Welcome to Just Go Grind!
Sept. 23, 2020

#182: Holger Seim, Co-Founder & CEO of Blinkist, a Company Helping People Fit More Learning Into Their Lives, on the Journey to 15 Million Users, Raising $30M+, Navigating a Global Pandemic, and the Importance of Testing for Startups

#182: Holger Seim, Co-Founder & CEO of Blinkist, a Company Helping People Fit More Learning Into Their Lives, on the Journey to 15 Million Users, Raising $30M+, Navigating a Global Pandemic, and the Importance of Testing for Startups

Holger Seim is the Co-Founder and CEO of . Founded in 2012 by four friends, Blinkist now connects 15 million readers worldwide to the biggest ideas from bestselling nonfiction via 15-minute audio and text. About Our Partners This episode is...


Holger Seim is the Co-Founder and CEO of Blinkist. Founded in 2012 by four friends, Blinkist now connects 15 million readers worldwide to the biggest ideas from bestselling nonfiction via 15-minute audio and text.

About Our Partners

This episode is brought to you by Hawke Media. Hawke Media is a full-service Outsourced CMO based in Santa Monica, CA, providing guidance, planning, and execution to grow brands of all sizes, industries, and business models.

Hawke Media was recognized by Inc. as the country's fastest-growing marketing consultancy and is proudly one of Glassdoor's "Best Places to Work"​, 2019 #893 on the Forbes 5000 list, UpCity Top Los Angeles Digital Marketing Agency. Hawke’s collaborative process, à la carte offering, and month-to-month fee structure give clients the flexibility they need to boost digital revenues and marketing ROI.

Hawke Media The company has serviced over 1500 brands of all sizes, ranging from startups like Tamara Mellon, SiO Beauty and Bottlekeeper to household names like Red Bull, Verizon Wireless and Alibaba.

Listen to our interview with Erik Huberman, Founder and CEO of Hawke Media, in episode 23 of the Just Go Grind Podcast.

This episode is also brought to you by Toptal. Toptal is an exclusive network of the top freelance software developers, designers, finance experts, product managers, and project managers in the world. Top companies hire Toptal freelancers for their most important projects.

Connect with Holger Seim

Some of the Topics Covered by Holger Seim in this Episode

  • What Blinkist is and how they're helping people fit more learning into their lives
  • How Holger and his co-founders chose Blinkist over other ideas
  • What Holger did first to get Blinkist off the ground
  • How Blinkist raised money in 2012 without a product
  • How Holger chooses which books to "blink" and what the blinks would include
  • How Blinkist works with freelancers to breakdown books and why they look for subject matter experts
  • How Holger and his team make each blink more engaging
  • The legalities of the Blinkist business model
  • Why Blinkist partners with authors and publishers and isn't cannibalizing book sales
  • The challenges of book discovery
  • The evolution of the Blinkist business model and how they look at pricing
  • Early customer acquisition for Blinkist
  • How Holger looks at allocation between different acquisition channels
  • Deciding which influencers to work with
  • Why testing is so important when creating a startup
  • How Holger uses the Blinkist web app as a customer acquisition tool for the Blinkist app
  • How the main call-to-action on the Blinkist homepage has evolved and why they offer a free trial now
  • Holger seeing someone use Blinkist in real life for the first time
  • Understanding how businesses actually impact people
  • Company culture and how Holger's upbringing has impacted it
  • Raising funds initially for Blinkist (150,000 Euros)
  • The difference between raising your initial round of funding and subsequent rounds
  • Some of the questions investors ask when you're raising a later round of funding
  • How Holger and his co-founders looked at splitting equity and the roles between the founders
  • Holger's approach to hiring and why he recommends hiring an HR generalist early on for a startup
  • "Rich vs. King," and why Holger and his Co-Founders veer towards keeping control
  • Holger's goal of reading 24 books in the year
  • How COVID-19 has impacted Blinkist

Links from the Episode