Meet The Women Behind A Multi-Million Dollar Startup
Launching a startup is tough. Over 90% of them fail, which is why it’s essential to have some extraordinary people to help build it. Blinkist is one of Europe’s hottest startups that’s changing how millions of people read. Behind the scenes, some remarkable people are making success happen, every day.
The Blinkist app transforms nonfiction books into accessible, easy, and interesting 15-minute reads or listens. Blinkist summarizes the powerful ideas from over 5000 of the world’s best nonfiction books and packages them into bite-sized explainers, making it possible to fit a little reading in–even for those short on time.
It was founded in 2012 by four college friends who loved to read, but they struggled to find time for it in their lives. They knew how much knowledge they could get from reading nonfiction books, they just needed to find a way to make it more accessible for busy people like them.
Luckily, they were able to create a world-class team to build Blinkist from the ground up. Among them are the glue that holds the team together: brilliant women, without whom Blinkist’s success wouldn’t be possible. Let’s hear from Laura, Eveline, and Temi, learn about their successes, and explore the app they built.
Laura: Blinkist’s First Female Employee
When Laura started at Blinkist 9 years ago, she was the company’s first female employee, tasked with carefully selecting the titles that made it into the app. Now, she manages a team of 90 readers and writers, bringing together a range of experts that ensure Blinkist’s content is as powerful and captivating as possible.
Content is the core of our app, but we would simply be lost without some organization…which leads us to Eveline, our project manager!
Eveline: Why Diversity = Success
When Eveline started at Blinkist 6 years ago, she was the only product manager. Back then, the app wasn’t well known, but thanks to Eveline’s magic touch, Blinkist has over 20 million users, has been named as one of the best apps in the world by Google and Apple, and recognized by the United Nations as an essential learning app.
In addition to tippling the amount of signups on Blinkist, Eveline is known around the office for her great ideas and organizational abilities. For her, part of the success comes down to the diversity of the team she helped build and the culture at Blinkist.
So, we’ve got our content, we’ve got our project manager, now all we need is a good app.
Even the best app in the world will never get used if it doesn’t look the part. Let’s take a look at Director of Design, Temi, who transformed Blinkist from a generic-looking app to one that wins awards for its look and feel.
Temi: Blinkist’s Award-Winning Designer
When Temi joined Blinkist as a designer, she had a gigantic task ahead of her: redefine how Blinkist looked and to create an intuitive, enjoyable, and unique app that prioritizes the user experience.
Temi explains, she’s never designing for herself, but the people who use Blinkist.
By placing the customer at the core of the experience, Temi, and the rest of the design team, have made a beautiful app that’s a pleasure to use—as co-founder, Niklas Jansen, explains:
A Book Explained in 15 Minutes
The app was created to explain a book in 15 minutes. For example, many people want to read Yuval Noah Harari’s bestseller Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. But it takes the average reader over eight hours to read it cover to cover. On the app, the key ideas are explained in a 15-minute read or listen. This means, no matter how busy someone is, they can fit learning like this into their lives.
What started with just four friends has now grown into a hugely successful app that’s used by 20 million people worldwide. It’s been featured as one of the 20 apps for lifelong learning in the App Store alongside the likes of TED, Coursera and Udemy. The UN, Google and Apple have praised the app for its design and purpose, it was featured in Tim Ferriss’ latest book, Tribe of Mentors, and the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, is even a fan. He visited the Blinkist offices in Berlin to learn more about the team and their mission to help more people read.
It’s Backed by Science
One way this is done is through the way the content itself is written. Neuroscientific techniques are used to make it easy to understand and hard to forget with case studies and real-life examples. This means each piece of content is relatable, actionable and memorable.
As the Blinkist library grew in number, so did the breadth of categories. Now, there are titles across 27 categories including those for professional skills, like entrepreneurship, management and productivity, and those for personal life, like personal development, psychology and relationships.
Listen and Learn On the Go
How did this happen? It’s simple, the team developed features that users love. One of these is Blinkist’s audio feature. Each explainer is available in both text and audio form meaning users can listen to content while on the go or multitasking. They can learn while commuting, cooking, working out, or while traveling between meetings.
What’s more, the audio content is written with listeners in mind and made with different narrators and sound effects to make it engaging and fun to listen to.
I’ve just finished reading/listening to my 5th book in 3hours on @blinkist ! Amazing App!!! Can’t wait to read more!👌🏼😘❤️🥰💯💃🏻
— 👑BellaChy🍯 (@thebellachy) September 23, 2019
Find New Books Fast
Another much-loved feature is the app’s personalized recommendations. Here, Blinkist uses machine learning to find out what topics the user is interested in and tailors its recommendations to this, so they can find more authors and titles they’ll love quickly and easily.
Eveline’s quick to share the credit with her team of top-notch developers, designers, and other product managers. Blinkist’s HR department recognizes the importance of women in tech:
It’s Been Recognized by Big Names
Years later, Temi is the Design Lead, managing a team of 12 designers, who are constantly shaping and evolving Blinkist. Unsurprisingly, their work hasn’t gone unnoticed. Google, Android, and Apple have all acknowledged Temi and her team’s relentless hard work and innovative, inspiring design.
In 2021 alone, Apple featured Blinkist as an ‘App of the Day’ more than 500 times worldwide.
Laura, Eveline, and Temi are just three examples of employees driving the company’s growth, but they’re representative of the forward-thinking, passionate women who are at the core of Blinkist’s success.
If you’re a go-getter who cares about learning, Blinkist is the perfect app for you. Join 20 million other Blinkist fans and dive into the key ideas from thousands of nonfiction titles. You’ll surprise and inspire yourself with how much there is to learn!