🎰 The week in figures
$1.3B: EV firm Rivian raises $1.3B from T Rowe Price, Amazon, Ford, and others; represents the company’s fourth funding round this year; Rivian plans to launch an all-electric pickup and SUV in 2020; has raised $3.1B to date.
1B: Amazon says it had a record-breaking holiday season, claiming more than 500M items were ordered in the US; the company has not provided specifics but says that toys, fashion, home, and beauty were its most popular categories; Amazon says it sold more than 1B items worldwide.
$26M: Eight-year-old Ryan Kaji is the highest-paid YouTube star of 2019; Kaji earned an estimated $26M in the year ending June 1; he began with product unboxings but now conducts science experiments; he also has shows on Nickelodeon and Hulu and has toy and clothing product lines.
108: Tencent has invested in 108 companies so far this year, down 33% on 2018; the firm has put $4.9B into startups in 2019, which compares with $10.4B last year; overall from January to mid-November, Chinese startups raised $35.6B in 2019, down from $93.4B in 2018.
14.6%: E-commerce transactions accounted for 14.6% of all retail sales this holiday period, according to data from Mastercard; online sales were up 18.8% YoY for the period Nov 1 — Dec 24; overall retail transactions for the period were up 3.4%.
📰 What’s going on
Amazon files a patent for palm-recognition tech; the filing describes a scanner that can recognize an individual based on the wrinkles, veins, and other unique characteristics of their hands; follows a report Amazon is considering instituting hand-scan checkout tech at its Whole Foods stores.
Facebook’s Messenger chat app now requires a Facebook account when signing up; users could previously use the service with a phone number only; the company says the change will not affect existing Messenger users who do not have a Facebook account.
ByteDance is considering whether to establish a global HQ for TikTok outside of mainland China; the company is looking at locations in Singapore, Dublin, and London; TikTok does not currently have a dedicated base, instead operating from Shanghai with satellite teams across the globe; TikTok is reportedly looking to disassociate itself from its Chinese roots over fears of regulatory scrutiny from around the world.
Companies are increasingly looking to hire tech workers before they graduate; internships, boot camps, and other programs help companies address a shortage in the IT talent pool across industries; many companies are focusing on up-training existing employees as technology changes.
The Russian government has started testing its own national internet, according to local reports; known as Runet, the network is intended to serve as an alternative to the world wide web; President Putin has previously said the system is intended to serve national interests, and that Russia has no immediate plans to disconnect from the global internet.
👩🏾💻 Good reads
Metrics Mountains (vs funnels): a realistic visualization of any customer lifecycle.
HBR’s top Management tips from 2019.
Digital platforms : time to skyrocket climate impact through technology. How Glovo, one of the fastest-growing delivery platforms, aims to become carbon neutral in 2021.
Helping teams to be successful, by Ezinne Udezue at #mtpcon London.
Creating roadmaps for 2020. Product School gives some tips and shares 5 roadmap templates.