Blinkist, the Berlin startup offering non-fiction book summaries to those short on time, has today announced a high six-figure funding round. The round was lead by IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft-managed VC fund Kreativwirtschaft Berlin along with MGO Digital Ventures GmbH.
The iOS and web app pulls out the most relevant facts from non-fiction books, offering a summary in bite-sized pieces that can be read within 15 minutes. Around 12 of these so-called “Blinks” are combined to make one summery, a Blink can be read within two minutes.
Blinkist will use the funding round to increase its content offering, create more platforms and quickly build a critical mass in its most important markets. In an interview with Gründerszene, founder Holger Seim said the US is their major target.
Users can download the app for free, the company makes money via a €4.59 monthly subscription fee. Paying users gain access to a catalogue of 150 books in the areas of business, career, advice and popular knowledge.
Seim told Gründerszene that the conversion rate of free to paying users is at around five per cent – though hanging onto these paying customers has proved tricky, after four to five months many cancel their subscription. Seim doesn’t think the problem lies with the concept itself, but rather with the limited amount of books available so far. He plans on using the latest funding round to rapidly increase the selection of summaries on Blinkist.
As a graduate of the Deutsche Telekom incubator Hubraum, the startup received initial funding from Hubraum and a group of angel investors in mid-2012. Available in English and German at the moment, the startup has secured partnerships with German LinkedIn equivalent Xing and publishing houses such as Random House and Campus.