el producto #223 🚀

Apple April event and smart home device, Facebook video-dating, Spotify Car Thing, Common UI mistakes, Uber and Twitch records, Amazon assembling service & more

Welcome to a new edition of el producto!

🎰 The week in figures

$92B: ByteDance is aiming to more than triple its e-commerce revenue in China from ~$26B to ~$92B this year; the company is also targeting ~$40B in ad revenue, which is 42% more than it achieved in 2020; its Douyin short video app has a goal of 680M DAU, up from the ~620M it had last month

$86B: Coinbase closed its Nasdaq debut at $328 per share with an $85.8B market cap

$19.7B: Microsoft acquires conversational AI and clinical intelligence firm Nuance Communications for $19.7B

$18B: Superapp Gojek is finalizing an agreement to merge with e-commerce firm Tokopedia in a deal that will value the combined entity at $18B; once the deal is complete it will be known as Goto

$7.4B: Stripe saw $7.4B in revenue last year, up ~70% YoY; the firm achieved a $95B post-valuation with a $600M raise in March; Stripe is preparing to go public

2B: Twitch set a new viewership record last month with 2B hours viewed, up 105% YoY; by comparison, Facebook Gaming claimed ~400M hours. Twitch says it has identified more than 7.5M bot accounts that are used to inflate engagement metrics; such bots are often used to boost a streamer’s viewership or follower count

$1B: Epic Games raises $1B at a $28.7B valuation, with Sony contributing $200M; Sony invested $250M last July at a ~$18B valuation; raised ~$4.4B to date

$1B: ed-tech company Byju's raises ~$1B at a $15B valuation; the firm is preparing to expand into the US, UK, and other international markets

$450M: SoftBank’s Vision Fund II to invest $450M in India-based food delivery firm Swiggy; the backing is an extension of an $800M round and will value the company at $5B pre-money

$250M: Banking tech company Zeta is in talks to raise $250M Series D at a $1B-plus valuation; provides an API-accessible, cloud-native banking stack and various banking services

$220M: Home fitness company Tempo raises $220M Series C; the firm produces an AI-powered hardware system with sensors and display, which counts reps and analyzes form; customers workout to coach videos; raised ~$300M to date

200M: Jeff Bezos says Amazon now has 200M Prime subscribers, up ~33% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic; Bezos shared the info in his yearly shareholders letter, his last as CEO; AWS head Andy Jassy is set to take over from Bezos in Q3 

$153M: Skills platform Degreed raises $153M on a valuation of more than $1.4B; the company offers career development and training programs to enterprise customers

$100M: UserZoom, which provides tools for evaluating UX quality, raises $100M and acquires customer feedback and user research firm EnjoyHQ; terms undisclosed; UserZoom, with an $80M ARR, serves Google, Microsoft, and Salesforce; UserZoom has raised $136M, and EnjoyHQ previously raised $2M

$100M: Social commerce company DealShare raises $100M Series D; the company launched via WhatsApp and later developed its own app and site; the firm focuses on sharable discounts and rewards

$50M: IRL, a social app that brings people together for group chats and online events, is in talks to raise $50M at a $1B valuation; investors valued the startup at $100M for a $16M round in September; raised ~$28M to date

$33M: Chili Piper, an appointment scheduling service for B2B sales teams, raises $33M Series B; claims Intuit, Spotify, and Twilio as customers; raised ~$54M to date

66k: Clubhouse expands its new Payments service to 66k more creators; all users can send payments, and Clubhouse does not take a cut; the firm began testing early this month with ~1k creators and is expanding access essentially randomly, taking into account creator activity and policy violations

Q1 earnings (starting next week):

  • Netflix (Tuesday): Expected first quarter revenue: $7.13B +24%

  • Snap (Thursday): Expected revenue: $740M +60%

  • Intel (Thursday): Expected revenue: $17.9B

📰 What’s going on

Uber says it saw record demand in March (rides and delivery); last month, Lyft said its weekly ride bookings had recovered to pre-pandemic levels

Spotify launches its first hardware device, Car Thing; the company will ship a limited number of units to select Spotify Premium users in the US, free of charge (recipients pay for shipping); the company revealed its plans to test the product in 2019; the voice-controlled gadget is not compatible with other streaming services

Google makes its enterprise-focused AppSheet Automation tool generally available; the no-code development platform is designed to let companies automate regular processes; includes the ability to automatically extract text from documents such as invoices and more

Google announces multiple updates to Assistant, including better support for finding a misplaced iPhone; using Google Home, the user can trigger a sound on the missing iPhone, even if it has Do Not Disturb enabled; Google also updated Duplex to partially automate online restaurant ordering

Apple announces "Spring Loaded" event for April 20 at 10 am Pacific; the company will stream from the Steve Jobs Theater, with no in-person audience; potential unveilings include new iPads, iMacs, Apple TV, AirTags, and headphones

Apple is developing a smart home device that combines Apple TV functionality with HomePod features and more; the product will also feature Siri and a camera which, when connected to a TV, will allow for video conferencing; Apple is also deliberating whether to launch a high-end speaker with a touch screen that may also have a camera 

Apple plans to announce new iPad Pro models as soon as this month; the 12.9-inch version will feature a MiniLED display, though supply could be limited due to low production yields

Apple likely to launch a new iPhone mini this year, but not in 2022; the 2022 lineup would comprise two 6.1-inch versions and two with 6.7-inch displays; the higher-end iPhones will feature 48MP rear cameras

Apple reveals its payment structure for artists who stream on Apple Music; the company pays rights holders $0.01 per stream, with money from listener subscriptions; comparatively, Spotify pays out one-third to one-half a cent per stream but offers a larger audience; Apple Music claims 60M paid subscribers while Spotify claims 155M paid users out of 345M total active users

Amazon is testing a premium service for assembling furniture and appliances after delivery; the company reportedly plans to introduce the service in VA and two other markets; a presentation indicated drivers would take products back immediately for unsatisfied customers

Instagram begins testing a feature to let users decide if they want to see Likes on other people’s posts; they can also choose whether to display Likes on their own content; Facebook will soon also pilot a similar feature

Facebook is testing a video-based speed dating app called Sparked, developed by the firm's NPE Team; requires a Facebook account but does not feature public profiles, direct messages, or any swiping mechanic; the app pairs users for four-minute video calls, and if they agree, for a second 10-minute date before suggesting they exchange contact information

Facebook announces Oculus Gaming Showcase for April 21; the event will be live-streamed to Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube; promises to showcase new footage from unreleased VR games, and more

User numbers for Facebook Dating are likely smaller than its competitors; recent ads indicate Facebook Dating has 278k active users in New York City and 43k in Indianapolis; Match Group claims its brands, which include Tinder and Hinge, are more active in New York City

Cryptocurrency exchange Binance launches Stock Tokens, enabling users to buy fractional shares in publicly-traded companies; the firm is beginning with Tesla stock, allowing users to purchase fractions as small as 1/100 of a share; the exchange settles prices via Binance USD

Bang & Olufsen (B&O) unveils Beosound Emerge, a Google Assistant-powered smart speaker with a book-style design; works in concert with other B&O speakers and features AirPlay 2 and Chromecast support; starts at $700, available in Europe from April 15 and then globally this fall

New York City's Department of Transportation approves Bird, Lime, and VeoRide for the city's first e-scooter pilot program; the companies plan to launch services in early summer with 1k scooters each

China-based DJI, known for its drones and camera gimbal devices, announces a smart vehicle unit; DJI Auto will develop and produce a range of products for the vehicle industry; the company says it will reveal more about the operation at the Shanghai auto show next week

📚 Good reads

The guide to joining a startup for first time. First Round Review has compiled 30 practical advice from professionals who joined successful startups at early stage

The complete list to truly understand your customers. Scott Middleton shares a useful compilation of tools and templates to boost your customer research and understanding process

Prioritization beyond algorithms. Rich Mironov puts prioritization into perspective by pointing out how we can’t sort it with a “magic sheet”, and how strategic direction has to weigh in

7 common UI mistakes. When it comes to creating high-quality products, all of the small details are crucially important.‍ Denislav Jeliazkov shares practical advice on (unfortunately too familiar) pitfalls

PM’s guide to crypto in 2021. Understanding decentralization tech, by Abhishek Chakravarty.

Have a great weekend.


El producto is a free service, but if you enjoy reading it, you can support my work and buy me a coffee 🙌

Buy me a coffee

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