el producto #228 🚀

UX gaps, Google I/O announcements, Twitter premium, Robinhood to allow pre-IPO investments, Discovery interviews, Purpose-led experiences & more

🎰 The week in figures

$9B: Amazon is in talks to acquire MGM for $9B

$900M: Berlin’s Trade Republic raises $900M at a $5B+ valuation to take its neobroker app across Europe

$850M: Twilio to acquire Seattle-based texting services company Zipwhip for $850M in cash and stock; Zipwhip enables business clients to send and receive text messages using landlines, toll-free numbers, and VoIP services; the firm will join Twilio’s Messaging Business Unit

$368M: Beta Technologies, which is developing an electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing vehicle, raises $368M Series A from Amazon's Climate Pledge Fund and others; the funding will enable the company to build a factory and deliver its first vehicles to the Air Force in 2023

$335M: Back Market, a marketplace for refurbished electronics, raises $335M Series D at a $3.2B valuation; the firm, based in Paris and Brooklyn, claims 1.5k businesses selling on the platform and 5M customers around the world; Back Market plans to use the funding to expand into new markets

$250M: Miami-based Pipe, a trading platform for recurring revenue streams, brought in $250M. The round sets a $2B valuation for the 2-year-old startup, which provides a platform enabling SaaS companies to turn monthly or quarterly subscriptions into upfront cash flow

$200M: Mumbai-based ed-tech firm Eruditus acquires CA-based coding and tech camp iD Tech for $200M; to date, Eruditus has focused on higher ed and corporate skills programs; iD Tech focuses on K-12, offering courses and certifications in robotics, game development, design, more; iD Tech will continue to operate independently

$200M: Lyra Health, which helps large companies offer their employees mental health benefits, is raising $200M at a $4.6B valuation; investors reportedly last valued the firm at $2.3B for a $187M Series E in January; the company facilitates virtual therapy sessions and more

$185M: Forte, which offers a blockchain-based platform for video game economies and NFTs, raises $185M Series A at a $1B valuation; the firm provides infrastructure for in-game tokens, wallets, and converting game-specific currencies to other cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum 

$175M: DailyPay, a flexible payroll system enabling workers to access their earned wages at any time, raises $175M Series D at a $1B-plus valuation; the firm also raised $325M in debt; DailyPay serves 300+ companies, including Kroger and DollarTree

$99M: Chicago-based Amount, which helps financial institutions and banks to modernize their systems and services, raises $99M Series D at a $1B-plus valuation; develops retail banking and point-of-sale tech; customers include HSBC and TD Bank

$80M: London-based Uncapped, which provides upfront revenue to digital companies, raises $80M

21%: Android ad spending has increased 21% since Apple released iOS 14.5 with increased controls over consumer data collection and tracking; 63.5% to 83.2% percent of iOS 14.5 users have opted out of tracking

📰 What’s going on

Robinhood announces IPO Access, a new product enabling retail investors to purchase IPO-priced shares from companies before they've listed on a public exchange; Robinhood will work with investment banks to reserve shares; customers will submit requests to buy at initial prices, then have the option to confirm or cancel purchases at final pricing

Twitter to brand its premium subscription service as Blue and charge $3 per month; features reportedly will include the ability to unsend tweets and to create collections of tweets

Clubhouse makes its Android app available globally; the company launched the beta Android app in the US last week, more than a year after launching for iOS; the international rollout will start with Japan, Brazil, and Russia on Tuesday

Amazon to fold Prime Now into its main app and shut down the Prime Now app and website by the end of the year; Amazon launched the service in 2014, offering Prime members two-hour deliveries of essential goods; customers will see Prime Now options on Amazon's site and primary app

Amazon makes its high-fidelity music service, Amazon Music HD, available for no additional cost to Music Unlimited subscribers; now runs $10/month for customers without the Unlimited subscription; the company previously charged $15 per month for Music HD, $13 for members of Prime

Amazon launches free, ad-supported streaming service MiniTV within the Amazon India app; initially features pre-existing content such as comedy shows, web series, cooking episodes, more; some of the content, within tech, fashion, and other categories, includes information about products

Google I/O event:

  • Launched Android 12 beta with a dynamic UI that can adjust colors based on time of day and more

  • Unveiled Smart Canvas, which brings Workspace apps together with videoconferencing for collaborative editing;

  • Announced a partnership with Samsung to create a unified smartwatch platform enabling developers to create apps that run on Tizen and Wear OS

  • Revealed that it's working with automakers to launch a digital key feature for Android 12; users will be able to lock, unlock, and start their cars using their phones; a user with an NFC-enabled vehicle will be able to unlock the door by tapping a phone against it

Google announces a new Quantum AI campus in Santa Barbara, plans to develop a commercial-grade quantum computer by 2029; the company expects to invest billions in the project, which targets a 1M-qubit machine that can perform large-scale business and scientific tasks without error

Apple plans new wireless earbuds called Beats Studio Buds, according to references in iOS 14.6; reportedly will offer noise cancellation and "Hey, Siri" support, and will come with a smart charging case; Apple is likely to launch the buds alongside iOS 14.6 and Apple Music Lossless later this month or in early June

China-based Shein, a fashion e-commerce company focused on apparel for women and children, passes Amazon as the most-installed shopping app in the US for iOS and Android; the firm controls its production chain and rapidly follows market trends in various countries

Location tech Foursquare acquires Unfolded, a location data platform offering visualization and more; terms undisclosed; customers use Unfolded to manage and unify geospatial data; Foursquare will integrate the tech into its Foursquare Everywhere product, offering scalable location services

Squarespace launched IPO at $48 per share in Wednesday direct listing, closed first day down 9.1%

Snap unveils the fourth-generation Spectacles with AR, limited to AR effects creators; the voice-controlled headset features a touch panel for selecting AR effects; the company also committed $3.5M to Ghost, a new AR innovation lab intended to support AR effects creators. Snap will also acquire WaveOptics, a startup that designs and manufactures waveguides for AR wearable, for about $500M

Samsung showcases new flexible display concepts at the Display Week event currently underway in San Jose; among the designs were a double-folding OLED panel that collapses in a Z configuration, a retracting OLED display, and a 17-inch folding panel for tablets; the company also revealed a laptop display with an integrated camera

Cloudflare is testing a CAPTCHA alternative called CAP (Cryptographic Attestation of Personhood); rather than asking the user to click all images with a given object in them, like CAPTCHA, CAP supports hardware security keys such as YubiKeys; the system could ultimately use smartphones as verification devices, and laptop users could verify via NFC

📚 Good reads

Define, design, and deliver purpose-led experiences, by HBR. Growth strategies that are purpose-led, customer-centric, experience-driven, data/AI-enabled, and technology-scaled require new mindsets far more than new toolsets or skillsets. First, big-P purpose describes the company’s role in the world. Second, medium-P purpose depicts its role in the lives of customers. Finally, small-p encompasses all the intents, needs, questions, or desired outcomes that might compel a customer to engage your company

Your tech startup is a glorified consultancy, by Chuck Groom. Less is more when it comes to product development and startups. It’s better to deliver one product with 20% of the features that 80% of your customers use regularly, instead of chasing bespoke offerings for each customer”

Teresa Torres published her new book Continuous Discovery Habits, a guide to a structured and sustainable approach to continuous discovery. In the words of Marty Cagan: “I can tell you she put serious hours and effort into this book, and it fills a real gap in the available offerings. I view it as an important complement to INSPIRED” (Marty’s book)

Nir Eyal’s Q&A with Jackie Bavaro, author of Cracking the PM Career—a guide to the skills, frameworks, and practices you need to become a great product manager

Net $ churn != customer churn. Crunchbase explains why it’s important to focus on “net dollar retention” or “net dollar churn”, when NOT to use it, and how to do so

How to prepare Discovery interviews. Discovery interviews can be extra helpful when your “next” customer segments are different to your “now” segments. Jase Clamp shares some useful advice.

7 blind spots that sabotage the User Experience. Alex Kreger shares the 7 main experience gaps that can sabotage the creation of digital products, as well as the 7 bridges that can help to avoid and solve them. “If a brand is aware of these blind spots, it can instantly gain a significant market advantage over its competitors who are still in the blind spot”

Have a great weekend.


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