, Genentech, Cisco, Atari, and Tandem.
“Investigating the emergence of American venture capitalism in the mid-20th Century, Something Ventured follows the stories of the venture capitalists who worked with entrepreneurs to start and build companies like Apple, Intel, Genentech, Cisco, Atari, Tandem, and others. Something Ventured is a full-length independent film which includes interviews with prominent American venture capitalists and entrepreneurs of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, as well as archival photography and footage. — Brad S.
The Men Who Built America: Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan and Henry Ford are names synonymous with innovation and big business in America. This series profiles the lives of the businessmen who transformed the U.S into a global superpower.
“This series may be classified by some as a historical documentary but it presents important lessons on the driving forces behind successful business, enterprises, explaining the role of risk taking, capital, innovation, management, labor and customer relations and regulations in a historical context.” — John L.
“It shows the risks taken and the near defeats of four men who, in their day, were richer than the 40 richest people in the world today — combined.” — Stanford C.
Art of the Steal: This film examines the controversy surrounding the art collection of Dr. Albert C. Barnes, a millionaire who amassed a remarkable selection of significant works during the early 20th century.
“Art of the Steal: How a small college, powerful businessmen, “charitable” foundations and politicians conspired to effectively steal the a $25B art collection from the estate of a leading art collector.” — Bob L.
The Pixar Story: The story of the pioneering computer animation studio Pixar, featuring contributions from the studio’s bosses and a host of actors who have lent their voices to their creations.
“Amazing look at organizational behavior and how to accommodate and manage a company that is both creative and technical.” — Phil P.
Startup.com: The film.com documents the rise of the Internet investment frenzy and the subsequent burst of the dot-com bubble.
“This was a thoroughly enjoyable documentary about a group of ambitious 20-somethings going for it during the early 2000s tech bubble. It has it all — equity buyouts, leadership change/arguments, meeting with Kleiner Perkins, etc. Although it’s from two decades ago, a lot of the same principles are generally still applicable now.” — Owen L.
Other honorable mentions:
— Inside Job: A deep look into what led to the global financial meltdown that took place in fall 2008 and plunged the United States into a deep economic recession.
— Requiem for the American Dream: Using interviews filmed over four years, Noam Chomsky discusses the deliberate concentration of wealth and power found in the hands of a select few.
— The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley: Elizabeth Holmes became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, heralded as the next Steve Jobs. Then, just two years later, her multibillion-dollar company was dissolved.
FUND TO WATCH: Human Ventures, the nearly 4-year-old fund and startup studio, founded by investor Heather Hartnett and entrepreneur and media executive Joe Marchese, has attracted a cohort of powerful investors, including former 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch, media executive Bob Pittman and former Goldman Sachs banker turned venture capitalist Linnea Roberts. The group is finalizing a $50 million fund that they plan to invest in new media, health and wellness, and finance companies. Snap’s former vice president of content, Nick Bell, recently joined. Read more.
HOUSEKEEPING: Term Sheet will take a break on Monday for the holiday. Also, I’ll be on a reporting trip next week, so I won’t be able to write Term Sheet in the morning. My colleague Lucinda Shen will take over, so please send scoops, tips, and deals to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great weekend!
• Mafengwo, a China-based travel website, raised $250 million in funding. Tencent Holdings Limited led the round, and was joined by investors including General Atlantic, Qiming Venture Partners, Yuantai Evergreen Investment Partners, NM Strategic Focus Fund and eGarden Ventures.
• Instawork, a San Francisco-based on-demand staffing app for gig workers and hospitality businesses, raised $18 million in funding. Investors include Spark Capital, GV, Burst Capital, Benchmark, Y Combinator, Tuesday Capital and SV Angel.
• Quentic, a Berlin-based provider of software as a service solutions for environment, health, and safety and corporate social responsibility, raised 15 million euros ($16.8 million) in funding. Investors include One Peak Partners and Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital.
• Modern Health, a San Francisco-based mental well-being benefits platform for employers, raised $9 million in Series A funding. Kleiner Perkins, Jared Leto, Y Combinator and Afore led the round.
• Dawex, a France-based data exchange technology company, raised 5 million euros ($5.6 million) in funding. Investors include Amadeus, Itochu Corporation and Bouygues Construction.
• Tracklib, a Sweden-based music sampling startup, raised $1.7 million in funding. Investors include Sony Innovation Fund, WndrCo and Jörg Mohaupt.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• The Riverside Company acquired Northern Colorado Traffic Control, a traffic management provider. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Intapp, which is backed by Temasek and Great Hill Partners, acquired OnePlace, a Richmond, Va.-based provider of cloud-based solutions for marketing and business development teams. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• SoundCloud agreed to acquire Repost Network, a Los Angeles-based rights management and distribution company. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Endeavor Group Holdings, a Beverly Hills, Calif.-based talent agency, filed for an $100 million IPO that could raise $500 million per Renaissance Capital estimates. The firm posted revenue of $3.6 billion and income of $231.3 million. Silver Lake backs the firm. Goldman Sachs, KKR, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank are underwriters It plans to list on the NYSE as “EDR.” Read more.
• Personalis, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based maker of a cancer genome sequencing platform for cancer research, filed for an $115 million IPO. It posted revenue of $38 million in 2018 and loss of $19.9 million. Lightspeed (27.8%) Abingworth Bioventures (25%) backs the firm. Morgan Stanley, BofA Merrill Lynch, and Cowen are underwriters. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “PSNL.” Read more.
• Stoke Therapeutics, a Bedford, Mass.-based maker of therapies for severe genetic diseases, filed to raise$86 million in an IPO. It has yet to post a revenue. J.P. Morgan, Cowen, and Credit Suisse are underwriters. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “STOK.” Read more.
• Cvent has acquired San Francisco-based Wedding Spot, a San Francisco-based wedding venue sourcing platform. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Wedding Spot was a subsidiary of HoneyBook, which is backed by Citi Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Aleph, Vintage Investment Partners, Hillsven Capital and UpWest Labs.
• Shopify acquired Handshake, a New York-based startup that offers a commerce platform for businesses that sell wholesale goods. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Handshake had raised approximately $23.5 million in venture funding from investors including Uncork Capital, Sozo Ventures, Primary Venture Partners, and Boldstart Ventures.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• Fountain Healthcare Partners, an Ireland-based private equity and venture capital firm, raised 118 million euros ($132 million) for its third fund, Fountain Healthcare Partners Fund III LP.