el producto #233 🚀

Visa buys Tink, Facebook's Audio Rooms and visual search tools, The Creator Economy, Shopify affiliate program, Traction tactics & more

🎰 The week in figures

$9B: Confluent, which helps ~2.5k customers organize and manage data, launches its IPO price at $36 per share to raise $828M at a ~$9B valuation

$7B: Payments firm Wise (formerly TransferWise) files for an early July direct listing on the London Stock Exchange; the firm said an opening auction would determine the opening price; previous reports indicated Wise expected a valuation of $6B to $7B

$3.7B: GOAT Group, which operates sneaker marketplace GOAT and other properties, raises $195M Series F at a $3.7B valuation; the GOAT platform claims 30M members, 600k sellers, and $2B in GMV

$2.2B: Andreessen Horowitz announces the $2.2B Crypto Fund III; the firm launched its first crypto-focused fund three years ago at $300M; a16z's early crypto investments include Coinbase and Libra; the firm invested in Coinbase in 2013

$2B: Visa ($500B market cap) acquires Stockholm-based fintech firm Tink for $2B-plus; Tink connects 3.4k banks and financial institutions representing 250M European customers; the EU and UK's open banking regulations allow financial firms to access data regarding competing firms' consenting customers

$1B: Splunk ($22.9B market cap) raises $1B; Splunk also announced its new Security Cloud product, which provides tools for investigating breaches

$800M: Amsterdam-based payments platform Mollie raises $800M Series C at a $6.5B valuation; the firm expects to process ~$24B in payments this year, up 100% from last year; Mollie claims 120k monthly active merchant clients, including Acer and Deliveroo

$543: Identity authentication company Transmit Security raises $543M Series A for a $2.3B valuation; offers two password-free solutions: BindID, which allows website and app creators to display a QR code enabling users to authenticate via their mobile devices' biometric security features, and WorkID, a solution for enterprises; also offers a policy orchestration toolset called FlexID

$430M: Brazil-based payments firm Ebanx raises $430M ahead of a planned US IPO; the company expects to process a total of $7B in payments this year

$240M: Freight forwarding company Forto raises $240M at a $1.2B valuation; the company helps clients optimize their shipping processes and provides real-time shipping data; claims 2.5k clients shipping via rail, sea, and air

$225M: Cloud security firm Illumio raises $225M Series F at a $2.75B valuation; the platform segments client networks and automates the enforcement of policies to prevent cyberattacks, ransomware deployments, more; claims more than 10% of Fortune 100 companies, including Morgan Stanley and Salesforce, as customers

$200M: Software testing platform BrowserStack raises $200M Series B at a $4B valuation; the company enables customers to test their apps and sites on thousands of devices, remotely; BrowserStack claims 50k clients, including Amazon, Microsoft, and Twitter

$157M: Chicago-based G2, a marketplace for business software, raises $157M Series D; G2 offers a Yelp-like reviews platform with 1.3M ratings/reviews, tools for comparing products, more; the company claims 60M enterprise buyers visit each year 

$102M: Vercel, which develops software for building and launching sites and apps using Next.js, raises $102M Series C at a $1.1B valuation; paid clients include GitHub, IBM, and Uber; Vercel also generates links for front-end previews

$100M: SmartAsset (YC S12), a marketplace for financial advising services, raises $110M Series D at a $1B-plus valuation led by TTV Capital; the New York City-based firm also announced its one millionth customer-advisor match; SmartAsset referred $10B in new assets under management last year, and is now close to $100M in ARR

$100M: Introhive, which uses AI to help business clients identify opportunities for increased revenue and employee productivity, raises $100M Series C; Introhive's SaaS offers automated customer relationship management, warm prospect introductions, customer intelligence, more

$100M: JW Player, a video platform for running ads, streaming content, and more, raises $100M Series E; founded in 2005, the New York City-based organization now claims 1B people view videos powered by its tech each month; the company made its first acquisition last month, purchasing video streaming and VOD tech firm Vualto

$100M: Bringg, which offers last-mile delivery solutions for retailers and others, raises $100M Series E for a $1B post-valuation; the company partners with local logistics firms enabling clients to select from various delivery services, such as curbside pickup; Bringg said the funding would go toward R&D and M&A

$100M: Crypto fintech firm Amber Group raises $100M Series B at a $1B valuation; investors last valued the firm at $100M for a $28M round in 2019; Amber Group serves individual investors and institutions, offering algorithmic trading, derivatives, borrowing and lending, more

$70M: SnackPass (YC W18), a social-focused app for ordering food from restaurants for takeout, raises $70M Series B at a $400M valuation; the app lets users organize group orders, see what friends are eating, more; claims 500k users across 13 college towns

$70M: Realtime data analytics company Imply raises $70M Series C for a $700M post-valuation; the multi-cloud platform generates visualizations from streaming data; Imply's co-founders led engineering for the team that created Apache Druid, which Imply was built upon

$50M: Tonkean, a no-code platform for automating business workflows, raises $50M Series B; the drag-and-drop interface enables connections with Slack, Microsoft Teams, more; customers include Google, Instacart, and Salesforce

$48M: Blockchain tech firm Securitize raises $48M Series B; the company operates a blockchain-based platform for buying and selling equity shares and other assets; Securitize already claims 150+ companies have used the platform to find investors, and 300k investors have registered to buy shares

$38M: Nate, a shopping app that lets users purchase products from virtually any retailer and pay in installments, raises $38M Series A; the iOS app removes checkout friction and lets users send gifts via text message; Nate lets users create product collections and plans to offer affiliate-like cash-back rewards for users who get their followers to place orders

$25M: Wristcam, which sells a camera-equipped band for Apple Watch, raises $25M Series A led by Marker LLC; the $300 strap features two cameras: one for selfies and video calls, and the other for capturing what the wearer sees; supports images at 4K and video at 1080p

📰 What’s going on

Twitter begins accepting applications to test Ticketed Spaces and Super Follows; the company is limiting the tests to US users, who must file a separate application for each feature; creators can charge up to $1k per ticket for a Spaces event, and $3, $5, or $10 per month for Super Follows, which provide access to exclusive content

Google launches the Play Media Experience Program, taking a reduced app store commission (15% rather than 30) for publishers of video, music, and ebook apps who deploy across Google's platforms and use specified APIs and features; the program is separate from Google's coming policy change that will reduce the app store fee from 30 to 15% for a publisher's first $1M in Play revenue

Google is likely developing a Bluetooth-powered network for Android's Find My Device feature; the latest Play services beta adds a new Settings option enabling the user to opt-in and allow their device to help locate other users' devices; currently, Android's Find My Device requires internet connectivity

Facebook begins rolling out Live Audio Rooms in the US, allowing some groups and public figures to establish rooms via the iOS app; US users on iOS and Android can join rooms and accept invites to speak; offers live captions, the "raise hand" feature, and notifications for when friends or followers join a room

Facebook is developing visual search tools to enable Instagram users to select images from the platform and from their cameras to find similar products for sale; Facebook also plans to launch its Shops product on the Marketplace and WhatsApp apps

Instagram tests putting suggested posts ahead of friends’ content. The company is also testing new controls that will allow users to add specific topics as an interest for their suggested posts

Shopify is rolling out an affiliate program; the program will allow publishers to link to third-party merchants' products and take a cut of revenue; Shopify reportedly has signed a deal with BuzzFeed and spoken with other firms, including Vox Media and Complex Networks

TikTok launches Jump, enabling creators to enhance their videos with third-party app integrations; for example, a creator publishing a cooking video can integrate a button linking to the recipe in recipe-sharing app Whisk; all users can view and interact with such integrations, but TikTok is currently limiting the ability to activate the feature to select creators

Amazon announced the acquisition of Art19 (podcats) and Wickr (encrypted messaging) for an undisclosed amount. Wickr is a free app, offering users the ability to send encrypted messages and files without a trace. The receiver encrypts the messages, and Wickr does not have the decryption keys. Art19 provides tools for hosting, distribution, and monetization of podcasts, as well as listening metrics tracking and ad serving technologies through its ad marketplace. Wickr raised $73M to date, while Art19 has raised $7.5M

Microsoft and other companies are testing nonconductive liquids for cooling data center chips; data centers represent around 2-4% of global electricity use, and ~half of that power goes to cooling systems

Hyundai closes its acquisition of robotics firm Boston Dynamics; Google and SoftBank have each owned the business since it spin out of MIT, and SoftBank retains 20% ownership; Hyundai now owns 80%; the deal valued Boston Dynamics at $1.1B

Kayak Co-Founder Paul English launches podcast discovery startup Moonbeam (iOSAndroid); the app uses AI and human curation to personalize recommendations and allows podcast creators to select top episodes for visibility; the app also offers a tipping feature, enabling listeners to support creators

SpaceX expects Starlink to achieve global coverage as soon as September of this year; the company has deployed 1.8k satellites of a planned 12k-unit constellation, and Starlink expects all will be operational this fall; the firm still needs to obtain regulatory authorization to provide broadband internet service in numerous countries

Asana ($9.8B market cap) and Twilio ($66.8B market cap) plan to dual list on the Long-Term Stock Exchange (LTSE), which prioritizes sustainable businesses and ongoing growth over short-term profits; the CEO of each company was an early LTSE investor; the exchange began trades in September 

Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus confirms merger with electronics manufacturer Oppo; OnePlus will become an independent Oppo sub-brand; the firms merged their R&D departments at the beginning of the year

📚 Good reads

Interview: Marc Andreessen, a16z cofounder, VC and tech pioneer. In this interview, Noah Smith asks Marc ten questions about technology and the future — about automation, U.S. institutions, social media, competition from China, crypto, the future of the VC industry, and more

Choosing your North Star Metric, by Lenny Rachitsky, including the North Star metrics and strategies for tens of successful tech companies: “no matter what stage you’re at as a startup or company with a new product line, expect your North Star Metric to change as your strategy shifts. It will evolve as you learn more about what keeps your team focused, motivated, and building toward the ultimate vision. Your North Star Metric is your strategy, and your strategy is your North Star Metric. Choose wisely”

A simple three-part framework to align team’s efforts, by Intercom. “This framework is a useful tool for defining and communicating your team’s approach to a project. Agreeing on these factors early means that everyone – both the immediate team and relevant stakeholders – understands the shape of the solution, and the steps and feedback expected during the project”

“Traction tactics” behind Square, PayPal, Waze, Twilio & more, by NfX. Traction is the Holy Grail for early-stage startups. Unfortunately, the real methods for getting traction are not commonly shared. This article tries to do so.

An ode to slowness: the benefits of slowing down, by Anne-Laure Le Cunff. Whatever area of your life you are targeting, making space for self-reflection is crucial. Helpful methods to slow down include journaling, meditation, and taking breaks. Speed may sometimes be a goal in and of itself, but it should be an intentional goal rather than an automatic need to “keep up” with others

The Creator Economy explained: how companies are transforming the self-monetization boom, By CB Insights. “Big tech platforms are fighting to keep creators on their platform in an effort to drive engagement. But creators, once at the whim of these gatekeepers, are looking for ways to monetize their posts more directly and earn a bigger slice of the overall revenue pie”

Have a great weekend.


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