Henrik Berggren, CEO of Readmill on his company, e-reading and the Berlin startup scene

In mid-December, I caught up with Henrik Berggren, CEO of Readmill, one of the most visible companies in the discovery and social reading utility space.  

The company, which just announced the release of its forthcoming iPhone app into beta, has been attempting to prove readers want to enhance the reading discovery and sharing experience through a software app independent of a specific piece of e-reader hardware. The Readmill app, which supports one of the dominant DRM schemes in Adobe, is also designed to be a central storage place for ebooks independent of storefront.

I caught up with Henrik in mid-December, a year after we had talked last. He updated me on the progress of the company, some lessons learned and the company's plans for 2013.  We also talked a bit about the Berlin startup scene, which I split into a separate podcast (see down below).
You can listen to my conversation with Henrik by hitting the orange play button above, or by downloading it from iTunes or through RSS.
A couple points from the conversation I found interesting:
  • Readmill as a company is talking less about the concept of social reading, as they have found it's a concept consumers have a difficult time getting their mind around. Instead, the company is focusing messaging around developing an independent, enhanced reading application with social sharing and discovery utility, one that is also free of the ones that are tied directly to the storefronts.  
  • Readmill is working closely with a number of storefronts to incorporate "send to Readmill" functionality at the point of purchase.  As of mid-December, 50 stores had integrated the capability.
  • Berggren believes that with the introduction of their iPhone app, they will see strong growth in adoption of Readmill by consumers. 
  • Berggren said that as of mid-December, Readmill had less than 100 thousand users of the app (which he expects to change with the iPhone app).
  • The company announced in Q4 2012 that they were supporting Adobe DRM, which Henrik feels will dramatically expand the user base of Readmill.  This is because, outside of Amazon and Apple, Readmill's app can accept books from the other dominant DRM standard, which is used by Google, Kobo and others, which allows them to further move towards being a central repository for e-book storage and reading. 
In the second podcast excerpt, Henrik and I talk about the Berlin startup scene.  I ask him about which companies he feels are helping set the template, what are the focus areas for Berlin startups, and how he relies on advice from the founders of the company he was at previously, Soundcloud. 


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