el producto #224 🚀

Finding Product-Market fit, New Apple products, Startup failure insights, Reddit & Facebook audio products, Q1 financials, Behind Stripe's growth & more

Welcome to a new edition of el producto!

🎰 The week in figures

$35.8B: Automation software company UiPath closed NYSE debut at $69 per share after pricing at $56; up 23% with a $35.8B market cap; UiPath reported $608M revenue for a 12-month period ending in January

$3.1B: China plans to establish a ~$3.1B supercomputing center to analyze data for several industries, including space and marine research; situated in the city of Wenchang, the facility is expected to be operational next year

$850M: Mastercard ($379B market cap) to acquire Seattle-based identity verification company Ekata for $850M; serves financial firms, marketplaces, merchants, and others, providing API access to an AI-powered platform that detects red flags during account setups, transactions, etc

$250M: Fintech firm Rapyd is raising ~$250M on a ~$5B valuation; Rapyd, which offers a payments platform that integrates with other apps, has previously raised $470M

$240M: Chicago-based sales and marketing platform ActiveCampaign raises $240M Series C on a ~$3B valuation; ActiveCampaign, which offers its services to SMEs, has raised $360M to date

$160M: Bangalore-based Razorpay (YC W15), which powers customer purchases and automates payments to vendors and employees, raises $160M Series E at a $3B valuation; investors valued the firm at a little over $1B for a $100M Series D in October, making Razorpay the first India-based Y Combinator participant to reach unicorn status; also offers corporate cards and working capital

$156M: Deel, which provides payroll and other tools for companies with remote teams, raises $156M Series C at a $1.25B valuation; the firm claimed a 20x increase in revenue last year

$125M: Chargebee, an enterprise subscription revenue management platform, raises $125M Series G on a $1.4B valuation; Chargebee, which has offices in India and the US, has raised $230M to date

$115M: BlaBlaCar, which facilitates long-distance carpooling, raises $115M; the note will convert at a $2B valuation if the firm doesn't raise or go public by the expiration date; the company has added bus ticketing and management, and plans to add train features

$85M: API platform Hive raises $85M Series D on a $2B valuation; Hive offers APIs for AI training datasets; has raised $121M to date

$80M: UK-based fintech firm Zilch raises $80M Series B on a $500M. Offers “buy now, pay later” services using soft background credit checks

$80M: Overtime, which distributes sports content across social media, raises $80M Series C; the company announced last month it was starting a teen basketball league that would pay 16- to 18-year-old players at least $100k per year, each; raised $115M to date

$72M: Productboard, which helps product managers understand users' needs and product teams to create roadmaps, raises $72M Series C; the system organizes development around customer insights and routes ideas, requests, and feedback to appropriate team members

$60M: RapidAPI, a marketplace for APIs, raises $60M Series C; the platform helps developers to discover and connect with APIs for currency conversion, file storage, statistics, more; also offers a white-label private API marketplace solution for enterprises 

$25M: Revolut announces an expansion into India; the firm has hired Paroma Chatterjee, who previously held executive roles at Flipkart and Lendingkart, to oversee the operation; Revolut says it will invest $25M in the country over 5 years and launch the app in the market in 2022

💸 Q1 financials

Netflix ($243B market cap) Q1 beats on earnings and revenue, misses on new paid subscribers; $7.16B revenue ($7.13B expected); $3.75 EPS ($2.97 expected); 3.98M new subscribers (global, net - 6.2M expected); Netflix cited the pandemic's impact on content production and said the second half of the year would see the return of multiple franchises

Snap ($86B market cap) Q1 beats: $770M revenue ($744M expected); $0.0 EPS (adjusted, $0.06 loss expected); 280M DAU (275M expected); $2.74 average revenue per user ($2.72 expected)

Intel ($255B market cap) Q1 beats: $18.57B revenue (adjusted, $17.9B expected); $1.39 EPS (adjusted, $1.15 expected); $10.61B Client Computing revenue; $5.56B Data Center revenue; $377M Mobileye revenue

Next week’s preview:

  • Alphabet (Tuesday); Expected Q1 revenue: $51.6B, +25%; EPS: $15.50

  • Microsoft (Tuesday); Expected Q1 revenue: $40.847B, +16.6%; EPS: $1.78

  • Pinterest (Tuesday); Expected Q1 revenue: $475M, +75%; EPS: 0.07

  • Apple (Wednesday); Expected Q1 revenue: $76.9B, +32%; EPS: 0.99

  • Facebook (Wednesday); Expected Q1 revenue: $23.689B, +33.8%; EPS $2.36

  • Amazon (Thursday); Expected Q1 revenue: $104.6B, +38.5%; EPS $9.58

  • Twitter (Thursday); Expected Q1 revenue: $1.03B, +27%; EPS: 0.14 

📰 What’s going on

Spotify plans to launch a service that competes with Apple’s Podcasts Subscriptions; Spotify will let podcasters charge for premium content, but unlike Apple, it will not collect any fees; listeners who subscribe via the Spotify app on an Apple device will be routed to Spotify’s website, bypassing App Store charges

Instagram introduces new tools to let users automatically filter out direct messages that contain offensive words and phrases; the social platform is also adding an option to let users block new accounts from those that have previously harassed them

Mark Zuckerberg revealed the audio products Facebook expects to launch in coming months:

  • Live Audio Rooms will provide a Clubhouse-like experience

  • Soundbites will let users post and consume short audio clips

  • Podcasts will enable creators to promote and consumers to discover and play podcasts

  • Spotify integration with Facebook

    Facebook will begin testing Live Audio Rooms in Groups, and expects the feature will be available to all users via the Facebook mobile app this summer

Reddit reveals details about social audio feature Reddit Talk, begins accepting applications from subreddit moderators; moderators will have the ability to create discussions, invite co-hosts, block users, more; users will communicate with emojis and tap a "raise hand" button to request an invite to speak in an audio chat

Google announces changes to its Meet UI for desktop users; promises improvements to the navigation bar, updates to presentations, a better low-light mode, and more; the updates will roll out next month

Google Earth launched a time-lapse feature, enabling users to see Earth’s changes over the past 37 years

Amazon begins testing its palm-scan payments system, Amazon One, at a Whole Foods in Seattle; Amazon previously deployed One at Amazon Go and Amazon Books locations in the area; a customer can sign up for the service at a store and associate a payment card with their palm scan

Amazon is testing a merchant tool for sending marketing emails to customers who have followed the merchant; Amazon is currently limiting the Manage Your Customer Engagement tool to sellers under the Brand Registry program; historically, Amazon has limited seller-customer communications 

Twitter begins testing Professional Profiles; the feature gives companies, creators, and nonprofits an About section where they can add specific information about their operations; unclear if or when it will roll out wider

Twitter is developing monetization features for users; screenshots reveal a "$" button on Professional Profiles (giving visitors multiple options for sending money), a Tip Jar for social audio feature Spaces, and a new Super Follow button to give paid users access to paywalled content

Twitter rolls out support for 4K image uploads via iOS and Android; users must enable the feature via the data usage section of the settings menu; the company’s web app has supported high-res images for some time

Microsoft plans to launch its cloud desktop service as soon as June; codenamed Project Deschutes, the Azure-powered service will allow users to remotely access virtual Windows 10 machines from a variety of devices, use Office software, more

Microsoft launches Xbox Cloud Gaming as a limited beta for PC and iOS/iPadOS; works via Edge, Chrome, and Safari browsers; the game-streaming service has been available on Android since last year

Ride-hailing firm Gett signs a partnership with taxi-booking app Curb Mobility; terms undisclosed, but the arrangement will make traditional cabs available to Gett users; Gett primarily offers its service to enterprise customers

Magic Leap plans to launch its second-generation AR headset in limited quantities by the end of the year, and to expand availability in 2022; the device is smaller and lighter than its predecessor, has an expanded field of view, and is designed for long sessions in professional environments; the firm is no longer targeting consumers

Venmo adds a crypto trading feature to its app; lets users purchase and sell bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin, and bitcoin cash; Venmo’s parent firm PayPal added crypto support last year 

PayPal says it will establish a cross-border payments app in China; Hannah Qiu, CEO of PayPal China, says the app will not directly compete with local players such as WeChat or Alipay, but instead cooperate with them; PayPal is the only foreign-based company that fully owns its Chinese operations

Sourcery launched a tool that works as a Grammarly for Python. It analyzes code, finds issues, and suggests changes to make it cleaner and more readable

🍏 Apple event and updates

New products and services:

  • iMac with M1 chip; the 24-inch unit features a 4.5K Retina Display and 1080p camera; starts a $1.3k, seven colors available; pre-orders open April 30, ships in the second half of May

  • iPad Pro lineup with M1 chip, eight-core CPU, 5G, and Thunderbolt port; the 11-inch model will start at $800 and the 12.9-inch model at $1100; the larger model features a Liquid Retina XDR display (mini-LED); pre-orders open April 30, ships in the second half of May

  • Apple TV 4K, launching April 30 and starting at $180; features an A12 Bionic chip for higher HDR frame rates, Dolby Vision at 60 frames per second over AirPlay, more; can automatically adjust color output based on data from an iPhone's light sensor 

  • AirTag item tracker, available on April 30 for $30 ($100 for a four-pack); works with Apple's Find My app, and the user can cause the tag to play a sound; Apple will offer keyring holders for the tags and is working with third parties on other accessories

  • Podcast Subscriptions, launching in May in the Podcasts app; creators will set monthly and annual rates and listeners will subscribe to shows individually; the Apple Podcasters Program, which enables creators to publish on the platform, will run $20 per year. Apple will take 30% of a podcaster's revenue for the first year, 15% thereafter

  • Apple Card Family, enabling partners and spouses to build credit together and allow kids over 13 to use the account; will also offer spending limits and other features for controlling spending; launching next month

  • iOS 14.5, macOS 11.3, and watchOS 7.4 to launch next week; the updates prepare the devices for compatibility with AirTags and new Podcast features; iOS 14.5 features App Tracking Transparency, which requires apps to get user permission before collecting data for tracking purposes. Starting April 26, the App Store will reject apps that do not use the company's App Tracking Transparency framework 

Apple’s new TV remote will be included with 2021 Apple TV, as well as being sold separately for $60; the device is backwards compatible, able to work with the 2017 Apple TV and Apple TV HD

Apple also plans a 2021 MacBook Pro with MagSafe charging, an HDMI port, SD card slot, and function keys rather than a Touch Bar, according to schematics purportedly stolen from Apple supplier Quanta; the details line up with earlier reports and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo's expectations; cybercrime group REvil has threatened to release more stolen documents if Apple doesn't pay a ransom

Apple to update iMessage to better compete with Facebook's products; the firm reportedly will unveil iOS 15 at WWDC in June and demonstrate redesigned notifications and an updated Lock Screen, as well as a new iPad Home Screen

Apple extended again a commission-free period for apps that offer paid online classes and events; the company initially set a Dec 31 2020 deadline, which it later shifted to June 30 2021; new deadline before paying commission is Dec 31 2021

📚 Good reads

Failing to fail: behavioral insights behind startup failure. There is an often overlooked commonality behind startup business failures, which can be analyzed through behavioral lenses

A guide to finding PMF. Great read on product-market fit. Companies tend to define PMF in blurry ways (if at all). Casey Winters shares 2 clear approaches based on retention and growth

Under the hood at Stripe. Stripe recently became the most highly valued private venture-backed company in the US. Crunchbase takes a look at the factors driving its growth, the competitive landscape, and the company’s increasingly large appetite for making startup investments of its own

The MVP tree: a critical first step in fulfilling a startup’s mission, by Shawn Carolan. It’s commonly believed that the top two reasons startups fail is because “there’s no market need” and “they ran out of cash.”  These reasons are mental gymnastics to avoid a plain truthstartups fail when they don’t build a simple solution to a problem many people have

Customer problem stack ranking: how Stripe validate new Product ideas. A tool to help you to validate ideas, find product-market fit and build solutions that customers love. Check out the brilliant Twitter thread that lead to this article

Diversity and Inclusion in Product: a long overdue conversation, by Product School founder. What is going wrong, what are companies doing, and why it matters to make it a top priority

Closing the feedback loop. Kareem Mayan shares practical advice on managing customer feedback loops, and how it can add value to product development

Product direction - book summary. Nacho Bassino gives us a brief summary of his recently published book

Have a great weekend.


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