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Here’s An Exclusive Look At Blinkist’s $35 Million Dollar Pitch Deck

Blinkist raised $35 million in funding for its innovative education app. Here’s a look at the pitch deck that caught the attention of investors.
by Vanessa Gibbs | Jan 15 2024

Without the right investment, most startups would never make it off the ground. That’s why crafting the perfect pitch deck is essential for early-stage entrepreneurs. Since it was founded in 2012, Blinkist has managed to acquire $35 million in investment which allowed the company to grow into the powerhouse it is today. We’re going to take a look at one of Blinkist’s first-ever pitch decks which convinced investors of the company’s potential, but first, here’s a little about the company and how it started.

Blinkist shares key insights from nonfiction books and podcasts in 15-minute reads and listens. The app boasts 6,500 books—and counting!—across 27 crucial categories like personal development, entrepreneurship, and psychology.

It all started in 2012 when four friends—Holger Seim, Niklas Jansen, Sebastian Klein, and Tobi Balling—realized that despite their love of reading, they just didn’t have time to fit it around their full-time jobs. During college, Sebastian got into the habit of taking note of the essential lessons from books and then sharing them with his friends. They soon realized that there was massive potential in that seemingly simple idea and in fact, it could help everyone learn more and faster.

‘When we started most apps were for social media or gaming. We wanted to do something different and build an app that would add genuine value to someone’s life.’
– Holger Seim, CEO of Blinkist
Blinkist Founders
(LtoR: The Blinkist founders: Niklas Jansen, Tobi Balling and Holger Seim. Not pictured: Sebastian Klein)

They weren’t the only ones to believe in the idea. Since launching nine years ago, the app exploded in popularity, winning over 29 million users, awards from Google and the UN, and praise from Apple as one of the world’s best apps. However, none of this would have been possible without the $35 million investment to make the app the best it could be. Let’s take a peek at an early pitch deck that enabled them to gather the funding they needed to build their much-loved app.

A Book Explained in 15 Minutes

Blinkist helps users read every book on their list

The founders kicked off their early pitch deck with a problem: only 12% of people “manage to read everything they want to”. They proposed to solve this by making the key ideas from nonfiction books available in a bite-sized explainer. And once they won over investors, that’s exactly what they did!

For example, say you wanted to read Yuval Noah Harari’s bestseller Sapiens but didn’t have hours to spare. You can read or listen to the core ideas of the book in 19 minutes on the Blinkist app. Then, with the time you saved, you could check out more titles you want to get a feel for such as bestsellers like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Deep Work and Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

Learning On The Go

A key slide in the early pitch deck shares what the Blinkist founders hoped the app would become: a reliable source of knowledge at your fingertips. During these early days, however, the founders had no idea how world-class audio would become an essential part of the app’s identity and value.

Eight years later, audio is one of the app’s main drivers as 70% of users choose to listen rather than read Blinkist content. Audio enables more accessibility than text alone and means that users can be flexible about how and when they learn something new. Don’t have a minute to sit down all day? No problem! Just listen to Blinkist while you’re commuting, working out, making dinner, or running between meetings.

Blinkist shares what the app is all about: knowledge
“As a productivity coach and one of the lifelong learners, I can’t tell you how happy I was to find Blinkist. If you enjoy nonfiction reading and are short on time, Blinkist will be your new favorite app.”
– Karen Trepte, HuffPost

Blinkist has made its listening experience stand out from the crowd with features like sound effects, multiple narrators, and scripts written especially with listeners in mind. All this work has paid off, too, as the app has won an award from the International Sound Awards for its unique audio style.

The Habits of Highly Successful People App
Read or listen to Blinkist’s take on nonfiction books

Thousands of Nonfiction Books in Your Pocket

Blinkist will not only help you catch up on your reading, it’s also a powerful tool for self-improvement. The founders shared their mission to make learning a part of everyone’s lives in this early version of their pitch deck. Years later, the founders are well on their way to achieving this.

Blinkist shares its mission: to help people learn

Users can now learn from thousands of titles across 27 fascinating categories s which cover work-related topics—like entrepreneurship, management, and productivity—personal topics—like relationships, mindfulness, and money—among a whole host of others!

Users can learn almost anything with the Blinkist app, from the history of Latin America to the future of artificial intelligence, from the latest productivity hacks to managing a remote team. 40 new titles are added every month so there’s always something new to learn.

Blinkist Helps Users Make Real Change

The pitch deck highlights the potential of the knowledge-hungry market segment by showing how fast the nonfiction and self-directed e-learning were growing at the time. Blinkist taps into both of these markets by turning the knowledge found in nonfiction books into explainers users can check out whenever they want to learn something new.

The demand for learning is growing

Blinkist uses neuroscientific techniques to make learning easy, including adding real-life examples and case studies to the content which makes it relatable and memorable. In a survey of 3,500 users in the US, Blinkist found that 87.5% often make changes to their lives based on what they learn through the app, which shows that these methods work!

“I read a lot of management, self-improvement, and entrepreneurial books through Blinkist because I can gain specific knowledge on my industry or on ways to improve myself.”
– Steven Renwick, CPO of Regis24

Over 104 Thousand 5-Star Ratings

Since its launch, Blinkist has received more than 104 thousand 5-star ratings from Apple and Android users, with almost 75% of all ratings clocking in at 5 stars. Here’s what some users have to say:

“Innovative and boundary pushing. Blinkist helps me to grow every day, I adore it.”
“As an entrepreneur in the startup stage, I found the concise information extremely practical and easy to follow. I am looking forward to applying what I have learned.”
“There are so many books I want to read and not enough hours in the day. Now I can get the ‘low down’ on books I’m interested in, only purchasing the books that genuinely intrigue me!”

Apple Thinks Blinkist is a Top App for Lifelong Learning

Blinkist’s pitch deck shared plenty of information about its growth potential, from the increasing trend of reading on mobile to the app’s scalable business model, but when the founders first explored the app’s potential, they had no idea that tech giants like Apple would one day get behind it.

Apple named Blinkist one of the top 20 apps for lifelong learning alongside the likes of TED, Khan Academy, and Coursera, and Apple CEO Tim Cook is a fan who, in 2019, made time to visit the Blinkist office in Berlin.

“Impressed with the growing and talented team at Blinkist. Helping everyone understand and experience some of the best non-fiction books is a great example of how a single idea from college can evolve into a solution for a problem we all share — too little time!”
– Tim Cook, Apple CEO
Learn from thousands of books in Blinkist’s library

One of the World’s Best Apps

Blinkist’s early pitch deck was clearly convincing as to date, the startup has raised $35 million. Investors include Insight Partners—who backed Twitter, Tumblr, and Hello Fresh—and—who invested in and Groupon.

“As a concept and an investment opportunity, Blinkist offers something genuinely unique. The company presents an exciting model which is defining and spearheading a whole new category of self-development.”
– Harley Miller, Vice President at Insight Partners, Blinkist Investor.

As well as attention from investors, the app got plenty of press interest. It’s been featured everywhere from The New York Times to The Guardian, TechCrunch to Forbes. Gruenderzene, the German equivalent of TechCrunch, even said Blinkist is on track to become a unicorn startup—a company valued at $1 billion.

Years later despite millions of dollars of investment and a successful product, the Blinkist founders keep the same mission at the company’s core: to help people fit learning into their lives. If you want to find time to learn new things too, just download the Blinkist app and get started.

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