After raising $100 million at a valuation of more than $2 billion last year, Australian ed-tech startup Go1 is making an acquisition and getting some investment to expand its reach and technology to serving the corporate online learning market.
First, it’s taking on Blinkist, a Berlin-based startup that had built a platform for discovering and reading abridged versions of longer non-fiction books — “Blinks” that typically take no more than 15 minutes to read or listen to.
Second, while the two companies are not disclosing the financial terms of the acquisition, we have confirmed other details with Go1 co-CEO and founder Andrew Barnes: The acquisition is a mix of cash and stock. And it will also involve Blinkist’s biggest investor, Insight Partners, taking an additional $30 million in equity to Go1 in a “raise,” but again without talking about the exact numbers.
The two platforms will continue to operate separately, but over time, the plan is for greater integration and cross-selling between the two, the companies said. It will also work to incorporate new technology streams into the wider platform, such as adding more artificial intelligence to Blinkist’s text summarization process and, by clicking on Blinkist’s application format, providing a wider range of ‘options to offer courses in Go1. users
“B2B has been our bread and butter, something Blinkist was just starting to move into,” Barnes said in an interview. But on the other hand, he noted that “Blinkist has very high user engagement,” something Go1 wants to improve on its app. “We WLast year we decided that what we wanted to do they had already done and we did what they wanted to do.
Blinkist has had 25 million downloads of its app and has just under 1 million paying users, including about 1,500 businesses. Go1, which is backed by Salesforce and Microsoft but also Softbank, says it has 8 million users, with major customers including Delta, Hays, Westpac and energy giant EDF using its e-learning platform , which offers a catalog of training and professional development courses, tens of thousands in total.
Blinkist’s last valuation was $160 million in 2018, when it raised $18.8 million, and the company is “significantly bigger” than it was then, Barnes said.
The reason Blinkist hasn’t asked for funding again in the last five years is because it hasn’t had to: the company is growing and profitable, and it still has money in the bank, he explains. Holger Seim, CEO and co-founder of Blinkist. It had raised just over $37 million, for Pitchbook datawith sponsors in addition to Insight including Left Lane Capital, T-Ventures and more.
The Berlin-based startup has had a number of potential buyers knocking on its door over the years, Seim said in a separate interview. Blinkist’s catalog is a mix of text-based and audio-based content, making it an interesting asset for tech companies, publishers or media brands trying to build larger e-book operations, business user strategies or even larger media funds for both areas. like podcasting.
“But there was never anything before Go1 that looked cool,” Seim said.
Blinkist and Go1 are sitting in areas that will be worth watching for years to come, mostly because of how, or Yesif you’re more skeptical, they’ll be disrupted by advances in areas like AI.
One camp would have you believe that both e-learning and reading (and reading summaries in particular) will be superseded as generative AI gets stronger. Personalization will produce content tailored to people’s specific needs, whether it’s what they need to learn, what they want to learn, or what they have time to learn.
However, Seim is far from worried about this. “We see generative AI as a huge opportunity,” he said. He noted that even before the launch of ChatGPT, “you can find a summary of a Google book. Key ideas have always been a commodity.”
But there is still something missing in these dams, he continued. “We are not a library, but an intelligent companion to make learning a part of your life. The content has to be engaging and entertaining and you have to recommend the right thing at the right time to move forward. There’s more to it than the content itself.”
Blinkist is already using AI to create recommendation algorithms, but in the future it could help the startup’s very human workforce of people who are building summaries, helping them work faster and at a lower cost. The startup is already piloting elements of this, he said. “We just need to make sure that GPT can work at scale,” adding that this hasn’t been foolproof so far.
Given Blinkist’s status as profitable and growing, this deal likely isn’t part of the M&A trend we’ve seen in tech over the past six months or so, where there’s been an increase in smaller deals as a wave of startups has arrived. the end of their funding tracks and found conditions too difficult to raise more money. What does open up are questions about what the next step will be for the larger Go1.
Backed by Softbank’s Vision Fund in its heyday, the funding and exit market for larger and later-stage tech companies has been pretty tough over the past six months. Barnes said an IPO was part of the long-term plan, but “it’s not something we’re targeting right now.”
Ikaroa has welcomed the news that Go1 has snapped up speed reading app Blinkist to expand in enterprise learning. By acquiring Blinkist, Go1 will add a new dimension to its range of products and services, further consolidating its status as a leading provider of online learning.
Go1 is a leading online education company based in Australia, serving over 1400 enterprise learning customers from around the world. At the same time, Blinkist, which was founded in 2012, has become one of the most in-demand services for smart learning with millions of users globally. With Blinkist’s technology, Go1 will now be able to offer condensed versions of key business books in the form of engaging audio or text-based learning opportunities.
At Ikaroa, we can see how this merger could revolutionize how enterprises train their employees and onboard new hires in an effective and efficient manner. With the acquired technology and Go1’s existing infrastructure, this move also signals that the company is looking to strengthen its foothold in the corporate training market. Moreover, it also allows Go1 to offer a comprehensive set of learning tools, courses and tools to its enterprise customers.
All in all, the acquisition of Blinkist boosts Go1’s potential to deliver more value to its customers. With a combined set of tools, customers can now access tailored learning experiences and content to improve their operations. As the online learning market continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see where this move puts Go1 in the near future.