June 10, 2014
“There’s so much knowledge to be shared and so many people hungry for access to it,” said associate producer Maxim Wheatley. “In winding down the accelerator, a good part of the motive to do [Startupland] was to share that knowledge from [The Fort]. From Africa and India to Eastern European countries, people everywhere are really excited about [the documentary], with a lot of people requesting screenings and signing up to attend screenings.”
The Fort was the DC-based accelerator created by Fortify Ventures. Started by Jonathon Perrelli, the accelerator shut its doors this past December. Startupland follows the member startups of its final class: LegCyte, RidePost, SNOBSWAP, TrendPo, and Trip Tribe. Today, screenings for the documentary will take place across the globe, from Dublin and Luxembourg to cities like Kigali, Rwanda and Karachi, Pakistan.
Over 500 people attended the premiere in DC, with an additional 1,000 having seen private screenings of the documentary, according to Perrelli, the executive producer of the series. One of the key attendees at the premiere was Steve Case, who spoke on the “Rise of the Rest” theory – that startups outside of Silicon Valley should be provided with access to resources in order to match their successes. “It’s one thing to hear someone say that…it’s totally different thing to be experiencing it,” noted Wheatley on what the series has done to encourage enthusiasm for startup ecosystems around the world.
“It’s been an incredible journey for Startupland…After having invested in over 40 companies in the last three years and having founded a bunch of startups, it’s great to spread the knowledge that we were teaching and learning [at The Fort],” said Perrelli. “It’s not an easy task, but [working on the documentary] has been an incredible experience. We’re just really excited to share it with the world…and, now, to see that happen – it’s pretty cool.”
Startupland was the brainchild of director Justin Gutwein. The web documentary focuses on the experiences of five early-stage startups going through an accelerator, documenting things that haven’t really been caught on film, such as the struggles with work-life balance as a startup founder, and the stresses associated with raising capital, over a span of six chapters or episodes. So far, the series has received overwhelmingly positive feedback for their first two chapters, even getting featured in Inc.‘s “5 Documentaries About Entrepreneurs You Need to Watch This Spring”.
According to Perrelli, the first five chapters of Startupland can be purchased from the site starting today, with the sixth chapter coming out in July. In conjunction with the video series, they plan to sell a curriculum based on the lessons taught at The Fort. The goal, said Perrelli, is not only to get this knowledge to people lacking the necessary entrepreneurial resources, but also to get high schools and universities around the world to use the curriculum in their courses. “We hope it’s used all over the world because we know that not everyone has access to accelerators and other resources like this.” They’ve partnered with organizations like The World Bank in order to fulfill this goal.
Starting today, the first chapter of Startupland will be available on the site for anyone to watch. The team will be in various cities tomorrow for the global screening: Gutwein in Jamaica with The World Bank, Perrelli at the United Nations in NYC, and Wheatley in Fredericksburg, VA. Check out the Startupland website for more information on the documentary.
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