🎰 The week in figures
£31B: Telefonica and Liberty Global agree to a £31B merger for their respective UK brands O2 and Virgin Media; the combined company will offer cellular plans, residential and business broadband, fixed line services, and TV packages; Liberty will pay Telefonica ~$3.1B upfront, plus another $7B in future recapitalizations; both firms will jointly own the new operation.
1B: Google Messages has been downloaded more than 1B times from the Play Store; the app was at ~500k downloads in May last year; Messages is preinstalled on Pixel or Android One devices, with most other device makers opting to include their own messaging app by default.
$900M: Intel acquires Israel-based transit app Moovit for $900M; Moovit’s AI-powered tech promises to find the fastest route between two locations; the company will become a part of Intel’s automotive operations.
$510M: Chinese cloud computing platform Kingsoft Cloud Holdings raised $510M in the first non-biotech US IPO since COVID-19 hit.
350M: Epic Games says Fortnite has 350M players, up from 250M in March of last year; the firm also says gamers played 3.2B hours last month; Fortnite has expanded to include live concerts and other non-combat social features.
$260M: Robinhood raises $280M Series F at an $8.3B valuation led by Sequoia Capital; investors last valued the company at $7.6B for a $323M Series E in July; claims to have added 3M funded accounts since the start of the year; the fee-free trading platform saw downtime during March due to unexpected trade volume, but has since upgraded capacity.
$200M: South Korean firm Viva Republica, owner of fintech app Toss, plans to raise $200M; Toss offers an aggregation service that combines multiple financial services; founder Lee Seung-gun says the company intends to go public in 2–3 years; Toss has raised $350M to date and is valued at $2.4B.
$100M: N26, a Germany-based challenger bank, raises $100M Series D (extension) from internal investors; the company offers a digital banking app; has raised ~$800M to date.
$85M: Uber is in talks to lead a $170M investment in mobility firm Lime; Uber is considering putting $85M into the company, valuing it at $510M; Lime was valued at $2.4B in 2018; as part of the deal, Uber would have the option to acquire Lime for a set price between 2022 and 2024.
19M: Nintendo predicts it will sell 19M Switch devices in the current financial year; the company sold 21M in the previous year, which ended in March; Nintendo says “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” is the fastest-selling Switch title to date, shipping 13.4M units in the first six weeks.
30% of recent tech startup layoffs are in sales.
25%: Airbnb to lay off 25% of staff; Founder and CEO Brian Chesky told staff he expected 2020 revenue would be ~half of 2019’s revenue (reportedly $4.8B), and that the company would cut ~1.9k of its ~7.5k workers; he also revealed plans to cut back on spending in growth areas; Airbnb recently secured ~$2B in debt to weather the pandemic.
14%: Uber to lay off 3.7k employees, ~14% of its workforce; will affect recruiting and customer support teams; CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will sacrifice his base salary for the rest of the year; Khosrowshahi earned most of his 2019 compensation via bonuses and stock awards — on top of a $1M base salary; The Information recently reported that Uber’s gross bookings were down 80% due to the pandemic.
🤑 Q1 Results
Uber ($53B market cap) Q1 mixed; $3.54B revenue ($3.5B expected); -$1.70 EPS (-$0.88 expected); Eats saw gross bookings grow 50% YoY; CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the pandemic-related boost in the Eats business could be long lasting; Rides volume was down 80% YoY, but Khosrowshahi said volume had increased in each of the last three weeks.
Lyft ($7.8B market cap) Q1 mixed: $955.7M revenue, up 23% YoY($893M expected); -$1.31 EPS; $398M loss (-$97.4M adjusted, -$85.2M EBITDA adjusted); the company reported a 3% growth in active riders YoY; Lyft laid off ~1k employees last week.
Square ($30B market cap) Q1 mixed: $1.38B revenue ($1.29B expected): $758M transaction revenue, $296M subscription and services revenue, $21M hardware revenue; $106M net loss (-$0.24 EPS, -$0.02 EPS adjusted, $0.13 expected); $25.7B gross payment volume.
Pinterest ($12B market cap) Q1 mixed: $272M revenue, up 35% YoY ($270M expected); -$0.10 EPS (-$0.09 expected); 367M MAU, up 26% YoY; US user growth was up 6%.
Disney ($182.4B market cap) Q2 mixed: $18B revenue, up 20.8% YoY; $2.4B operating income, down 37% YoY; its Media Networks unit generated $7.2B revenue, up 28% YoY; Parks, Experiences and Products division brought in $5.5B, down 10% YoY. Disney+ has 54.5M subscribers worldwide; Hulu (which is controlled by Disney) has 32.1M customers, up 27% YoY; ESPN+ has 7.9M subscribers, up 259% YoY. Disney will reopen Shanghai Disneyland on May 11, more than 3 months after it was closed because of the coronavirus pandemic; Disney’s other parks around the world will remain shut for the time being.
See last week’s edition for more Q1 financial results.
📰 What’s going on
Uber Eats exits seven global markets including Czech Republic, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt; the firm is also transferring its UAE operation to Careem, which it acquired last year; Uber says the moves are not linked to the coronavirus pandemic, but are instead about the company’s aim to be first or second in all markets in which it competes.
Apple announces this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference will begin June 22, accessible via the Apple Developer website and app; developers will have free access to keynotes, sessions, the Platforms State of the Union, and more; Apple also announced the Swift Student Challenge, which calls on students to create Swift playgrounds.
Apple updates 13-inch MacBook Pro with a Magic Keyboard (scissor-switch); also features a physical escape key and 10th-Gen processors; starts at $1.3k for 256GB storage and 16GB RAM; available to order now.
Twitter starts rolling out an adjusted layout for tweet replies to make conversations easier to follow; responses will now feature lines and indentations so users can better ascertain the correlation between tweets; Twitter has been testing the feature in its prototyping app twttr since last year.
Facebook’s Oculus unit is prototyping several new versions of the Quest headset; Oculus is considering smaller, lighter designs with better displays and reworked controllers; the firm is yet to settle on a final product; the sources also say the devcie is set to launch later this year, but note it could be delayed until next year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Mind The Product launches membership program. “Prioritised” tier (launch price $150/year) includes AMAs with experts, video library, and virtual roundtables, more; “Leader” tier (launch price $690/year) includes “Prioritised” perks + leadership-focused content, leadership forums, and leader-matching for discussions.
Mozilla releases Firefox v76 for Windows, Mac, and Linux; features Audio Worklets, which enable Zoom calls without the Zoom app; password management service Lockwise now tags weak passwords, notifies of site breaches, and password-protects credentials for multi-user devices; also includes developer-centric updates, such as new network inspection options and improved debugging.
Salesforce announces several new products intended to help businesses as they reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic; includes a system for checking the wellness of employees and shift management tools for reducing office density.
Sonos announces several new products; the Sonos Arc soundbar ($800) features support for Dolby Atmos and Alexa; both the third-gen Sonos Sub subwoofer ($700) and Sonos Five speaker ($500) feature more processing power, memory, and a new radio for connecting devices.
The UK is considering rebuilding its coronavirus contact-tracing app because it does not run fully in the background on iOS and newer Android devices; the app is currently in testing, but the British government has engaged Swiss firm Zuhlke Engineering to see if it can rework it to include Apple and Google’s Exposure Notification API.
Xiaomi announces Mi Commerce, a new service enabling those impacted by stay-at-home orders to purchase Xiaomi products for delivery by local retailers; launching in India this week; the company said the service would remain active after lockdowns are lifted, should it be successful; Xiaomi also affirmed it would offer working capital loans for partners.
👩🏾💻 Good reads
Spotify vs. Fitbit; great piece by Marty Cagan on how empowered engineering teams can help your organization to stay innovative as it scales.
Never let a crisis go to waste, by Avinash Kaushiuk. History demonstrates that human society and norms have an incredible capacity to spring back to the median after a crisis. Yet, just as consistently, a minority of people and teams have demonstrated an ability to take advantage of a crisis to drive change that optimizes the present to brighten the future.
5 questions that (newly) virtual leaders should ask themselves, by Melissa Raffoni (CEO of The Raffoni Group) for HBR. For the first time in the age of technology, ad hoc face-to-face meetings are no longer an option for many people. While we don’t anticipate in-person meetings to go away forever, working during the Covid-19 crisis does provide us with the opportunity to reflect on how the best leaders succeed in virtual environments.
Algorithms are driving the price of some goods out of whack. Dynamic-pricing systems, trained to optimize sales on platforms like Amazon, are sending bags of rice to $60 and peanut butter to $45.
[Podcast] Remote Discovery. Catch Mind the Product’s podcast with Teresa Torres on how to incorporate remote discovery into your practice and adapt to change.
💻 Upcoming online events
Product Management live chat with Spotify Product Manager by Product School, Tuesday, May 12, 19:30 CET, Free
Virtual Product Summit, May 21 (day-long event), Free
ProductCon, May 27 (day-long event), Free
[Virtual] ProductTank Rotterdam kick-off event, co-hosted by Christina Zacharia and Lucia Collara, with guests Stephen Culligan (Head of Glofox and EME ProductTank coordinator) and Janna Bastow (co-founder ProductPad and Mind the Product), May 27 18:30 CET, Free
Additionally, check out this Best Product Conferences in 2020 list put together by Product School.
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.