10 Best Startup Documentaries for Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2024

Woman with microphone.

The stories behind startups and their founders are seldom boring. In fact, there can be a lot to learn from the triumphs and challenges of the innovators who have shaped the landscape of our world with their ideas and execution. 

Fortunately, documentaries serve as a great way to get inspired and learn from some of the greatest minds and the darkest characters in the business world. To get started, we suggest you start with this list of the best startup documentaries for entrepreneurs.

Top Business Documentaries for Founders

Learning from the experiences of other entrepreneurs, whether they be good or bad, is a valuable asset to any founder. Business documentaries are a great way to seek inspiration, learn from the greatest innovators of our time, and entertain yourself along the way with real-world hero stories and cautionary tales.

These are the top business documentaries that founders need to watch

1. Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine (2015)

  • Director(s): Alex Gibney
  • Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine is an in-depth but balanced look inside the life and mind of one of tech’s most notable figures and the co-founder of Apple. 

As one of the most influential entrepreneurs of our time, this documentary is an important look into the flaws, triumphs, and humanity of the man behind the devices and innovations that have changed the world today.

2. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)

  • Director(s): David Gelb
  • Where to Watch: Amazon Prime 

This isn’t a documentary about some wildly successful tech startup; Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a meditation on the value of caring for your work and delivering an exceptional product. 

Jiro Ono, an 85-year-old world-renowned sushi chef, is the focal point of the documentary alongside his son. The film thoughtfully explores the pursuit of excellence that led to Ono’s three Michelin stars (the first of any sushi chef to do so), as well as the immense value of connection and community.

3. Becoming Warren Buffet (2017)

  • Director(s): Peter Kunhardt, Brian Oakes
  • Where to Watch: Amazon Prime, Max

Becoming Warren Buffett details the professional and personal life of self-made billionaire Warren Buffett, his values, and how he got to where he is today. 

This relatable and inspiring documentary highlights the importance of giving back and human connection for entrepreneurs, as well as Buffett's business and investment best practices. Plus, it serves as an excellent reminder to leverage your success to help others.

4. Something Ventured (2011)

  • Director(s): Dayna Goldfine, Dan Geller
  • Where to Watch: YouTube

Unlike many of the documentaries on this list, Something Ventured is about the venture capitalists behind some of the most well-known companies, such as Apple, Intel, and Atari – not the founders. 

Featuring interviews with both venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, this documentary is an interesting perspective on financing high-risk companies and the founders running them.

5. Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates (2019)

  • Director(s): Davis Guggenheim
  • Where to Watch: Netflix

Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates is a three-part documentary series on the life and career of Bill Gates. From his journey building Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to his current dealings with innovation in climate change. 

This documentary is a fascinating look inside the story behind one of the most notable entrepreneurs of our time to examine his triumphs as well as the mistakes he has made along the way, both professionally and personally.

6. The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley (2019)

  • Director(s): Alex Gibney
  • Where to Watch: Max, Disney+

The rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes and disgraced biotech startup Theranos is laid out in the Max documentary The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley. The documentary details the explosive end of what was once one of the most talked about companies in Silicon Valley, as well as the journey that led to it through the fraud of investors and partners. 

One of the most infamous startup failures in recent years, the story of Theranos offers entrepreneurs a look inside the dangers of dishonesty, ego, and greed. 

7. Print the Legend (2014)

  • Director(s): Luis Lopez, J. Clay Tweel
  • Where to Watch: Netflix

Print the Legend follows the innovators of MakerBot competing to bring 3D printing technology to the masses. 

The film showcases the journey and struggles to market the 3D printer as the technological advancement the startup believed it to be, as well as the controversies that have surrounded the industry. Entrepreneurs looking for inspiration and a story that details a race to the top as well as the struggle of convincing the world to adopt new technologies — this one is for you.

8. The Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires (1996)

  • Director(s): Paul Sen
  • Where to Watch: YouTube

A three-part documentary, The Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires compiles interviews with instrumental people in the development and rise of the personal computer. Featuring Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Steve Jobs, and many more notable figures. 

While the documentary is nearly 30 years old, it offers a unique look into the founders and visionaries who paved the way for the tech world we know today.

9. WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn (2021)

  • Director(s): Jed Rothstein
  • Where to Watch: Hulu

WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn is a look inside the wild ride of WeWork, the uber-successful coworking startup turned IPO disaster. 

The documentary showcases the rise and fall of Adam Neumann, founder of WeWork, the culture he created, and the mistakes that he made, providing a cautionary tale for all founders, investors, and potential startup employees about opportunities that may seem too good to be true.

10. Banking on Bitcoin (2016)

  • Director(s): Christopher Cannucciari
  • Where to Watch: YouTube

For cryptocurrency entrepreneurs, Banking on Bitcoin is the tale of Bitcoin’s rise to popularity, told through interviews with entrepreneurs and financial journalists who have been front and center for the rise of the notorious cryptocurrency. 

The documentary provides a look inside the basics of Bitcoin, along with the advantages and disadvantages of it, to give a well-rounded look into crypto that entrepreneurs, experts, crypto-novices, and investors alike can enjoy.