el producto #222 🚀

TrueLayer & Plaid funding, Didi IPO prep, Facebook data breach, Clubhouse monetisation & funding, Design debt & UX audits, Kubernetes intro, Google & Spotify car apps & more

Welcome to a new edition of el producto!

🎰 The week in figures

$2T: The total cryptocurrency market cap passes $2T for the first time; Bitcoin, which has risen ~100% this year, led the surge, maintaining a ~$1T market cap for one week; Ethereum, up ~190% for the year, recently saw its market cap reach $244B

$125B: Worldwide venture funding has nearly doubled YoY reaching $125B, and grew by half QoQ in Q1 2021. On average, two startups crossed the unicorn valuation threshold each working day during the first three months of the year

$100B: Didi Chuxing has hired Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to oversee its upcoming IPO; the company is seeking a valuation of $100B+; Didi plans to confidentially file for a US listing and could go public as soon as July

$22.2B: Consumers around the world collectively spent $22.2B on mobile games in Q1, up 25% YoY; the App Store represented $13B (up 21% YoY), and Google Play, $9.2B (up 31%); the top three earners were "PUBG mobile," "Honor of Kings," and "Genshin Impact"

$35B: Singapore-based superapp Grab is set to go public via a SPAC merger with Altimeter Capital in a deal worth ~$35B; as part of the arrangement grab will raise $2.5B; an official announcement is expected as soon as this week

$4B: Clubhouse is in talks to raise funding at a $4B valuation; the audio-centric social network raised at a $1B valuation in January. Twitter recently held talks to acquire the company for the same amount. This week clubhouse introduced a monetization feature, allowing users to send payments to creators; powered by Stripe, Clubhouse Payments passes along 100% of the money to the intended creator and takes nothing itself from the transaction

$2.5B: MasterClass, an edtech service featuring notable experts, is raising new funds on a $2.5B valuation; MasterClass’ last round was in May 2020, when it was reportedly valued at $800M

$2.1B: Fintech firm Alkami Technology to raise as much as ~$2.1B via its upcoming IPO; the TX-based company has set a guide price of $22 to $25 per share; Alkami provides cloud-based tools that underpin digital offerings from numerous financial institutions

$800M: Coinbase reports first-quarter profits of $730M-$800M on $1.8B in revenue; the report will likely drive the firm's share price ahead of an April 14 direct listing on the Nasdaq; the company also reported 6.1M MAU

$800M: On-demand food delivery company Swiggy raises ~$800M at a reported $4.9B valuation; last year, the firm cut jobs and scaled back its cloud kitchens initiative to weather the pandemic; raised $2.2B to date

533M: Hacker dumps personal data belonging to 533M Facebook users; the data, representing users across 106 countries, includes names, locations, dates of birth, and more; Facebook said perpetrators scraped the data before the company issued a patch to block access in 2019. Data for the Prime Minister of Luxembourg Xavier Bettel and multiple EU officials is included in the breach. Facebook did not inform affected users about a data breach in 2019, and says it has no plans to notify them their information has now been made public

$502M: India-based social platform ShareChat raises $502M on a ~$2.1B valuation; ShareChat has 160M users in the country, and its TikTok-like app Moj claims 120M

500M: Cybercriminals scrape LinkedIn to collect personal data from 500M accounts, offer the cache for sale; the perpetrators posted 2M records as proof; LinkedIn confirmed that publicly accessible information from LinkedIn was included in the data, but said it appeared to be aggregated with data from other sources

$500M: Cloud storage platform Box raises $500M; Box will use the investment to buy back shares from some of its investors

$425M: Fintech firm Plaid raises $425M Series D; the investment values Plaid at ~$13.4B; Visa canceled its $5.3B takeover of Plaid following a legal challenge by the Department of Justice

$300M: India-based online marketplace Meesho raises $300M Series E on a $2.1B post-money valuation; the company connects buyers and sellers via social platforms such as WhatsApp and Instagram; has raised $515M to date

$250M: Uber and Lyft offer driver incentives to get more vehicles on the road as demand begins to recover from the pandemic; Uber announced a $250M driver stimulus program to boost driver earnings and to bring back drivers who stopped contracting due to low and irregular demand; Lyft has been offering bonuses of up to $800 for returning drivers, covering the costs of rental vehicles, more

$200M: Enterprise software company OneStream raises $200M Series B at a $6B valuation; the firm provides tools and services for managing financial operations; covers planning, reporting, analysis, more

$160M: Subtitle translation firm Iyuno-SDI raises $160M; Iyuno-SDI offers cloud-based media localization tools across 34 countries

$155M: Creator support platform Patreon raises $155M Series F on a $4B valuation; the firm was valued at $1.2B when it raised $90M last September; has raised ~$413M to date

$150M: Miami-based Pipe, a platform for trading recurring revenue as an asset, raises $150M at a $2B valuation; investors on the platform pay a discounted rate for recurring revenue streams, enabling SaaS startups to access revenue up front, rather than in monthly payments

$120M: Fashion marketplace Otrium raises $120M Series C; enables designer brands to offer unsold inventory at outlet prices; plans to use funding for expansion to the US

$115M:Ramp, which provides a corporate card and spend management tools, raises $115M at a $1.6B valuation led by Stripe; the company also disclosed that its annual transaction rate is nearing $1B; raised $320M to date

$100M: SendBird, a communications platform for websites and apps, raises $100M Series C at a $1.05B valuation; provides APIs for integrating messaging, chat, video calling, more; raised $221M to date

$100M: India-based messaging platform Gupshup raises $100M on a $1.4B valuation; Gupshup, which has experimented with various chat products since it launched in 2004, last raised money a decade ago

$100M: Phenom, which provides a recruiting and HR platform, raises $100M Series D at a $1.3B valuation; the recruitment software provides tools for companies and jobseekers, and uses AI for personalization and automation; raised $160M to date

$100M: Home fitness company Tempo is raising $100M+ at a <$1B valuation; the company provides an AI-powered hardware system with sensors and display; users exercise along with videos of coaches and the system counts repetitions, analyzes form, more

$100M: Crypto financial services NYDIG raises $100M; the firm disclosed a $200M round in March; NYDIG develops custody and investment products for institutional investors; raised $405M to date

$71M: Graphic design platform Canva raises $71M at a $15B valuation, up from $6B in June 2020; the profitable firm now claims 55M MAU and a 130% YoY jump in revenue

$70M: UK-based fintech firm TrueLayer raises $70M Series D; the company offers a platform for building financial services apps; has raised $142M to date

$66M: Germany-based no-code development platform Bryter raises $66M; the startup will use the investment to expand to the US; has raised ~$90M to date

$30M: Alyce, a Boston-based corporate gifting firm, raises $30M Series B; Alyce recommends products from its marketplace based on a recipients tastes; has raised $46.8M to date

9.5M: Robinhood claims 9.5M people used its platform to trade crypto assets in Q1 2021; the figure is up from 1.7M in Q4 2020, a difference of 458%

81% of Americans said they watched YouTube in 2020, making it not only the most popular video service of any kind but the most widely used digital service, well ahead even of Facebook

📰 What’s going on

Spotify app code reveals new details about the company's Car Thing, a voice-controlled music and podcast player that mounts on a vehicle's dash; the company previously said the product was for testing purposes only, but has filed with the FCC and modified the design since revealing Car Thing in 2019

Revolut will allow staff to work overseas for up to two months within a 12 month period; the company will roll out the policy once international COVID-19 travel restrictions have lifted; staff not bound by certain regulations can work from home on a permanent basis if they choose

Apple updates the Russian version of iOS to offer Russian-made apps during the setup process; a Russian law passed in 2019, which went into effect on April 1, requires device makers to pre-install or offer Russian apps during setup

Apple updates the Find My app to support third-party products; the firm recently launched a testing app for developing such devices; the first products to take advantage of the integration are Belkin's Soundform earbuds and the Chipolo One Spot item tracker, both of which launch next week

Apple to begin enforcing its new privacy notification policy with the launch of iOS 14.5 in coming weeks; will require third-party apps to get explicit permission from users before accessing data about the use of other apps and sites; Facebook and others have said the change would impact ad sales and targeting

Procter & Gamble (P&G) is working with China-based tech companies and trade groups to develop ad-tech that could possibly bypass upcoming iOS privacy adjustments; the system, known as CAID, promises to let marketers still gather user behavior data despite Apple’s software changes; P&G says it’s providing input, but has not said whether it will use CAID

Google announces I/O 2021 for May 18–20; the company canceled the 2020 event due to the pandemic and this year's will be virtual; at I/O 2019, the company unveiled the Pixel 3A and the Nest Hub Max smart display

Google begins accepting Play Store submissions for Android Auto apps focused on navigation, parking, and charging; Google previously limited Android Auto submissions to messaging and media categories

Facebook's New Product Experimentation team launches Hotline: a crowd Q&A platform that allows users to vote on which questions a host should answer; hosts can bring viewers into the conversation, play videos, more; hosts can record sessions for rebroadcasting

Stripe opens an office in Dubai, its first in the Middle East; it will work with regional payments firm Network International to expand its operations in the UAE

Encrypted messaging app Signal begins testing crypto-based mobile payments in the UK; makes use of MobileCoin and companion digital currency MOB; Signal notes MobileCoin’s design makes it impossible for the company to view users’ wallets

Twitch introduces a new policy allowing it to ban users that harass others, even if that activity occurs away from its platform; includes instances of violent extremism, being a member of known hate group, threats of mass violence, and more; Twitch says it will work with a third-party law firm to investigate such situations

Will.i.am partners with Honeywell for Xupermask, a $300 facemask with built-in noise-canceling headphones, Bluetooth support, and LED lights; wearers can make calls using the mask, and it also promises not to fog up glasses; available now

TikTok adds an automatically generated captions feature; includes support for American English and Japanese at launch; creators can edit captions after they’ve been produced

Snap acquired the Screenshop app from Craze last fall to power a new shopping recommendation feature in Snapchat; the app identifies products in images and recommends similar items; Snap reportedly plans to announce an e-commerce initiative in May

Japan’s central bank begins exploring the viability of a national digital currency; the initial phase of testing will focus on whether such a stablecoin would be feasible; experiments will run through March 2022

LG confirms it will stop producing smartphones; LG says the move will allow it to focus on growth areas such as parts for EVs, smart home products, and more. LG’s smartphone business has lost $4.5B over a period of almost six years; LG was the world’s third-largest smartphone company in 2013, behind Samsung and Apple

Huawei is shutting down its AI and cloud business group division after just 14 months of operation; an internal memo shows Huawei’s cloud storage operations will be moved over to its internet products and solutions unit; an unnamed Huawei employee suggests the company’s cloud strategy has struggled because it was late to the market

India-based edtech firm Byju’s announces plans to expand internationally; starting next month, Byju’s will offer online educational services the US, UK, Mexico, Brazil, and Indonesia

📚 Good reads

Clubhouse copycats. Clubhouse's social media app has been downloaded 12 million times since its 2020 debut. Here are Clubhouse's would-be challengers by LinkedIn, Facebook, Spotify, Slack, and even Reddit. Nir Eyal recently looked at how the Hooked model applies to Clubhouse

A non-tech explanation of Containers and Kubernetes. Through a simple analogy, 451 Research gives an intro to virtualization, containers, Kubernetes, and the role of each in a multicloud future

Zero-party data, the proactive opt-in approach alternative to cookies that is gaining ground, by HBR

Global benchmarks for how product teams analyze product data and user behavior. Mixpanel and Mind the Product bring a report with the latest trends for how product teams analyze product data and user behavior. They aggregated over 50B data points from more than 26,000 companies globally throughout 2020 to answer questions like: Should I explore data in greater depth to uncover trends I may be missing?

Running a UX audit. A process/strategy that can help PMs to prioritize a collection of small fixes over larger projects in an informed and user-centric way. Complement with this brief guide on measuring design debt

The UX writing process in tech — demystified. UX writing is not just words, but it is about understanding, collaborating, analyzing, and then writing

Have a great weekend.


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