el producto #243 🚀

Paypal stock trading, UX research for founders, Intuit to buy Mailchimp, Twitter Super Follows and privacy tools, Apple Watch details, Amazon TVs (yeah, the device) & more

🎰 The week in figures

$10B: Intuit is in talks to acquire Mailchimp for $10B+; other buyers have expressed interest

$5B: Apollo Global Management completes its $5B acquisition of Yahoo (formerly Verizon Media); Verizon retains 10% ownership; the deal includes Yahoo-branded properties like Finance and Sports, as well as AOL, Engadget, RYOT and TechCrunch

$4.7B: Prosus Ventures fintech subsidiary PayU to acquire Indian payment solutions firm BillDesk for $4.7B, marking Prosus' largest acquisition to date; Prosus is listed publicly in Amsterdam; together, PayU and BillDesk represent $147B in annual payment volume

$1.6B: San Francisco-based data and AI company Databricks hit a post-money valuation of $38 billion after raising a $1.6B Series H. The new round comes just seven months after the company raised $1B at a $28B valuation

$1.5B: Delivery Hero raises $1.5B; Co-Founder and CEO Niklas Oestberg previously mentioned the potential for expansion in Germany, and Manager Magazin reported the Berlin-based firm was considering a stake in local delivery company Gorillas

$1B: Ride-hailing company Ola has selected banks to manage its Mumbai IPO and could seek a ~$1B raise at an $8B+ valuation; the company reportedly could file as soon as October; Ola raised $500M in July

$1B: Yandex acquires Uber's stakes in four Yandex businesses for $1B; the deal gives Yandex 100$ ownership of the Yandex Self-Driving Group, Yandex.Delivery, Yandex.Eats, and Yandex.Lavka; Uber merged its Russian operations with Yandex.Taxi in 2018 to create ride-hailing and food delivery joint venture MLU BV; Uber and Yandex reportedly considered an IPO for MLU BV in 2019

$700M: Berlin Brands Group, which builds, acquires, and optimizes marketplace businesses selling on Amazon and elsewhere, raises $700M at a $1B+ valuation; Berlin Brands Group represents 3.7k products and 14 brands

$300M: Cybersecurity firm Check Point ($16.6B market cap) acquires Avanan, which protects cloud-based email and other systems, for a reported $250M-$300M; Check Point said the deal would result in the only unified solution for protecting remote workers from phishing campaigns as well as malicious files and URLs across collaboration tools, email, networks, and endpoints

$200M: Whoop, a sleep and activity tracking service focused on athletes, raises $200M Series F at a $3.6B valuation; the company offers subscriptions starting at $18 per month and provides the Whoop Strap tacking device for free; the wristband sends data to a mobile app for analytics, recommendations, video overlays (heart rate during a bike ride, for example,) and social features

$200M: Heroes, which acquires, optimizes, and operates Amazon Marketplace businesses, raises $200M, primarily for acquisitions; the London-based firm launched last November with $65M, and now owns tool brand Davaon and massager brand TheraFlow; the company's portfolio also includes brands focused on products for babies, pets, sports, home and garden, more 

$128M: Amsterdam-based E-bike company VanMoof announced a $128M Series C. VanMoof has raised ~$189M since its founding — the most in the E-Bike category. The company has over 200,000 e-bikes on the road, with a goal of reaching 10 million within five years. VanMoof has a vertically integrated supply chain, including in-house software development and customer support. 

$100M: Zoom announces the first group of startups to see funding from the $100M Zoom Apps Fund, which the company announced in April to foster an ecosystem of apps and integrations; the 12 investments include project management and collaboration platform Hive, meeting productivity platform Docket, and interview intelligence startup BrightHire

$86M: Smart mattress and sleep-tracking company Eight Sleep raises $86M Series C at a ~$500M valuation; the firm sells a mattress with an integrated heating and cooling system and uses sensors to monitor temperature, heartbeat, and breathing; the mobile app offers data insights, recommendations for better sleep, notifications of abnormal data, more

$50M: Code Climate, a project management and intelligence platform for software engineering, raises $50M; the software connects to GitHub, Jira, and other systems to provide insights ensuring engineering initiatives align with business goals and more; customers include Instacart and Pizza Hut

$50M: Vic.ai, which uses AI to automate enterprise accounting, raises $50M Series B; the NY-based firm also offers insights to optimize ROI and more; the startup claims 535M invoices processed with 95% accuracy

$46.5M: Point, which offers debit card accounts with rewards, raises $46.5M Series B; the $49-per-year account offers insurance on travel and other purchases, and differing rewards depending on purchase types; a user can set up direct deposits or manually deposit using another debit card

$30M: Zippin, a platform for cashier-free checkout, raises $30M Series B; the startup uses shelf sensors, cameras, and AI-powered software, enabling customers to place items in their carts and pay via mobile app without a traditional checkout process

377: With 377 startups across 47 countries, this summer's Y Combinator batch is the largest cohort in the accelerator's history.  Close to half of the companies pitching on this weekend's demo day are from outside the U.S, including India (33 startups), UK (18), Mexico (17), Singapore (12), Canada (11), Brazil (11)

📰 What’s going on

LinkedIn launches Office Hours, which enables instructors on the company's LinkedIn Learning platform to conduct live events; LinkedIn has made the top 20 most popular courses free until Oct 15

LinkedIn to shut down ephemeral video product Stories by the end of September; LinkedIn launched the feature last September when Twitter launched the similar Fleets; LinkedIn, like Twitter, found that ephemeral video didn't resonate on its platform; Linkedin plans a new short-form video product

Clubhouse updates its iOS app with spacial audio to position each speaker in a virtual space; the feature is on by default; the company plans to launch the updated app for Android soon

Twitter begins rolling out Super Follows, which enables creators to offer premium subscriptions at $3, $5, or $10 per month and give users access to exclusive content; creators choose which tweets are paywalled; creators can also see which users are subscribers in comment threads

Twitter to test new tools focused on privacy; among the potential updates are the ability to automatically archive and hide tweets after a set amount of time, the ability to remove followers, and the ability to remove oneself from a conversation; Twitter recently began testing a Safety Mode that automatically blocks accounts sending abusive or repetitive mentions

Facebook reveals details of its Aria Glasses, an AR research product, in an FCC filing; the company announced the project at its Connect conference last year, noting that Aria was intended for internal use only; the glasses, referred to as Gemini in a user manual, support prescription lenses, connect to a mobile companion app called Ariane, and allow users to export videos

Apple will now let "reader" apps link to external websites for account signups and payments, meaning those apps will not be subject to the App Store's commission; Apple originally created the reader app category so existing app subscribers could sign into their accounts; it includes Netflix, Spotify, Kindle, and similar catalog apps

Apple's reported plan to update iPhone with low-earth-orbit satellite communications focuses on emergency scenarios; analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently said the feature would launch with the 2021 iPhone lineup; one feature reportedly allows satellite text messaging with emergency services

Apple's coming Watch Series 7 will feature a flatter screen and edges; the company will offer 41mm and 45mm models, up from current 40mm and 44mm; the device reportedly will include new and updated faces to take advantage of the larger displays

Amazon plans to launch Amazon-branded TVs in the US as soon as October; the company reportedly will start with Alexa-powered models manufactured by partners; teams at Amazon Devices and R&D unit Lab126 have been working on the initiative for ~2 years

Google is developing Arm-based processors for notebooks and tablets running Chrome OS and plans to launch them by 2023; the company announced last month it would debut its first in-house processors with the launch of the Pixel 6 smartphone

Square prepares to launch Invoices Plus, a premium subscription version of Square Invoices; some features previously available to free users (under a limited trial) will be exclusive to the premium offering, along with new, more advanced features, such as custom invoice templates and multi-page estimates; Square will continue to offer the free version

PayPal plans to launch a stock trading product; the company recently hired Richard Hagen, who previously led financial advice and online brokerage at H&R Block Financial Services, to lead a previously undisclosed business called Invest at PayPal

ByteDance acquires VR headset maker Pico Interactive; terms undisclosed; Pico was the third-largest VR headset maker in the world during the first quarter, with shipments up ~45% YoY

China publishes a draft regulation that would require tech companies to ensure their algorithms recommend content that agrees with the values of the Chinese Communist Party and none that entices consumers into addiction, high-value consumption, etc; the rules would also require companies to give users the ability to disable algorithmic recommendations

Chinese regulators enact new restrictions for online gaming, limiting minors to three hours of playtime per week; gaming companies must verify customers' identities and prohibit playtime outside of a strict schedule: 8pm-9pm on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and public holidays; a recent state media article referred to online games as spiritual opium

The government of Beijing has proposed that a consortium of state-run firms invests in Didi for veto power and a board seat; the size of the proposed investment and stake is unknown; China's government previously took a stake in ByteDance for veto power over significant decisions

📚 Good reads

What is user onboarding? Examples, Best Practices & mistakes to avoid, by Product Collective

A UX Research crash course for founders, including tips from Zoom, Zapier & Dropbox, by First Round Review. Certainly in the -1 to 0 phase of company building, founders have to shoulder this crucial UX research work on their own — typically with very little previous experience, no training, and a fuzzy sense of where to start. This mini-guide is a good start, and also a valuable assets for PMs trying to support their UX research folks

Merchandizing Product Management. A brilliant read by Rich Mironov on how product leaders should proactively communicate and create the shared perception that development/design/product is a primary source of strategic advantage

6 principles to build your company’s strategic agility. HBR looks at how companies like Disney or Airbnb navigated and adapted through the recent COVID crisis

​The generation effect (2 min video). Do you feel like you can remember things better when you actively engage with the information and create your own version of it? That’s called the Generation Effect, and it's the psychological effect that inspired Anne-Laure to start Maker Mind, and me to start el producto!

Have a great weekend.


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