el producto #145 👉 a weekly round-up of Tech and Product goodness
Europe’s best funded startups, New Google products Microsoft´s and Google´s game streaming launches, Airbnb’s Product teams insights & more.
Welcome to another week full of fresh ideas and innovation at el producto.
🎰 The week in figures
~$35B: South Korea-based Hyundai commits ~$35B to the development of autonomous vehicles, EVs, and other mobility tech; the funding will run through 2025; the South Korean government will partially fund the initiative; President Moon Jae-in has set a goal of 2030 for half of all new vehicles in the country to be self-driving.
$16B: Indian electronic payments and e-commerce company Paytm is raising $2B from SoftBank, Ant Financial, and others; the round reportedly values the company at $16B.
$5B: SoftBank plans to invest an additional $5B in The We Company; the backing would not give SoftBank a controlling stake; SoftBank already has more than $10B invested in The We Company.
$3.2B: Australia-based design platform Canva raises $85M Series D on a $3.2B post-money valuation led by Bond with participation from General Catalyst, Bessemer Venture Partners, Blackbird, and Sequoia China; Canva lets users create logos, presentations, and more using drag-and-drop tools.
2K: Uber lays off ~350 in various departments in what the company says is the third and final phase of a streamlining process that began this year; affects workers in Eats, Advanced Technologies Group, more; Uber also asked some employees to relocate; the company has laid off ~1.2k people this year.
50%: Apple says iOS 13 is running on 50% of all active iPhones; iOS 13 took 26 days from launch to reach the figure; 41% of iPhones are using iOS 12.
📰 What’s going on
Nike acquires Seattle-based Tally; Tally launched as TraceMe, a platform enabling fans to interact with celebrities from sports, film, etc; the company pivoted to Tally, through which fans try to predict competition events and outcomes.
Airbnb’s Q1 losses more than doubled YoY to $306M; the company’s revenue grew to $839M, up 31% YoY; expenses increased by 47% , with $367M spent on sales and marketing, up 58% on the previous year; Airbnb is expected to go public in 2020.
Booking Holdings exits the Libra Association; represents the eighth company to back out of the organization following the departures of PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, and others; Libra Association, which will oversee the Libra stablecoin, now has 20 members; it has previously said it aims to have at least 100 partners by the time Libra launches.
Apple says its use of iOS Safari safe browsing partnership with Tencent only applies to devices registered in mainland China; the process does not share URLs with Tencent, though IP addresses are transmitted by default, something that users can turn off.
Facebook drops out of the top 10 in Interbrand’s annual Best Global Brands ranking; Facebook was ranked 9th last year, it is now placed at 14th; Apple retains 1st place, while Google, Amazon, and Microsoft take the following spots.
YouTube partners with music merchandising company Merchbar on an integration that enables video creators to offer items for sale via product listings that appear under YouTube video windows; buyers can purchase from the video page (YouTube takes a cut) or click through to the creator’s Merchbar site.
Google announces Recorder, a voice recording app that features real-time transcription; also includes support for offline transcriptions (initially English only); will launch with Pixel 4; unknown if or when it will be available for other devices.
Google announces $180 wireless Pixel Buds 2, which are set to launch in spring 2020; the earbuds promise five hours continuous use with a charging case that offers 24 hours of additional power; includes Google Assistant support and the ability to auto adjust volume based on a user’s surroundings.
Google announces Nest Wifi, a mesh router and speaker with Google Assistant support; promises up to 25% better coverage than Google Wifi; available as a two-pack (router and access point) for $270, or three-pack (router, two access points) for $350.
Google announces $50 Nest Mini, a Google Assistant-powered speaker that looks similar to Google Home Mini; promises improved sound and features a mounting gap for fixing to walls.
Google’s Stadia game streaming service launches Nov 19 for those who signed up for the $130 Founder’s Edition; Stadia will be supported by Pixel 3 and Pixel 4 devices, Chromecast Ultra, and Chrome browser.
Alphabet’s Wing begins commercial drone deliveries to homes with the launch of a pilot program in Christiansburg, VA; the FAA issued Wing an expanded Air Carrier Certificate, making it the 1st company in the US qualified for commercial residential drone deliveries; service is limited to packages from FedEx Express, Walgreens, and local retailer Sugar Magnolia.
Microsoft launches its xCloud game streaming service in preview; available to some registered users in the US, UK, and South Korea; the service lets gamers play titles streamed from the cloud to Android devices; currently works with four games including “Gears 5” and “Halo 5: Guardians”.
Smart TV platform Roku launches an Apple TV app; lets Apple customers access iTunes purchases via Roku-powered sets; the app will also support the Apple TV+ streaming service when it launches next month.
Uber partners with France-based e-moped service Cityscoot; the arrangement will let customers book mopeds in Paris via the Uber app; Cityscoot operates ~4k vehicles across Paris.
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launches an official investigation into Amazon’s planned $575M investment in Deliveroo; the CMA says the deal could impact competition within the food delivery market; the organization expects to make an initial decision on the case by Dec 11.
Coinbase secures an e-money license from Ireland’s central bank; the permission allows Coinbase to expand its financial offerings across the EU and European Economic Area member states; Coinbase was previously granted an e-money license in the UK, but the country is set to leave the EU, thereby restricting the effectiveness of the permit.
Atlassian acquires Sydney-based Code Barrel, maker of Automation for Jira, one of the most popular add-ons in Atlassian’s marketplace
👩🏾💻 Good reads
The most well-funded startups in Europe, by CBInsights.
Gig economy vs Passion economy — monetizing individuality. Interesting piece by a16z exploring the landscape and opportunities of professional (independent professionals) service platforms.
The power of the elastic Product team — Airbnb’s first PM on how to build your own. “When you do the work of establishing a mission-driven culture, you can afford to be flexible on the details”