Innovating how people learn and get more knowledgeable with “blink”-sized quality content

Overview

Founded in 2011 Blinkist is a consumer app that enables everybody to become more knowledgeable by reading key insights from 2200+ bestselling nonfiction books, which are transformed into powerful packs (blinks) that can be read or be listened to in just 15 minutes.

In 2012 they entered the Deutsche Telekom Accelerator hub:raum in Berlin, which enabled the first growth elements.

To date 2017 Blinkist raised over USD 16M in 3 rounds from international VC powerhouses and their growth has been ramping up globally.

In 2013 Fast Forward Advisors supported Blinkist in their early stages in 2013 to identify suitable B2B / B2B2C approaches in their strategy and to identify some other suitable investors for their first institutional funding round.

Project
Client: Blink Labs GmbH
Sector: E-Learning, E-Reading
Product: Consumer app with curated content
Web: www.blinkist.com

Project summary

Service: Startup Growth / Startup International Fundraising
Outcome:
– B2B / B2B2C strategy, setup and testing
– Short-listed investors

"Working with FFA enabled us to understand the complexities and opportunities of a B2B / B2B2C strategy, which at that time was out of our reach"

Niklas Jansen | Co-Founder & CPO | Blinkist

PROBLEMS & CHALLENGES

The main problem of Blinkist in 2013 was the following:

Uncertainty on potential traction channels: Like every early stage startup they were focusing on a certain set of audiences, traction channels and revenue and pricing models etc. and were not really able to step outside of their current activities (due to the fact that they didn’t want to lose focus and they had limited resources). They never thought about (or did only very limited steps into this direction) expanding the value proposition and product/services to a completely different audience and therefore market, like the corporations (and their education programs) or media partnerships (providing content via partners).

ACTIONS & SOLUTIONS

  1.  B2B / B2B2C strategy and setup: We started working with Blinkist on identifying, how the current consumer value proposition could be applied to a corporate or a media partnership environment. The activities comprised to understand how the selling proposition and product / platform features would need to be adapted to these markets, what pricing could be defined and how the channels and processes could be put in place. We worked on identifying the most prominent segments in the market, on the potential product feature specifications, on sales pitches and on pricing definitions to name a few.
  2.  B2B / B2B2C testing: As part of our work we also tested (with a limited budget) the new approach, trying to validate the value proposition, in order to provide a decision making basis for the management team, to further invest or not into these new audiences and segments. We tried a very broad range of traction channels, like cold calls, cold emails, LinkedIn outreaches and messagings, 2nd rank introductions, retargeting (where possible), in both domestic and international markets.
  3. Bridge Seed fundraising: During the time at Blinkist we had the chance to review and provide some feedback on the growth and financial plan of Blinkist and introduced them to some investors in our network, which showed interest in investing into the bridge round that Blinkist was about to close

IMPACT & OUTCOME

  1.  Full B2B / B2B2C strategy and process: Blinkist kept the whole B2B / B2B2C strategy and connected processes, which were available to the internal team or any new potential sales rep joining the company. The tests also provided a clear understanding of costs and benefits in adopting a strategy like this one. During this period Blinkist closed 2 important clients (one a very well known tech firm in the Silicon Valley) and enabled some larger content-sharing media deals in 2014, but decided not to pursue this strategy in the short-term.
  2.  7-figures Bridge Seed funding: Blinkist raised a 7-figure bridge seed round in late 2013 lead by IBB (institutional investment fund from Berlin) and MGO Digital Ventures (CVC from Bamberg, Germany). Later Blinkist raised further funding rounds from Greycroft Partners, e-Ventures and Insight Ventures in both Germany and the US.