Go1 acquires ed-tech offering bite-sized summary ‘Blinks'

Go1 acquires ed-tech offering bite-sized summary ‘Blinks'

L-R: Go1 co-CEO and co-founder Andrew Barnes, Blinkist co-founder Tobias Balling, Blinkist co-founder Holger Seim and Go1 co-founder and co-CEO Chris Eigeland.

Ed-tech Go1 has made its second acquisition of the year with mobile learning app Blinkist, enabling the Logan, Queensland-based company to make its platform accessible in more places.

Though the acquisition price was undisclosed, Go1 says the acquisition expands the company’s appeal to an audience seeking to learn new skills and stay up-to-date on business and self-improvement content on demand.

Alongside the deal, TechCrunch reports that Blinkist backer Insight Partners took a $30 million equity stake in Go1 through an 'up round', but at the time of publication Go1 was unable to confirm this. 

Co-founded in 2012 by Holger Seim, Niklas Jansen, Sebastian Klein, and Tobias Balling, Blinkist boasts ‘tens of millions’ of global users who tap into its platform where books and podcasts are distilled down to their key ideas, which can be read or listened to in 15-minute explainers called ‘Blinks’.

Learners can access Blinkist content through their corporate learning management system (LMS) but, for the first time ever, they will also be able to access content on their mobile, in CarPlay or wherever and whenever they choose to learn. 

This push into mobile is the core driver for the acquisition according to Andrew Barnes, the co-founder and co-CEO of Go1 which last year achieved ‘double unicorn’ status after raising US$100 million in June.

It follows the company’s acquisition of UK ed-tech partner Anders Pink. Announced in January, that deal saw Go1 take control of the company in order to develop intelligent, automated recommendations for learning content.

In April last year, Go1 also acquired Coorpacademy, a learning experience platform and content library in Europe with major global customers including Societe Generale, Schneider Electric, BNP Paribas, Nestlé and L'Oréal.

Having made a name for itself as an aggregator of learning and development content, Go1’s co-CEO is excited about the tech company’s move into ‘democratising access to more types of learning content’.

“The combination of Go1 and Blinkist offers something not replicated in any corner of the corporate learning market: an experience of ongoing learning that serves professional goals that’s purpose-built to be personally engaging,” Barnes said.

The co-CEO added that the merged company would offer customers and partners access to Blinkist’s full library of ‘Blinks’ - many of which summarise key ideas from Go1’s library of professional development books.

“Go1 is not entering the content production market – we’re combining our existing content aggregation service with Blinkist’s similar service for books to open a new model for consumption of any type of learning content,” said Barnes.

Blinkist CEO Holger Seim said the acquisition was a great opportunity for the German company as well as its existing users.

“We started Blinkist as a service for learners but saw growing interest from companies in recent years,” said Blinkist CEO Holger Seim.

“Combining forces with Go1 lets us capitalise on this trend and establish Blinkist as a strong addition to companies’ learning mix, while continuing to grow our consumer brand.”

In a blog post on Go1’s website, the company reassured existing users that the business’ core operations would not change.

“Go1 and Blinkist are exploring the ability to bring content summary capabilities to select content partners to access,” Go1 said.

“Similarly, Go1 will remain platform agnostic, allowing us to maintain our strong relationships with our content partners. Blinkist already follows a similar model with publishers and authors to generate high-value content. 

“Lastly, although Blinkist is primarily aimed at the consumer market, it does have a growing list of enterprise customers. Go1 will continue to focus on providing high-quality learning experiences to organizations and their employees, with our content partners now having the opportunity to reach Blinkist's enterprise customers in addition to our existing customers.”

Thilo Semmelbauer, managing director at Insight Partners which is an investor in both Blinkist and Go1, said he was thrilled about the deal.

“Blinkist’s mobile content and product will expand the learning opportunities already available to Go1’s customers and create a powerful pair with Go1’s corporate learning offering,” Semmelbauer said.

“We're excited for what's to come,” he said, noting Insight Partners would remain an investor in the combined entity, as would Greycroft, Headline, IBB and MGO.

Mike Bertolino, Global Leader of EY’s Skills Foundry, which partners with Go1 for access to professional learning content, shared similar enthusiasm on the deal. 

“EY Skills Foundry is an upskilling and reskilling platform. We are excited about the Blinkist acquisition and the ability to now offer summaries such as Jim Collins’ ‘Good to Great’ to our customers,” Bertolino said.

“We partnered with Go1 over a year ago due to the depth of their library and expertise on learning. We believe the need for upskilling and reskilling will only increase in the future as the global workforce becomes more agile.

“Having access to both bite-sized content and longer form courses is ideal.” 

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