Blinkist, a Germany-based startup that gives you the gist of well-known nonfiction books in 15 minutes or less, has raised €4 million ($4.3 million) to accelerate product development and expand in the U.S. and across Europe.
Founded out of Berlin in 2012, Blinkist hires subject-expert writers to condense popular nonfiction titles into abridged versions, with a catalog that includes titles like Richard Dawkins’ The Greatest Show on Earth and Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope. Available on the Web, Android and iOS, Blinkist gives users one book each day for free, beyond which they must pay $50 per year for unlimited access, or $80 per year to include audio incarnations.
Blinkist had previously raised around $2 million, but perhaps one of the most notable facets of today’s announcement is that New York-based Greycroft Partners co-led the round, alongside VC firm E.Ventures. Greycroft has some notable startups in its portfolio, including Klout, Livefyre, App Annie, Trustev, Huffington Post, Babble, and Braintree, as well as a handful of European companies, such as Fortumo, Quiz Up, and Azimo.
Blinkist said that in 2015 it grew its user base to more than 30,000 subscribers, hailing from over 130 countries, and it seems that this growth was a major factor in attracting Greycroft. “We believe there is a unique opportunity now in the evolution of mobile to build a well-monetizing, global subscriber base from Day 1, as Blinkist has shown,” said Ellie Wheeler, partner at Greycroft. “We have been tracking the digital publishing world for some time, and were excited to be able to back this product and team.”
Blinkist says it will use its Series A investment to ramp up its marketing efforts, create partnerships with publishers on both sides of the Atlantic, and build new products.