el producto #180

Hierarchy of marketplaces, Bird’s navigation app, Youtube’s collaborative playlists, The role canvas, Crisis survival stories, Facebook buys Mapillary, more.

Welcome to a new edition of el producto

🎰 The week in figures

$17B: Games company Epic is close to securing a $750M funding round, according to Bloomberg sources; the arrangement will value Epic at $17B

$16B: DoorDash raised $400M at a valuation of $16B — an increase of 27% compared to its last valuation given a year ago

$1.6B: UK challenger bank Monzo raises £60M (~$76M) from Reference Capital, Y Combinator, and others; the funding values the fintech firm at $1.6B, down from its previous worth of $2.5B; Monzo is reportedly raising ~$50M in a second tranche, which is expected to close in the coming months

$1.3B: Seattle-based CRM software firm Outreach raises $50M Series F on a $1.3B post-money valuation led by Sands Capital with participation from Salesforce Ventures, Operator Collective, and others; Outreach offers a suite of tools for sourcing and tracking meetings, handling comms, and more; integrates with services from Salesforce, Microsoft, and others

$1B: Fintech firm Upgrade raises $40M Series D on a ~$1B post-money valuation led by Santander InnoVentures; the company offers mobile banking and credit services; has raised ~$200M to date

$500M: Data monitoring firm Palantir raises ~$500M from Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Holdings; it’s thought to be Palantir’s last investment round before a public listing

$500M: TikTok is aiming to generate $500M revenue in the US this year; by comparison, the company brought in $200M to $300M worldwide last year; the report also claims TikTok is looking to hire a US-based exec to oversee its sales team

5%: Singapore-based ride-hailing firm Grab cuts ~360 people, equal to 5 percent of its workforce; Grab says it will be focusing more on deliveries; it will consolidate its teams and end non-core projects

📰 What’s going on

Facebook acquires Sweden-based mapping firm Mapillary; terms undisclosed; the company offers a crowdsourced Streetview-like service; Mapillary will be rolled into Facebook’s broader map efforts; raised $24.5M to date

WhatsApp launches a payments feature for users in Brazil; supports the sending and receiving of money between individuals and businesses; the company has been testing a remittance service in India, but Brazil is its first publicly available region

Apple has repeatedly denied Facebook’s attempts to list its gaming app in the iOS App Store; Facebook Gaming contravenes Apple’s rules against apps that distribute third-party games

Bird launches a standalone app for turn-by-turn navigation; Bird Maps provides directions for bike and micro-mobility routes; uses data from Israel-based mapping firm Trailze; rolling out in Paris and Tel Aviv; unknown if or when it will be available in other markets

Square acquires Verse, a Spain-based payments app; Verse offers peer-to-peer remittance tools in Europe; Square says Verse will be become part of its Cash App unit, though it will continue to operate under its existing brand

YouTube Music is set to add a collaborative playlists feature; YouTube Music has added a Collaborate button to its Android app, but it’s not yet active; previously uncovered code indicates users will be able to share playlists via a link

Alphabet-owned Verily launches a health screening service for businesses, schools, and other organizations looking to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic; known as Healthy at Work, the app-based system provides diagnostics tools to help identify possible cases of COVID-19; it also lets employers see a staff member’s testing status, though the info cannot be shared with health insurers or other third-parties

Google Assistant-powered smart displays will soon be able to show AMP-enabled web articles; Google is also adding new developer tools including an API for save points in long-form spoken articles

Google launches a Chrome Extension to let users generate URLs that link to specific text within a webpage; users highlight text then right-click and choose “Copy Link to Selected Text”; when a link is followed, the user will see the text highlighted on the page; links work in compatible browsers

Google announces a partnership with Parallels to add Windows apps support for enterprise Chromebooks; Chromebooks can currently support Windows apps via the Parallels cloud-based Remote Application Server, but the new offering will run Parallels Desktop natively on the device; expected to be available in the fall

The Russian government lifts a ban against secure messaging app Telegram; regulator Roskomnadzor says Telegram founder Pavel Durov has shown willingness to help fight terrorism and extremism on the platform; Roskomnadzor first tried to block the app in April 2018, but Telegram users were able to circumvent revoked IP addresses

InVision launches Freehand Templates, a set of curated templates for the most common whiteboarding activities for product teams

UK-based EV firm Arrival unveils an all-electric bus; the vehicle features screens on the inside and outside for displaying journey info; also includes a Tesla-like display in the driver’s cab; launch details unknown

UK to replace contact-tracing app with Apple and Google model. U-turn follows technical difficulties and widespread criticism from privacy campaigners

Sony says it has completely reworked the UX for its upcoming PlayStation 5; Matt MacLaurin, VP of UX design at PlayStation, says the new interface is “more subtle than flashy”; Sony has teased the design, but says it will soon show it off fully

👩🏾‍💻 Good reads

Extended interview with a16z’s Marc Andreessen, touching topics like daily routines, productivity, goals and systems, books, & much more.

[Podcast] Masters of Scale: Test. Measure. Repeat. — with Eric Ries (Lean Startup; Long-Term Stock Exchange)

How 7 firms survived and rebuilt after a crisis: Amazon, Sequoia Capital, Booking Holdings, Delta, and more. While the current crisis may once again be challenging some of these companies, CB Insights look at their strategies for rebuilding in the past, and the lessons that could still apply today

The Hierarchy of Marketplaces (Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3) synthesizes the thinking on how to build enduring marketplaces. To deliver minimum viable happiness, you have to understand the humans on both sides of the marketplace, and what drives them. The marketplace that wins is the marketplace that figures out how to make their buyers and sellers meaningfully happier than any substitute. GMV is irrelevant — a vanity metric that can lead you down the wrong path if you chase it

The Role Canvas: 4 Questions to help you re-think how you hire. Creating a meaningful role is the foundation for building a strong product team. It ensures there’s clarity around purpose, accountabilities and skills — human and technical- that the team identifies collectively

💻 Upcoming online events

Building ethical Products: shaping our future with technology, by ProdPad, Thursday, June 25, 17:00 CET, Free

PMF Connect: SaaS Monetization Lessons, with former position as VP Product at Codecademy, Tuesday, June 30, 15:00 CET, Free

ProductTank June — Building Product Strategy, Tuesday, June 30, 18:30 CET, Free

Tech Circus Meets: Jeff Gothelf — Author of Lean UX, by The UX Crunch — Amsterdam, Wednesday, July 8, 19:00 CET, Free

Additionally, check out this Best Product Conferences in 2020 list put together by Product School

🙂 #alwaysbekind

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