Episode 10

Holger Seim - The origin story of Blinkist, growing to 11 million users, and creating a unique company culture


November 18th, 2019

48 mins 34 secs

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Special Guest

About this Episode

Holger Seim (@hlgrsm) is the founder and CEO of Blinkist.
Blinkist is a book summary app that lets you get the key insights from 3'000+ bestselling non-fiction books that cover leadership, history, psychology and more in 15 minute summaries in text or audio format. Blinkist has over 11million users globally and the book-summarising startup has won positive reviews from the likes of Forbes (“This may be the greatest app you download in 2018”) and The New York Times.

In this episode we talk about how Holger and his co-founders came up with the idea for Blinkist, how they took the leap and started the company, his advice for aspiring entrepreneurs on how to find your perfect co-founder / first employees, the most important marketing channels for startups, as well as the importance of designing a unique corporate culture (such as the one of Blinkist), and much more..

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Show notes:
03:13 -- Who is Holger
04:40 -- Startup idea generation and how the concept of Blinkist was born
09:01 -- How Holger and his co-founders took the leap and started Blinkist
09:50 -- Pursuing a startup idea full time vs. side hustle
10:59 -- Initial financing choices at Blinkist
12:36 -- Characteristics of a great startup founding team
18:12 -- How to find your perfect co-founder outside of your personal network (e.g. technical co-founder)
20:30 -- Blinkist’s company culture and why Holger places immense value on culture
24:42 -- The Blinkist operating system
27:07 -- Tips on maintaining a corporate culture while you grow as a startup
29:16 -- How Blinkist grew to the first 1000 clients and discussion of marketing strategies
32:46 -- Alternative marketing channels leveraged by Blinkist
34:41 -- Holger’s book recommendations for new startup founders
37:31 -- General book recommendations of the Blinkist founder
39:14 -- Holger’s best investment
40:42 -- Hobbies and habits to decompress from the startup life
41:40 -- Favorite travel location
43:09 -- Advice for university graduates about to start their career
46:23 -- What does courage mean to Holger

Resources mentioned:

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