el producto #248 🚀

JTBD at Twitter, Amazon's smart fridge, New MacBook Pros, The Product Manifesto, Network effects, Booking.com's messaging API, & more

Hi all, welcome to a new edition of el producto 👋

You may have noticed some changes in the days and timing the newsletter is being sent. The reason is that I have recently moved from London to Los Angeles, and I am still figuring out my new schedule and routines. Saying that, I am looking forward to expand my network here, and would be happy to connect with any readers and Product professionals in and around town!

Have a great weekend


🎰 The week in figures

$2.5B: Caller ID and spam-blocking firm Truecaller opens at $6.82 per share in its Nasdaq Stockholm debut after pricing at $5.91; opening trades left the company with a $2.5B market cap; Truecaller claims 278.1M MAU around the world (as of Q2), and 205.5M in India, the company's largest market

$2B: Noon, an Amazon-like e-commerce platform based in the United Arab Emirates, secures $2B in funding commitments from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund and others; the company serves its domestic market, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, and plans expansion to other markets in the Middle East; the investors will disburse the funds over three to four years

$1B: AppLovin to acquire mobile monetization platform MoPub from Twitter for $1.05B in cash; MoPub generated $188M in revenue last year; the platform enables users to track ad inventory in real-time; Twitter bought MoPub for ~$350M in 2013

$1B: Google commits $1B to digital transformation across Africa; planned investments include a new subsea internet cable, equity stakes in African startups, and low-interest loans for small businesses; Google will invest the funds over 5 years

$624M: GitLab seeks to raise $624M at a ~$9B valuation at IPO; investors valued the firm at $6B for a secondary sale in January

$570M: Indian social commerce startup Meesho raised a $570M Series F at $5B valuation. Meesho's online marketplace connects suppliers, resellers, and customers via social media apps, including WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram. Meesho plans to use the capital to grow its userbase from 15M to 100M by Dec. 2022

$300M: Ed-tech firm Byju's raises $300M of a larger round at an $18B valuation; investors valued the Indian company at $16.5B in June; TechCrunch reports Byju's valuation will surpass $21B at the close of the round; the company has raised $1.8B since the start of the pandemic, and has used much of the funding for acquisitions 

$225M: Pattern, which helps e-commerce businesses drive growth and revenue, raises $225M; the platform supports companies selling direct-to-consumer, through marketplaces, etc, offering automated advertising, logistics and fulfillment services, more; the UT-based startup expects to surpass $1B in revenue within a year

$200M: Chronosphere, a cloud-native platform for monitoring data, raises $200M Series C at a $1B+ valuation; Co-Founders Martin Maoand Rob Skillington previously built an observability platform while working at Uber, and Uber ultimately open-sourced some of their work as M3

$190M: Cloud security firm Orca raises $190M Series C (extension) for a $1.8B post-money valuation, bringing the round total to $550M; the platform connects with AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud to detect vulnerabilities, malware, and more; clients include Autodesk, Robinhood, and Unity

$153M: Investing platform Ajaib raises $153M Series B at a $1B valuation; the Indonesian platform enables users to trade in stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds; Ajaib plans to use the funding to expand its 200-member workforce, hiring 100 engineers and other staff

$150M: Decentralized apps developer Sky Mavis is raising $150M Series B at a ~$3B valuation; the Vietnamese company's NFT-based game "Axie Infinity" is on track to generate $1B in revenue from in-app transactions this year; the startup also operates a marketplace for blockchain games, a hub for raising funds and launching games, more

$110M: Masterworks, which enables investors to purchase fractional shares of physical artworks, raises $110M Series A at a $1B+ valuation; the New York City-based company buys and stores high-ticket pieces by high-profile artists, including Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, and Jean-Michel Basquiat; investors can trade shares on the secondary market and make a profit when Masterworks sells a piece

$85M: Modern Treasury, which automates B2B and other payments and improves the efficiency of bank transfers, raises $85M Series C for a $2B+ post-money valuation; investors valued the startup at $300M for a $38M round in January; serves clients in financial services, real estate, more; customers include ClassPass and Revolut

$80M: The Mom Project, a jobs marketplace for women, raises $80M Series C; the Chicago-based company has served ~500k jobseekers and 2k+ companies, including Accenture, Dropbox, and Facebook, since its 2016 founding; raised $106M to date

$70M: Aquant, which uses AI to help customer service and tech support professionals, raises $70M Series C; the platform analyzes a clients' service data to predict outcomes and prompt agents; Aquant also provides insights so managers can identify opportunities for improved service

$50M: Wizard, a pre-launch conversational commerce startup, raises $50M Series A; Co-Founder and CEO Melissa Bridgeford previously founded text-based shopping startup Stylust; the New York City-based company hasn't disclosed product details

$50M: Neobank Fi is raising $40M-$50M at a $250M pre-money valuation; investors valued the India-based firm at $50M for a $13.2M seed early last year; the company targets millennials with automated savings, rewards for saving, more

📰 What’s going on

Apple is developing a new iPhone-based system for controlling and monitoring a wide variety of in-vehicle devices; Apple reportedly would work with automakers to give users control over temperature zones, entertainment systems (including surround sound settings), adjustable seats, and more, and to read data from the speedometer, fuel gauge, etc

Apple to launch MacBook Pros powered by the new M1X chip within the next month; Apple announced the first M1 Macs early in November 2020; options for the 10-core processor will include 16 and 32 graphics cores

Facebook rebrands social VR platform Facebook Horizon as Horizon Worlds, announces a $10M creator fund; the company will distribute funds through its accelerator, via community competitions, more; Facebook expects the platform to support ticketed events, the buying/trading/gifting of digital goods, and subscriptions within VR experiences

Microsoft to launch its Cloud for Financial Services in general availability on Nov 1; the product includes universal customer profiles, user onboarding, user engagement tools for banking, more; Microsoft has also announced dedicated cloud services for Healthcare, Retail, Manufacturing, and Nonprofits

Microsoft launches Windows 11, now available to download for the latest hardware; recently purchased Windows 10 systems are eligible for the update now, and the company expects to make the update available to all eligible devices by the middle of next year

Microsoft acquires Ally.io, which helps companies track objectives and key results (OKR) performance; terms undisclosed; Microsoft plans to integrate Ally's tech into employee experience system Viva

Amazon is developing a smart refrigerator that will monitor the owner's inventory and buying habits, predict need, and automatically purchase items for delivery; Amazon reportedly began the project two years ago under Director of Computer Vision and Artificial Intelligence Gopi Prashanth

Amazon opens a 4-star location in Kent, England, its first outside the US; Amazon 4-star stores use data from online sales to determine which products are popular locally; the shops carry electronics, games, homeware, and more; Amazon opened a 4-star store in New York City in 2018

A purported leak of Twitch source code and internal data reveals a Steam competitor, codenamed Vapor, in development by Amazon Game Studios; a 4chan user linked to a 125GB torrent with three years worth of creator payout details, the company's internal security tools, comment histories, and more

Elon Musk announces Tesla will relocate its headquarters to Austin, TX; the company will continue to operate its factory in Fremont, CA, and Musk plans to increase production at that facility by 50%; Musk personally moved to TX last year, and Tesla is currently building a Gigafactory near Austin

Monzo has decided to withdraw its application for a US banking license after two years of negotiations with regulators. A disappointment for the challenger bank, the move also illustrates the regulatory hurdles facing European fintech companies entering the US

📚 Good reads

The Product Manifesto, 10 principles for building better products created by a working group of a dozen senior PMs, facilitated by Product School, and led by Facebook’s Lead PM Mayank Yadav

2021 Product Excellence Report, by Product Collective and Productboard, who surveyed 850+ PMs and leaders on how they incorporate customers into their product management processes. Some highlights:

  • A surprising majority of product teams don’t have a clear product vision or strategy, leaving them at risk of becoming a feature factory

  • Product leaders are far more optimistic than their teams about the state of product processes and overall morale

  • 69% of teams say the products and features they release are not consistently well-received by customers (The other third are more customer-centric organizations)

How Twitter applies Jobs To Be Done, starting by Jack Dorsey. “We intend to build an ecosystem of connected features and services focused on serving three core jobs: news, which is what’s happening; discussion, conversation; and helping people get paid”

[Audio] How Network Effects rule the world, with James Currier, one of the world’s foremost experts on networks, and on the companies that use them best. James discusses how companies with network effects dominate markets, and why their influence will likely continue to grow

Building high-performing and motivated teams. In this blog post, Pinterest Product Leader Varun Bansal, talks about why PMs should care about building high-performing and motivated teams. He also breaks down “motivation” and covers three concrete tactics that can be implemented to boost motivation on teams

Seven Product Backlog mistakes to avoid, by Roman Pichler. Unfortunately, too familiar!

The growing specialization of Product Management. Insightful article by Reforge (as everything they do), diving into the multiple paths that PM careers are developing. While PMs roles tend to be thought as generic, the truth is that there are deep specializations (in the same way that Design can be broken down in multiple sub-roles), and it is about time that they are recognized. Not all problems all equal, and therefore we should welcome the fact that not all roles shall be equal

Why and How Booking.com built a messaging API for partners. Nice and detailed article explaining how an API-based messaging platform is created. I am glad and humbled to see how this product has evolved, since I had the chance to build the first partner messaging product for Booking in 2014 (breaking few things along the way 🙈)

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