UCLA Anderson School of Management
On the drive to visit his parents just before beginning at UCLA Anderson in 2006, Sunil Rajaraman was thinking about his friend Zak Freer. An aspiring screenwriter, Freer couldn't figure out how to get his work in front of Hollywood execs. The two of them thought about putting it online. Soon after, Ryan Buckley, an MIT MBA, joined the team, and the idea for Scripped.com was born.
The site is a marketplace for developing, buying, and selling screenplays. The software -- called Scripped Writer -- functions like a word processor that formats and catalogs each screenplay element according to industry standards. Once a script is uploaded, the online community can add suggestions and edits, and producers can purchase the content.
Coming up with the idea as Rajaraman entered UCLA was perfect timing. "Anderson literally provided me with everything I needed to start the business," he says. "From connections to investors, to making introductions, to the class lessons -- never once during my time at Anderson did I hear 'No, I can't help you.'" Two classes in particular were instrumental to Scripped's development: Venture Initiation and Rajaraman's core marketing class. In Venture Initiation, a case-based course, students examine companies and analyze why they failed or succeeded. In that class, Rajaraman began to understand how to raise funds and avoid failure. The marketing class taught him how to target potential customers.
Scripped.com was launched in January 2008. Each founder contributed $10,000, and they raised another $50,000 from family and friends. In March, Scripped raised $250,000 from two private angel investors and merged with competing site Zhura. Currently, Scripped has five employees and nearly 100,000 users, according to Rajaraman. They make recurring revenue off the software businesses, where users can pay $9.95 for a premium version, and they expect to be profitable on that recurring revenue in six months.
The content is also starting to get some buzz: Spike TV recently announced it would source its next pilot script from the Scripped.com user base. -- Sommer Saadi, posted Oct. 18, 2010