el producto #239 🚀

Bolt & Hopin funding, Super apps in Africa, Q2 financials, YouTube Premium Lite, Visual models, Clean crypto, Quora+, Cultivate creative thinking, & more

🎰 The week in figures

$1.1B: Feedback platform company Qualtrics ($21.46B market cap) to acquire customer experience management platform Clarabridge in a $1.1B all-stock deal; while Qualtrics collects feedback directly, Clarabridge uses AI to glean customer sentiment from social media posts, customer support calls, more; Clarabridge previously raised $125M

$713M: Estonia-based ride-hailing and delivery provider Bolt raised $713M Series E led by Sequoia Capital. The new financing reportedly sets a valuation of $4.75B

$450M: Live virtual events platform Hopin raises $450M for a $7.75B post-money valuation; investors valued the company at $2B in November and at $5.65B in March; the London-based startup supports virtual, in-person, and hybrid events with up to 100k attendees

$440M: Indian online learning company Unacademy raises $440M Series H at a $3.44B valuation; investors valued the company at $2B in November; the subscription platform claims 50k educators offering live classes covering professional exam preparation and more

$400M: AI and ML platform Dataiku raises $400M Series E at a $4.6B valuation; the New York City-based firm enables data analysts and others to glean insights from unstructured data and create models without code; clients including Ubisoft and Unilever use the platform for fraud detection, supply chain optimization, more

$150M: Suma Brands, which buys, optimizes, and operates Amazon marketplace businesses, raises $150M; Co-Founder and CEO Andrew Savage spent several years at Amazon, where he worked in Product Management; the startup has acquired kids' footwear brand Lone Cone and turmeric supplement brand Turmaquik, among other businesses

$120M: Mercury, a digital bank focused on serving startups, raises $120M Series B at a $1B-plus valuation; $5M came from unaccredited investors; the company offers FDIC-insured accounts, physical and virtual cards, wires, and ACH transfers

$110M: Smart home products company Wyze Labs raises $110M Series B; Wyze offers home security cameras, climate sensors, smart lighting, and more; the company plans to expand its use of AI, which currently powers detection of motion, people, and more

$100M: Sales training platform Mindtickle raises $100M Series E for a $1.2B post-money valuation; the platform provides gamified learning experiences and identifies knowledge and skill gaps for customized training; clients include HPE, Snowflake, and Square

$78M: Chatbot startup Yellow.ai raises $78M Series C; the Indian firm plans to establish a headquarters in the San Francisco Bay Area in coming months; clients including Siemens, Star Insurance, and Tata use Yellow's customer experience automation platform for conversational sales, customer engagement, more

$75M: Email provider Superhuman raises $75M Series C at a reported $825M valuation; the $30-per-month service offers scheduled messages, reminders, insights, and more; though founded in 2014, Superhuman hasn't officially launched and claims a waitlist of 450k

$70M: Identity verification startup SentiLink raises $70M Series B; the company serves lenders, banks, and other financial institutions, providing APIs that detect fraudulent identities at the time of signup; Co-Founders Naftali Harris and Max Blumenfeld previously worked as data scientists at Affirm, developing risk analysis tech

$56M: Cybersecurity company ReversingLabs raises $56M Series B; the threat intelligence platform uses AI to analyze files and detect software supply chain threats; the company claims two of the top five defense and aerospace firms as clients, and SolarWinds hired ReversingLabs after hackers used SolarWinds software as an access point for widespread attacks

$54M: Refurbed, a marketplace for refurbished electronic products, raises $54M Series B; the Austrian startup currently serves six European markets and plans to launch in three more by year's end; the company claims 130 refurbishers selling on the platform

$48M: Social media management and marketing company Hootsuite acquires Heyday, which offers a conversational AI platform for retailers, in a $48M deal; Heyday will continue to operate independently, and Hootsuite will integrate its tech; Hootsuite claims 200k paid customers and millions of users


💸 Q2 financials

Etsy ($25.69B market cap) Q2 beats: $528.9M revenue, up 23.4% YoY ($524.7M expected); the company saw +100% sales growth, YoY, for each of the past four quarters; some see the Q2 slow in growth as a sign that the pandemic-fueled surge in online shopping is waning; the company expects revenues of $500M-$525M for Q3

Roku ($55.65B market cap) Q2 beats: $645M revenue, up 81% YoY ($618M expected); 17.4B streaming hours, down from 18.3B in Q1; the company noted it saw increased costs for hardware but did not raise prices, resulting in a negative margin for the segment; shares fell more than 8% after hours

Square ($112.6B market cap) Q2 mixed: $4.68B revenue, up 143% YoY ($5.03B expected); $2.72B Bitcoin revenue, and $2.67B in associated costs; $1.31B seller business revenue, with $585M gross profit; the Cash app saw 40M monthly transacting active customers in June, and ~4.5M customers held shares through Square's brokerage business during the quarter. Square will acquire Australian buy-now-pay-later firm Afterpay for $29B; the Australian company offers interest-free installment plans, serving 100k e-commerce merchants and 16M consumers; the companies expect the deal to close in the first quarter of 2022

Uber ($78.26B market cap) Q2 beats: $3.93B revenue ($3.75B expected); $12.9B Delivery gross bookings; $8.6B Mobility gross bookings; $1.1B net income; $1.19B operating loss; $509M adjusted EBITDA loss, but the company expects to reach profitability on that basis this year; 1.51B trips, up 105% YoY


📰 What’s going on

Twitter partners with Associated Press and Reuters to mitigate misinformation and emphasize reliable news sources on the social network; Twitter will work with experts from both organizations to better contextualize news and trends, apply misinformation labels, and make public service announcements; the news organizations also help Facebook with fact-checking

Twitter launches a bounty competition to identify algorithmic bias; the company began using an algorithm in 2018 to select the most interesting parts of images for use in previews, and users complained the algorithm tended to focus on lighter-skinned people; Twitter is offering prizes up to $3.5k for participants who identify issues contributing to such perceived biases

YouTube tests the ~$8-per-month Premium Lite subscription in some European markets, offering ad-free viewing without the additional benefits of YouTube Premium, which include offline downloads and background playback; the new plan does not include ad-free music listening

Quora announces Quora+, a program enabling creators with expertise in a given subject the ability to place content behind a paywall; visitors can pay $5 per month or $50 per year for unlimited access; Quora will divide each subscriber's payment according to the content they access, and distribute net revenue to creators

Robinhood ($58.82B market cap) closed up 50% at $70.39 per share on Wednesday; the stock opened at $38 per share in the company's Nasdaq debut last Thursday and closed down 8%; the shares are up 100% this week. Robinhood's IPO saw 300k of the company's customers, or ~1.3% of its 22.5M funded accounts, purchase shares; customers represented 25% of shares purchased; Robinhood had planned to allocate up to 35% of shares to its customers

Microsoft launches remote desktop service Windows 365 in general availability; priced between $20-$162 per user per month, the service enables customers to maintain their apps, data, and settings on cloud PCs, accessible via Remote Desktop and the web on PC, Mac, iPad, Linux, and Android; the company offers Business and Enterprise subscriptions

ByteDance lays off hundreds from the company's education businesses as Chinese regulators impose new restrictions for online learning firms; ByteDance reportedly will transfer some ed-tech employees to different products; the company is shutting down multiple education-related businesses after China prohibited companies that teach school subjects from earning profits

Substack acquires Letter, a public conversation platform focused on debate and thoughtful interactions regarding politics, racism, health, and more; terms undisclosed; Substack said the buy would enable writers to collaborate and that the company would not integrate Letter into its platform; the Letter team will relocate from Australia to San Francisco

Amazon is scaling back its Prime Air drone delivery efforts in the UK; the company has terminated ~100 UK Prime Air workers and transferred dozens more since late 2019; former employees said the project saw a high rate of churn and described a disorganized work environment 

Apple reveals it will scan photos on iPhone, iPad, and Mac, as well as those uploaded to iCloud, for evidence of child sex abuse, beginning in the US with iOS 15 and macOS Monterey; Apple will also use on-device machine learning to scan incoming and outgoing messages for such images and will notify children and guardians of illegal images

Apple partners with Affirm to offer buy-now-pay-later options for Apple's physical and online shops in Canada; the companies plan to launch this month; the program, powered by Affirm's PayBright, will feature 12- and 24-month plans, interest-free during a promotional period

Phone software company Zedge acquires emoji encyclopedia firm Emojipedia; terms undisclosed; London-based Emojipedia, which is profitable, catalogs and categorizes +3k emojis and emoji combinations, providing the meaning of each and enabling users to copy-paste

Public safety app Citizen, which sends users alerts about local crimes, launches its $20-per-month Protect plan for all users in the US: subscribers can share their locations with Citizen Protect and on-call agents can track movements, call emergency services, notify emergency contacts, more; the company noted that 100k beta testers had used the service, some to reunite with lost family members and pets

Social network GETTR, led by former Donald Trump campaign spokesperson Jason Miller, suffers a flood of posts advocating terrorism; Islamic State supporters and other jihadists have posted videos of beheadings, memes referencing the murder of Donald Trump, more; the app launched on July 1, and extremists began discussing a campaign days later on Facebook

Product Collective and Balsamiq are giving away a 15 General Admission scholarships ($795 value) to attend the New York Product Conference and 50 General Admission scholarships ($299 value) to attend INDUSTRY Virtual. The scholarships are intended to make it easier for those in underrepresented groups to attend these conferences. Therefore, preference will be given to those under financial constraints in groups typically not well represented in the field of product management — which include but is not limited to women, people of color, LGBTQ and people with disabilities


📚 Good reads

10 visual models that let you simplify the most complex ideas. Must-have tools on any PM’s toolkit

Pivot to profit. Lessons from nearly failed products like Vimeo and Snap

Clean crypto. Bitcoin is infamous for its environmental baggage, but new miners hope there may be big profits in clean crypto

Focus on evidence, not opinions. The story of Segment (acquired by Twilio for 3.2B in 2020)

The creative brain: three ways to cultivate your creative thinking, by Dr. Andleeb Asghar

Super apps are thriving in Africa. Emeka Ajene gives a comprehensive overview of how super apps are emerging in the continent, providing readers an opportunity to catch up with what's happening in that often forgotten part of the tech world


Have a great weekend.

Angel


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