el producto #215 🚀

iPhone 13 mini, Google Maps transportation+parking tickets, GetYourGuide funding, Private voice tweets, Product-to-Platforms, Figma and Canva winning Adobe & more

Welcome to a new edition of el producto!

🎰 The week in figures

$1T: Bitcoin market cap passes $1T for the first time as the price for a single bitcoin reaches $55k; the price passed $51k for the first time on Wednesday; follows several large and high-profile investments, including Tesla's acquisition of $1.5B in bitcoin in February

$2B: Chinese grocery delivery company Xingsheng Youxuan raises $2B at a $6B pre-valuation led by Sequoia Capital China; Tencent participated; Xingsheng Youxuan reported $6.18B GMV for 2020; claims 8M orders per day; this unconfirmed round included, the company has raised $3.9B to date

$1.1B: Swedish cloud communications company Sinch acquires interconnect provider Inteliquent from GTCR for $1.1B; additionally, Sinch has raised $986M, which it will use to finance the deal; Chicago-based Inteliquent provides software tools for third-party voice and messaging services

550M: ByteDance-owned short video app Douyin reports 550M MAUs for its built-in search feature; compares with 544M MAUs for Baidu’s main app; Douyin, which is often described as the Chinese version of TikTok, added a search function in 2018. ByteDance is in early talks to list Douyin in the US

$400M: Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike ($52.9B market cap) acquires London-based log management and analysis platform Humio for ~$400M, mostly cash; founded in 2016; clients include Microsoft and Bloomberg; previously raised ~$32M -

$200M: Palo Alto Networks ($38.3B market cap) has acquired Israel-based cybersecurity firm Bridgecrew for ~$200M; the company offers automated network security tools to enterprise customers; raised $18M to date

$150M: China-based WeBull parent Fumi Technology raises $150M at a $1B-plus valuation; the platform offers fee-free stock trades for US retail investors; at the end of last year, the company claimed it was transferring 850 users from other brokerages per day, and that Robinhood represented ~half

$120M: London-based crypto exchange and noncustodial wallet provider Blockchain.com raises $120M from Lightspeed, GV, and others; the company originally launched as Blockchain.info, providing a blockchain explorer; now claims 65M wallets; raised $190M to date

€80M: Germany-based travel platform GetYourGuide secures an €80M credit facility; GetYourGuide lets travelers find and book tours across multiple cities

$75M: India-based fintech firm KreditBee raises $75M Series C; the company offers online loans to traditionally underserved communities; has raised $118M to date

$53M: Miami-based banking tech company Nymbus raises $53M Series C; provides banking-as-a-service, enabling banks and credit unions to launch digital services and new revenue streams; raised ~$98M to date

$21M: UK-based decisions platform Peak AI raises $21M Series B; the startup offers an AI-powered service for helping enterprise customers make data-driven choices; has raised $43M to date

$20M: Berlin-based Lengoo, which develops customized language translation solutions for enterprise, raises $20M Series B; the platform uses neural networks to localize websites, technical manuals, etc; raised $26.6M to date

€11.2M: Denmark-based audio platform Podimo raises €11.2M; the startup operates a podcast and short-form audio stories service; has raised more than $20M to date

100: Google expects to add 100 more games to Stadia this year; the company teased some of the titles, including "FIFA 21," coming March 17

📰 What’s going on

Twitter begins testing audio messages in DMs, limited to users in Brazil, India, and Japan; only iOS and Android app users can record and send messages; web users can listen to messages; Twitter limits the messages to 140 seconds, the same as voice tweets

Waymo begins testing its robo-taxi service in San Francisco with employee volunteers as riders; the company launched the commercial service Waymo One in the Phoenix area in 2018, and the San Francisco tests represent the first new market for that program; Waymo's modified Chrysler Pacificas and Jaguar I-Pace SUVs have driven 20M autonomous miles on public roads in 25 cities

YouTube announces its TikTok-like service Shorts will launch as a beta in the US next month; YouTube CPO Neal Mohan notes Shorts, which launched as an early beta in India last year, is receiving more than 3.5B views per day; YouTube also has plans for an integrated shopping feature that is set to roll out later this year

Google updates Maps with the ability to buy train tickets and pay for parking; the company has integrated parking payment services Passport and ParkMobile, enabling users to pay at meters and to find and rent lot spaces

Google announces numerous education-focused updates for Classroom, Meet, and Workspace for Education; the company said the 50+ new features would address the needs of administrators, teachers, and students; coming changes include new Classroom add-ons, roster and grade synching with the Student Information System, engagement tracking, more

Google releases Android 12 developer preview for Pixel devices; has new features for handling media, including a transcoding layer for HEVC video, support for 24 audio channels (up from eight), spacial audio, more; a new API will enable users to more easily drag-and-drop or copy-paste text and media between apps; features minor UI changes, but it's likely the final version will include more visual updates

Google adds Apple TV app support to its Chromecast with Google TV device; it is also now available to TVs from TCL and Sony that have Google TV built in

LinkedIn is developing a new feature called Marketplaces, which will enable users to offer and book freelance services; will focus primarily on white collar services, such as programming and accounting; the company plans to launch Marketplaces as soon as September

Microsoft announces Office 2021 for consumers and Office LTSC (Long-Term Servicing Channel) for commercial customers; the standalone software does not require a subscription, like the cloud-based Microsoft 365 suite; the company will launch Office 2021 for Windows and Mac this year; Microsoft plans to launch a preview for the LTSC version in April

Microsoft updates its Office app for iOS and iPadOS; offers improved compatibility for iPad models; combines Word, Excel, and PowerPoint; also includes tools for working with PDFs

Microsoft is testing a new Kids Mode with Edge Insiders; the mode enables SafeSearch, strict tracking protections, fun browser themes, more; also includes kid-friendly content about safe browsing; Edge users can enable Kids Mode with the profile picker but exiting the mode requires a password

Microsoft is testing a browser-based version of its xCloud game streaming service; lets users play Xbox games in a desktop browser as well as on the iPhone and iPad; Microsoft plans to launch a public preview this spring; xCloud is currently available for Android devices only

Amazon launches Build It, a Kickstarter-like platform. that lets users pledge support for new products; if a project garners enough backing over a 30-day period, Amazon will put it into production; launch products include an Alexa-powered nutrition scale and a sticky note printer; early backers can purchase goods at a discount; Amazon previously offered a similar program known as Day 1 Editions

Amazon ($1.65T market cap) acquires e-commerce platform Selz; terms undisclosed; the platform enables individuals and small businesses to build website storefronts, and can integrate with existing websites; clients can sell via social media, marketplaces, and POS systems; founded in Sydney in 2013, employs less than 50; previously raised $11M

Apple plans to launch an iPhone 13 mini and a larger iPhone SE Plus later this year; follows reports iPhone 12 mini has significantly undersold other iPhone models; sources also say AirTags will launch in March

Apple will add an always-on display to its next iPhone lineup; devices will show the time and battery icon without needing to be unlocked; notifications will also briefly show without having to illuminate the whole screen; additionally, the iPhone 13 will feature stronger MagSafe magnets; it will also add a portrait video feature

Apple issues a WatchOS update that addresses a problem that can cause the Watch Series 5 and SE to stop charging; users who continue to experience the issue after the update can send in their devices for charge-free repair

LG is developing a foldable display for Apple; it is working on a flexible OLED panel for use in a future folding iPhone; Samsung has also provided samples; follows reports Apple is planning a 7-inch device with Apple Pencil support which could launch as soon as 2023

Uber lobbies the EU to introduce a model for gig economy workers that is based on a framework introduced in CA: the company is calling on EU regulators to ensure contract workers can access certain benefits without having to be reclassified as employees; Uber has sent a white paper outlining the proposal to several key EU figures including competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager and jobs commissioner Nicolas Schmit; it is also urging other companies to endorse such a plan

WhatsApp says it will institute a controversial policy change in May; there has been a backlash because the new terms mean WhatsApp will be able to share some data with parent firm Facebook; WhatsApp says it will only impact conversations with businesses, but many users have moved over to alternative services such as Telegram; WhatsApp says it will provide users with additional information about the incoming policy

The UK’s Supreme Court rules Uber drivers are entitled to employment benefits such as a minimum wage and vacation pay; the decision only applies to plaintiffs in the 2016 case, but it could have broader implications for Uber and other gig economy companies such as Deliveroo

ByteDance has canceled a plan to sell its US operations to a consortium led by Oracle; ByteDance previously agreed to divest its US business amid pressure from the Trump administration; the source says with Trump gone there is no longer a reason to sell

Cloud password management service LastPass announces it will limit unpaid users to a single device type: computer or mobile; new users will see the option at signup; existing free users will automatically make their selection based on which device they use to first sign in on or after March 16; LastPass will remain fully cross-platform for paid users; the company will also limit some support services, including email, to premium users

Nvidia announces four Cryptocurrency Mining Processors (CMPs): essentially GPUs without display ports, optimized for mining; will launch two in Q1 and two in Q2; the company also announced that drivers for the coming GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card would limit crypto-mining efficiency by ~half; Nvidia said it wanted to ensure stocks of gaming cards would be available for gamers, not sold to miners

Fintech company Brex applies for a UT bank charter to operate wholly-owned subsidiary Brex Bank, with former Silicon Valley Bank COO Bruce Wallace serving as CEO; Brex said the bank would target SMBs, offering FDIC insured deposit products and credit solutions; the company currently offers a startup-focused credit card issued by Emigrant Bank

Radio Garden, a Google Earth-type representation of the planet where every green dot is a radio station. Click any dot to listen in

👩🏾‍💻 Good reads

The importance of Human-centered Design in Product Design. Miklos Philips says: “Involve your customers and collaborate with them from the start. Otherwise, you are designing without understanding the whole picture”

Scaling Product delivery at Stripe, Credit Karma and Wealthfront, by Andy Johns and Matt Greenberg. A good (and perhaps controversial) read from its start: “The dirty secret of Silicon Valley is that most great product teams follow a system that resembles waterfall (gasp!) to launch new innovative features/products repeatably“

Outcome-driven product strategy and how to make the shift. Esther Sportello
shares the ‘Ladder Product Strategy Framework’ to encourage teams to become more outcome-driven by connecting stories and features to the larger objectives and results they are driving

Product-to-platforms: Opening the door to third parties. A brief essay by Andrei Hagiu and Julian Wrigh on why platform businesses built on network effects are the most valuable and powerful businesses around today

Why people share: the psychology behind “going viral”, by NfX. “Too often, we miss the forest for the trees — we focus overly on A/B testing, optimizing conversion funnels and landing pages and app designs, while not focusing enough on the psychological and language fundamentals that motivate our users to share our product (or not)“

How Figma and Canva are taking on Adobe—and winning: A must read on defensibility through becoming a platform and tapping into the right level of abstarction

What leader(s) over your product career truly changed how you approach product management? by Netflix’s former VP of Product Gibson Biddle

Have a great weekend.


el producto is a curated selection of Tech&Product happenings within the last few days from a curious and frequently skeptical Product leader perspective. Free forever. Sign-up here