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Must-watch | Essential TV viewing for startup founders

Does life imitate art, or does art imitate life? The bingeable shows on Clara’s list tread a fine line between the two – some, like WeCrashed and The Dropout are based on real-life events, while others such as Silicon Valley draw on the trials and tribulations of startup life to build up a picture that many will find almost as relatable as walking into their own office.


Document icon   Contents

1. Startup

2. Silicon Valley

3. WeCrashed

4. The Dropout

5. Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber


1. StartUp

Most startups don’t begin smoothly, and that’s definitely the case when it comes to GenCoin, the cryptocurrency venture at the centre of this roller-coaster ride of a series. Starring Martin Freeman, Adam Brody and Otmara Marrero, StartUp follows the journey of a diverse group of entrepreneurs as they battle threats, betrayal and uncertainty to make their idea a success. Although you may not have personally experienced the world of underground crime which is woven into the plot of the show, you might find the scenes of day-to-day life in an early stage start up very familiar.


2. Silicon Valley

Looking for some light relief after a hard day of developing, marketing or pitching your product? Look no further than Silicon Valley, a comedy series following the unsteady crescendo of ambitious tech wannabe-unicorn, Pied Piper. The series focuses on a motley crew of programmers and venture capitalists, parodying the real Silicon Valley’s culture to a tee. CEO Richard Hendricks (played by Thomas Middleditch) and his team battle against the competition, including buy-out attempts from tech stalwarts like search giant ‘Hooli’. Start watching for a window into algorithm development, the VC world, incubator culture and IP disagreements, stay for the critically acclaimed humour.


3. WeCrashed

If you haven’t heard of WeWork, where have you been? Known as the startup that kicked off the trend of chic co-working spaces (with beer-on-tap), their speedy rise and dramatic fall is a wild ride. In WeCrashed, based on a popular podcast of the same name, Jared Leto stars as Adam Neumann, the company’s passionate former CEO, while Anne Hathaway plays his equally as dedicated wife. The series reveals the story behind this highly valued tech unicorn: a tale of humble beginnings, tequila, “vibe” checks, private jets and eventually a “golden parachute”.


4. The Dropout

Another show based on a podcast, The Dropout tells the tale of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos. Now facing criminal charges which could see her spend up to years in jail, Holmes made millions at the helm of her blood-testing company Theranos. The series follows the story behind the company’s so-called “life-saving” technology and the people who championed a dream that was doomed to fail. Amanda Seyfried stars as Holmes and is said to have got the ambitious founder’s mannerisms and voice spot on. In addition to the riveting story itself, The Dropout explores some of the challenges female founders face in the tech world.


5. Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber

You may have ridden in one to your last meeting – you may even be in one right now. Ride-sharing app Uber is everywhere, but how did it start? In Super Pumped, we’re back in startup hotspot Silicon Valley, where Uber was born. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Travis Kalanick, the former CEO known for his energy, ambition and at times, aggression. Like some of our other top picks, we already know how this story ended (with Kalanick’s eventual ousting), but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the ride.

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