🎰 The week in figures
$28B: Alibaba says it will invest ~$28B in its cloud division over the next three years; the investment will be focused on Alibaba Cloud’s operating system, chips, and servers; the firm currently operates 63 zones across Asia, Australia, the Middle East, the US, and Europe.
$7.6B: The UK’s competition watchdog approves Takeaway.com’s ~$7.6B merger with fellow food delivery company JustEat; the Competition and Markets Authority notes it found no monopoly issues as Netherlands-based Takeaway.com doesn’t operate in Britain; comes as the combined firm announces a €700M (~$756M) raise via new shares and convertible bonds.
$5.7B: Facebook bought a 9.99% stake in Reliance Jio, India’s biggest telecom operator, for $5.7 billion. The deal makes Facebook the largest minority shareholder in the company, as it seeks to ramp up collaboration between WhatsApp and Reliance’s e-commerce platform.
400M: Messaging service Telegram claims 400M monthly active users, up from 300M last October; the firm says it’s currently adding 1.5M users per day; Telegram has also outlined plans to launch a video calling feature this year, and announced a sticker repository containing 20k graphics.
300M: Zoom daily users grow x50% during the last 3 weeks to 300M despite security concerns.
£250M: The UK government announces £250M Future Fund for British startups; will offer companies between ~$155k and $6.2M in match funding in the form of convertible loans; eligible firms must have previously raised ~$310k over the last five years; applications will run from May through September; the government is also launching a ~$9.3M scheme to support R&D efforts for select SMEs. Countries including UK, France and Germany have also designed funds for startups hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
$150M: Didi Chuxing raises $150M for its bike-sharing unit Qingju; the money comes from SoftBank and Legend Capital.
$130M: Indonesia-based Gojek acquires fintech firm Moka for ~$130M; the companies have been in negotiations since last year, and the deal closed roughly a month ago; Moka provides point-of-sale systems to brick-and-mortar SMEs across Indonesia.
1M: Google Stadia’s mobile app has been downloaded more than 1M times; the app is used to configure the Stadia controller for use with the game-streaming service; Google recently announced two months free access to it’s premium tier for new users.
🤑 Q1 Results
Netflix ($190.4B market cap) Q1 beats: $5.8B revenue, up 27.6% YoY ($5.8B expected); $1.57 EPS; the company added 15.8M subscribers globally (8.5M expected); Netflix expects 7.5M new subscribers in Q2, but flags a likely drop for Q3 as economies are expected to reopen following the coronavirus pandemic.
Snap ($17.7B market cap) Q1 beats: $462M revenue, up 44% YoY ($431M expected); $0.08 EPS ($0.07 expected); 229M daily active users, up 20% YoY; daily time spent watching Discover content up 35% YoY; Snap has not offered a forecast for Q2, citing economic volatility.
Huawei reports $25.7B revenue for Q1, up 1% YoY; compares with 39% growth for the same period last year; its net profit margin has shrunk from 8% to 7.3% over the same period; VP Victor Zhang says the figures represent “resilient performance” in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and US trade restrictions.
📰 What’s going on
WhatsApp is updating its group calling feature from a maximum of four participants to eight; it’s being rolled out to the app’s betas for iOS and Android; it’s unclear when it will be available via the regular apps.
Facebook is launching a live-streaming app for gaming; will let users create and watch live gameplay direct from a mobile device; the company is also launching a Facebook Gaming app for Android, with an iOS version to follow at a later date.
Facebook is rolling out its Messenger Kids app to more than 70 new countriesx; it’s also adding new features including Supervised Friending that lets children add and remove their own contacts (parents and guardians are notified of any actions, which they can also override); teachers, parents, and guardians can also add kids to group chats.
Mark Zuckerberg suspended a plan to add advertising to WhatsApp last fall because he was concerned about angering regulators and privacy-conscious users; Facebook still intends to launch ads in WhatsApp, but will do so after it has unified its messaging services
Apple expands App Store, iCloud, Apple Music, Apple Arcade, and Apple Podcasts to 20 new markets including Democratic Republic of the Congo, Maldives, and Kosovo; it’s also launching Apple Music in Mozambique, Iceland, Kuwait, and more.
Twitter is testing a feature that lets users see all the times a tweet has been reshared as a quote; the company is seemingly trying out different UIs including a “Retweet with comments” tab.
Google announces new features for it’s Duo video and voice calling service; includes improved video quality in low bandwidth situations, and the ability to snap and share a picture of an onscreen moment; Duo has also increased maximum participants from 8 to 12, with plans to up the number further in the coming weeks.
Google is rolling out a feature for Assistant-enabled devices that lets users adjust the sensitivity of the “Hey Google” voice trigger; users will be able to change the setting via the Google Home app.
Zoom starts rolling out an update with a focus on security and privacy settings; Zoom 5.0 adds an icon that leads users to tools for locking meetings, restricting screen sharing, and more; Zoom CEO Eric Yuan says the service now has 300M users, up another 50% in three weeks; Yuan provided the figures while outlining progress on the company’s 90-day security plan.
China has started testing its own cryptocurrency across four cities; China’s central bank says the limited pilot scheme is operating in Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiongan, and Chengdu; it notes the current implementation is not final and that it has not officially launched a digital yuan; the bank also says the tests will have a limited impact beyond their “closed environments”.
TikTok owner ByteDance signs a content deal with BBC Studios; terms undisclosed; the arrangement will see some of the BBC’s factual shows streamed on ByteDance’s China-based long-form video platform Xigua; includes “Blue Planet” and “Hubble: The Wonders of Space Revealed”.
👩🏾💻 Good reads
It’s time to build. Investor Marc Andreessen says no Western nation had prepared for the coronavirus outbreak, which he blames in part on a “widespread inability to build”; writing on a16z’s website, Andreessen posits there is a broad lack of desire to build the things our society needs, stating it’s time for “aggressive investment in new products, in new industries, in new factories, in new science”.
Out of the Crisis, a podcast hosted by Eric Ries (Lean Startup), highlighting leaders from all sectors who are providing and coordinating relief efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Guests of first episodes include Sam Altman and Mark Cuban.
The internet in the 2020s. The Internet tailwinds that propelled Silicon Valley’s meteoric growth for decades are stalling out. The ripple effects will jolt the tech industry. What should leaders, founders and investors look at?
Onboarding remotely. Are you starting a new job during the coronavirus pandemic? HBR’s advice podcast, Dear HBR: touch this topic with the help of Siobhan O’Mahony, a professor at Boston University Questrom School of Business. They talk through what to do when you want to hit the ground running but your onboarding is not taking place in person as planned.
The Q1 2020 Global VC Report, by Crunchbase.
💻 Upcoming online events
Strengthen Your Team with ProductOps by ProdPad, Thursday, Apr 30, 3PM GMT, Free
Webinar: Lessons of Product Localization from Airbnb with Airbnb former PM by Product School, Friday, May 15, 10:30 PM GMT, Free
Virtual Product Summit, May 21 (day-long event), Free
ProductCon, May 27 (day-long event), Free
During the upcoming weeks (for as long as the Covid-19 crisis goes on) I will keep dedicating my evenings to offer free consultation / advice / coaching / casual chats to any impacted professionals that would like to reach out. Don’t be a stranger, reach out by DM if you are interested, and let’s help each other. We are all humans after all, and we are all on the same boat.