Christoph Fahle
February 25, 2013

Blinkist

The interview was made with Sebastian Rumberg, the Head of Communications of Blinkist.

How's the business going after one year of work?

Blinkist started in August 2012. In the beginning it was all about getting the first prototype done. We are especially happy with the way Blinkist developed over the last few weeks after the launch in January. Right now we are analysing the feedback we are getting from our users and plan the next steps.

The team has grown considerably over the last few months – including full-time and freelance writers, developers, a designer and PR and marketing manager we consist of nine full-time people. On top of that we are working with several freelance developers and writers.

Before the launching everybody's asking about the copyright issue. Was there any?

Our summaries are stand-alone works written by our authors. That’s why there are no legal issues. In fact, publishers are still looking for new distribution channels and we think that blinkist can be a great way to get books into the hands of people with little time. We are interested in building cooperations with large publishers and independent authors. That‘s why we started talking to big publishing houses and are working on new partnerships.

You are part of the hub:raum incubation program. What has the program given you so far?

Thanks to hub:raum we have access to great mentors that helped us a lot over the last months. We enjoy a lot of freedom in our decision making but get a lot of support at the same time, when we really need it. hub:raum supports us with a lot of shared services that we can use at a preferred rate.

What are the main difficulties you're facing right now?

Right now we are collecting a lot of user feedback and prepare the next steps. I think that it is always the biggest challenge for a startup to focus on the things that matter the most and not get lost along the way – while working with very few resources.

Future plans of Blinkist?

Our highest priority is the optimization of our core concept and analysing the feedback. All next steps will be based on the results of the upcoming weeks.

What do you find attractive about working from a coworking? Why you remained here after the hub:raum finished?

Hub:raum rented the first floor for their program, so this is how we got here. I think the biggest benefit is definitely the community that evolves around a coworking space. Feedback and new ideas are just around the corner with so many people from all over the world hanging out in the café – what else can you ask for as a startup?

Want to become a member at betahaus l Berlin? More information here!

Well, both. Currently we offer the following two options: shorter publicly available Brand Playlists and long-form private Soundtracks for spaces. For both of them we work closely with the client to understand how sound fits into their brand DNA and what their audience is like.

We believe that the guests’ experience with a particular space doesn’t have to begin and end with their stay. The idea of the Brand Playlist is to be a public brand playlists designed to engage the customers before, during, and after their visit at a space. It’s always accessible for them and serves as a new, dynamic marketing channel.

The Soundtrack is slightly different. It takes sometimes up to weeks of work and is designed by a world-class artist, DJ, or tastemaker. For it we first work with you to develop a deep understanding of your business and style. Then we match you with the perfect artist, DJ, or tastemaker to create unique, always fresh playlists, custom tailored to match your brand. 

In both cases, we update them regularly based on guest habits and clients’ needs. 

People in beta Clay Bassford Bespoke Sound



The way we engage with the music community is something really important for us and honestly, what makes us different than other background music providers. A lot of the background music providers out there have internal teams of maybe five or six DJs that do all of the music for their clients. We aim to connect with the local scene and always work with local DJs. There's some kind of magic in finding the exact right artists for the brand.

And on the flip side of it, when we hire artists, we make sure that the project is also inspiring for them and that they would be interested in participating. We always make sure to pay them well. The whole project creates for them a new income stream that they wouldn't have otherwise.

People in beta Clay Bassford Bespoke Sound

Yes! This was really fun. The objective with the betahaus "betabeer sounds" playlist was to showcase the community side of betahaus. There are so many cool, interesting people in the betahaus community and we thought a playlist could be a perfect way to not only help bring the community together but also show the diverse funkiness of the communities of Berlin and Neukölln, which is why Hazy Pockets, a longtime local Berlin DJ known for his eclectic mixes, was perfect for this project.

This playlist moves from bluesy 60s rock into surf and tropicalia, picking up momentum into Motown and onwards through some laid back disco tunes. Perfect for the betabeer events betahaus hosts monthly!


YOU’RE CURRENTLY ENJOYING THE SUN FAR FROM BERLIN. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE PLACES in berlin that YOU MISS THE MOST?

Oh, there are just so many! Like the Imren Grill for instance where you can find the best homemade Turkish food or Das Gift and Gordon which are both run by great music people. Kohelenquelle in Prenzleuer Berg is my favorite local bar (or rather kneipe). To satisfy my  techno / electronic records needs I always go to Hard Wax and one of my most special places is the Zions Kirche steeple, which has an awesome view of the city and a great Weinerei close by. 


You can see me around betahaus. Online, you can always check out my website and listen to our public playlists on Spotify. We’re also currently working on a collaboration with betahaus, so a special Playlist curated by is will very soon sound around the spaces in Kreuzberg and Neukölln. 

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