el producto #217 🚀

Twitter audio chatrooms and Chinese "clubhouses", Amazon's cashierless store in London, Instagram's live rooms, Public roadmaps, Deliveroo IPO plans & more

Welcome to a new edition of el producto!

🎰 The week in figures

$6.5B: Identity management company Okta ($31.3B market cap) to acquire WA-based competitor Auth0 for $6.5B in stock; investors last valued Auth0 at $1.9B for a $120M round in July; the companies expect the deal to close in the first half of the year; Auth0 previously raised $332M

$5B: Coursera, which enables educational institutions to offer classes online, plans to file for IPO; the offering could value Coursera at $5B; private investors last valued the firm at $2.4B for a $130M Series F in July; raised $443M to date

$1B: Sweden-based fintech firm Klarna raised $1B on a $31B post-money valuation; CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski notes the company initially planned to raise $500M but found there was significant demand; Klarna partners with merchants to let users pay for goods in installments; has raised $3.1B to date

$400M: UK-based online events startup Hopin raises $400M on a $5.6B post-money valuation led by Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst, and IVP; A16z’s Sriram Krishnan joins the board; Hopin provides enterprise tools for hosting virtual live gatherings; has raised $571.4M to date

$279M: Square acquires a majority stake in music streaming service Tidal for $297M cash and stock; Tidal is co-owned by several artists including Jay Z, Beyoncé, and Rihanna; as part of the arrangement, Jay Z will join Square’s board; follows a partnership between Jay Z and Square CEO Jack Dorsey to establish ₿trust, a bitcoin endowment fund

$265M: Instacart raises $265M at a $39B valuation, more than double its $17.7B valuation for a $200M round in October; Pitchbook data indicates only one private US firm has a higher valuation: SpaceX at $74B; A16Z, Sequoia, and other participated; the company is preparing for an IPO; raised $2.7B to date

$216M: Social commerce platform Vestiaire Collective, which enables users to buy and sell used luxury fashion items, raises $216M at a $1B-plus valuation; the platform offers buyer-to-seller direct shipping, but also offers a vetting service for authentication and condition control; saw 140k new listings per week, on average, during 2020

€190M: Rohlik, a Czech Republic-based grocery delivery firm, raises €190M; the company operates across Czechia, Hungary, and Austria, with plans to expand into Germany, Poland, Romania, and more; raised ~$266M to date

$170M: Deliverr, which provides fulfillment services for e-commerce companies, raises $170M Series D; the firm charges businesses for storing and shipping; offers consumers expedited shipping at no extra cost; raised $241M to date

$50M: Mobility firm Lime says it will spend $50M to expand its network of e-bikes; Lime also says it plans to launch bikes in a dozen new cities by 2022; the company is rolling out a new e-bike model this summer featuring a swappable 350-watt battery, promising a range of up to 25 miles

€30M: Netherlands-based online grocery firm Crisp raises €30M Series B; Crisp operates via a smartphone app, offering next-day deliveries; has raised $51.3M to date

28.2M: Spotify to surpass Apple in podcast listeners this year, according to eMarketer, which expects Spotify to reach 28.2M monthly podcast listeners in the US, and Apple to top out at 28M; eMarketer expects Spotify's lead to widen in coming years; the market research firm predicts the podcasting industry overall will see 117.8M US listeners per month this year, on average

€20M: Estonia-based mobility firm Bolt raises €20M; the company offers ride-hailing, bike-sharing, food delivery and more across multiple markets; has raised ~$617M to date

Zoom ($119B market cap) FQ4 beats: $882.5M revenue, up 369% ($811.8M expected); $1.22 EPS (adjusted, $0.79 expected); 467.1k business clients with 10-plus employees, up 470%; 1M paid seats for audio calling service Zoom Phone; the firm expects $900M-$905M revenue for FQ1

📰 What’s going on

Amazon opens its first cashierless store in the UK; the Amazon Fresh site in Ealing, London makes use of the company’s Just Walk Out tech, which automatically charges purchases as a customer leaves the store; the 2.5k square feet site offers fresh food and groceries

Twitter launches audio chatroom feature Spaces on Android (beta); the company previously limited the experience to select users on iOS; the Android implementation currently prevents users from creating their own rooms, but Twitter expects to add the functionality soon; Clubhouse, which kicked off interest in social audio, remains limited to select iOS users

Twitter is developing an “undo send” feature for tweets; when a tweet is sent, the user has a short period of time to press an undo button; earlier rumors have suggested such a feature could be included in a subscription tier

Uber spins out robotic delivery unit Postmates X as Serve Robotics, branded after Postmates X's delivery robot; Head of Postmates X Ali Kashani leads the new firm, which is in the process of raising a Series A; Uber acquired Postmates for $2.65B last summer and announced division layoffs in January

Google announces new Chrome release cadence, will ship a new milestone every four weeks, down from six; Mozilla similarly accelerated the Firefox release schedule last year; Google is also offering a new Extended Stable version, which will update every eight weeks (for enterprises and other users that don't want frequent updates) 

WhatsApp adds voice and video calling support to its desktop app (previously available to a limited set of users); calls are end-to-end encrypted; currently supports one-to-one calls only, though WhatsApp says it will introduce group conversations at a later date; rolling out now for macOS and Windows 

Instagram launches Live Rooms, enabling up to four users to livestream together; the company previously launched two-person streams; Instagram said Live Rooms could facilitate talk shows, live shopping experiences, musician jam sessions, more; the company plans to roll out new moderation tools and audio features in coming months

Netflix updates its iOS app with Fast Laughs: a TikTok-like feed of vertical video clips from the platform's stand-up specials, comedy features, and TV shows; users can share clips via social media; features up to 100 curated clips per day

Apple launches a tool to let users transfer their iCloud Photos to a third-party service such as Google Photos; available via the company’s privacy website the feature lets users create a copy of their photos and videos on the chosen platform; the transfer process takes between three to seven days, and it does not delete the iCloud images

Apple plans to launch an iPad featuring an OLED panel next year; the company will add the display to a 10.9-inch iPad; it’s also considering adding an OLED screen to its 12.9-inch iPad Pro; additionally, Apple is exploring whether to introduce OLED to its MacBook Pro lineup

Apple to launch four iPhone 13 models with the same display sizes as the iPhone 12 lineup, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo; all will feature larger batteries and Lightning ports (rather than USB-C); the 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max reportedly will feature 120Hz displays; LiDAR will remain limited to Pro and Pro Max models. Kuo also indicated the possibility of a foldable iPhone with notch-free display in 2023

Microsoft rolls out updates for its Edge browser; includes support for vertical tabs, allowing them to be stacked at the side of the screen instead of the top; also promises a launch time that is up to 41% quicker; additionally, Edge will automatically include images for certain Bing searches, including recipes and more

Microsoft unveils Mesh: a collaborative mixed reality platform that enables users with varying devices to share a virtual space for content sharing, more; users choose avatars from AltspaceVR, which Microsoft acquired in 2017, to represent them visually; Microsoft ultimately plans for Mesh to support holoportation, or users appearing as themselves in virtual worlds; the platform targets architects, engineers, designers, etc

Microsoft announces Intelligent Speakers, a hardware device that promises to identify and automatically transcribe voices during a meeting; also works with Microsoft Teams, where can display the transcription and also show real-time translations; pricing and availability undisclosed

Microsoft launches Power Fx, an open-source low-code programming language for writing logic customization for the Power Platform, and ultimately, all of the company's low-code platforms; targets business users and accepts Excel formulas

Microsoft launches Percept: an Azure-based, end-to-end hardware and software platform enabling business clients to implement AI using edge devices from Microsoft partners, and in the cloud; the company launched the Azure Percept Vision HDK, which includes a camera for computer vision tasks; Microsoft also launched the Azure Percept Audio HDK 

Microsoft announces end-to-end encryption for Teams; the company will introduce the feature in preview for commercial users in the first half of this year; Microsoft currently encrypts data when it's in transit and at rest

UK-based food delivery service Deliveroo announces plans for a London IPO; the company will list using a dual-class share structure, giving co-founder CEO Will Shu significant voting power; the setup will last for three years; unclear when Deliveroo will go public; it was last valued at $7B

Berlin-based chauffeur-hailing company Blacklane launches black car service in New York City, plans to launch in numerous cities within a month; targets business customers, offering premium and luxury vehicles, bag handling services, etc; last month, Blacklane acquired Jaguar Land Rover's all-electric chauffeur service, Havn; raised $77M to date

Atlassian ($59.4B market cap) to acquire cloud-based data analytics and visualization company Chartio; terms undisclosed; Chartio's product will shut down on March 1, 2022; Atlassian plans to incorporate Chartio's tech across its platform, and will start with Jira; Atlassian Head of Product - Experience Platform Zoe Ghani said her company's products contained a treasure trove of data; Chartio previously raised $6.8M

Moscow’s metro train network introduces a facial recognition payments system; the tech automatically charges passengers as they approach a ticket booth; customers must have a Russian bank account that is linked to their biometric data; Moscow has ~200k facial recognition cameras in place throughout the city

TikTok launches Q&A feature globally; users tag their questions as Q&A items when commenting; creators can view an inbox of Q&A comments and respond with text or video; Q&A items appear on the creator's Q&A page so fans can read all answered questions

ByteDance is developing a Clubhouse-like audio app aimed at the Chinese market; Clubhouse was blocked in China last month; since then multiple other companies have launched copycat apps

Xiaomi has relaunched its messaging app MiTalk as a Clubhouse-like platform; the previous version of MiTalk, which had been around since 2010 and was primarily text based, shut down last month; the new MiTalk is audio centric and is being targeted at professionals; as with Clubhouse, listeners can request to participate in a live conversation

👩🏾‍💻 Good reads

Psychological principles every Product Designer should know. Fabricio Teixeira shares examples about the 5 most common cognitive biases

Reinventing existing vs creating new Markets, by PeteFlint, partner at NfX. While creating new markets often creates the biggest outcomes, this framework will help you play to your strengths and have a good chance of defining or redefining a category

“Beacons” investment memo. Analysis on a Linktree alternative that could have a big impact on creators’ ability to not just build audiences, or products, but full, Multi-SKU businesses. Even if you are not interested in the product, this is a great, methodical analysis that can serve you as an example to dive deeper into your product’s ecosystem

Public roadmaps. Pros and cons of having your product or company’s roadmap open for anyone to peek, and some great examples (Slack, Trello, Buffer)

Why your entire company should talk to customers weekly. Inessa Lurye from Amplitude shares a lightweight process to engage customers, and some insights on how it can benefit your company

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