Uber buys Postmates, Twitter Premium, Didi’s digital currency, Apple Pay and WhatsApp business QR codes, Business pivots, #ProductCon talks , more.

Welcome to a new edition of el producto

🎰 The week in figures

$2.7B: Indonesia-based travel-booking service Traveloka is raising a ~$250M down round; the company is being valued at $2.7B, roughly 17% below its previous valuation

$2.65B: Uber ($53.2B market cap) acquires delivery firm Postmates for $2.65B; Postmates will be rolled into Uber’s food delivery unit, overseen by Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty; Postmates had recently been considering restarting the IPO process having first filed in 2019; Postmates was last valued at $2.4B

100M: Google says Android 10 reached 100M downloads within five months of launching; compares with Android 9 Pie which took almost seven months to reach the same figure; Android 11 is expected to launch in September (currently available in beta)

$76M: India-based fintech firm Paytm and QorQl, both founded by Vijay Shekhar Sharma, acquire insurtech business Raheja QBE for $76M; Raheja offers a range of products including health, home, and vehicle insurance; the deal is subject to regulatory approval

49M: TikTok’s transparency report reveals the app removed 49M-plus videos in the second half of last year over content violations; represents less than 1% of the videos uploaded during that time; comparatively, YouTube removed 14.7M videos over the same period; TikTok said it saw 1.3k copyright removal requests and 45 government takedown requests (non from China)

$25M: Finland-based database startup MariaDB raises $25M Series C (extension); the firm operates a popular alternative to MySQL; has raised $125M to date

92% of early customers who signed up for Quibi’s three-month free trial have opted to not become paid subscribers; the report relates to 910k users who downloaded the app within the first three days of launch; for comparison, of the 9.5M Disney+ users who signed up in the first three days, 1M became paid customers, a conversion of 11%

📰 What’s going on

Twitter is working on a premium service, according to a job listing; the company initially said it’s developing a subscription platform codenamed Gryphon; the firm has since adjusted the post, removing the subscription reference; details of what Gryphon will offer remain unclear, but Twitter notes it will be usable by other parts of the company

Slack acquires corporate directory business Rimeto; terms undisclosed; Rimeto offers company profiles and employee overviews; Slack says it will rename Rimeto but continue to operate it as a standalone app

Following TikTok’s ban in India, several of its competitors have seen a growth in user numbers; short video app Roposo added 22M customers over a two-day period; social platform Chingari is seeing downloads of 2M to 3M per day

Facebook resolves SDK issue that caused iOS apps featuring Facebook Login to crash; the issue, the details of which Facebook hasn’t disclosed, impacted Spotify, Pinterest, Tinder, and other iOS apps for ~three hours; the Android versions of affected apps were not impacted

Instagram begins testing its Reels feature in India; currently available to a limited number of users; initially launched in Brazil, Reels lets users create 15-second music-based videos they can post to Stories; follows India’s ban against TikTok and other China-based apps

Instagram is rolling out its pinned comments feature to all users; enables a post author to pin three comments to the top of the post’s thread, thereby shaping the tone of the conversation

WhatsApp Business launches QR codes, allowing users to quickly connect with merchants; has also added tools for businesses to share their product catalogs and URLs

Ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing says it’s working with China’s central bank to test its upcoming digital currency; the People’s Bank of China has been trialing the cryptocurrency in four cities since earlier this year; China hopes to use the tech to eventually replace cash in circulation

Uber launches Uber Eats grocery delivery service in Canada and Latin America; the company is working with Chile’s Cornershop in some markets; the service now covers Montreal and Toronto, and cities in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Peru; Uber expects to launch grocery delivery in the US later this month

Spotify to launch in Russia on July 15, likely in partnership with telco MTS; Russia was the music industry’s 17th largest market last year; Russia will be Spotify’s 80th launch country; sources say the company targets South Korea next

Adobe is prototyping a tool to personalize articles in real time. It would change up the article’s image and headline based on the visitor’s information to increase reader engagement

Google’s Wear OS will seemingly be underpinned by Android 11; Wear OS is currently based on Android 9 Pie; the Android engineering team discussed Android 11 for Wear OS in a Reddit AMA

YouTube launches new monetization metric, revenue per mille (RPM); the metric reveals total revenue earned per 1k views; takes into account monetized and non-monetized videos, and income from all sources including ad revenue, subscriptions, YouTube Premium, etc

Amazon rolls out Prime Video profiles globally; the feature supports a primary profile and five others; the owner can set accounts for use by adults or children; each profile provides personalized recommendations, a personal Watchlist, and the ability to resume viewing

Apple plans QR code payments for Apple Pay, according to code in the second iOS 14 beta; in addition to scanning the feature reportedly could enable an iPhone to generate and display codes for payments

Apple releases the first public betas of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14; the company plans several beta releases before the official launch in the fall; the iOS 14 update adds home screen widgets, the App Library, the ability to run App Clips (to preview apps without installing), more

Apple plans to launch 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros with Mini-LED displays; the details match a previous report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo; MacRumors notes the timeline doesn’t rule out the laptops using Apple’s custom-designed processors

Samsung begins offering tech support via WhatsApp for customers in India; the chat-based service offers repair info, feature advice, and more; Samsung says it launched the facility to provide contactless assistance during the coronavirus pandemic

Samsung announces Galaxy Unpacked event for August 5; many expect the company will unveil Galaxy Note 20 devices; the flagship reportedly features a three-camera array with a periscope lens; the lineup reportedly uses 5G as default and has a 120Hz option; also expected, a new S-Pen

Microsoft reveals multiple updates for Teams; Together Mode uses AI to create an avatar for each meeting participant in a shared virtual space to clarify who is speaking, relay body language, etc; a new dynamic view alters the screen layout for side-by-side content presentations, more; Microsoft is also adding video filters and live reactions; will also update the mobile app with Cortana support

Elon Musk says Tesla is “very close” to realizing full self-driving tech; Musk made the comments in a pre-recorded video, shown as part of the World AI Conference in Shanghai; Musk claims Tesla has worked through most of the challenges associated with Level 5 driverless tech, suggesting it could achieve basic functionality this year

Zoom Video Communications launches hardware subscription plans; the company offers Zoom Phone for $6-$60 per month and Zoom Rooms teleconferencing hardware for $75 to $200 per month; third-party manufacturers provide the devices

Palantir has confidentially filed for an IPO; the data analytics firm has not indicated when it will go public, only saying it’ll happen after the SEC finishes its review process; follows a report the company has secured $550M of a ~$1B investment round

Fintech firm SoFi has applied for a bank charter; the company says it wants to offer “enhanced value and more products and services”; the fin-tech “unicorn” is best known for refinancing student loans

Coinbase plans to go public this year or early next year; one source said Coinbase was exploring a direct listing; the crypto exchange has not filed with the SEC but reportedly has held talks with law firms and investment banks

Crypto exchange platform Binance acquires Swipe.io, which provides a multi-currency wallet and a Visa debit card that enables fiat payments from crypto balances; terms undisclosed; Swipe now supports Binance’s BNB token; Binance has raised $10M to date

Walmart to launch $98-per-year subscription service Walmart+ this month; reportedly will provide same-day delivery of groceries and other products, reserved delivery windows, gas station discounts, early access to deals, a Scan & Go service that enables members to check out of stores without waiting in line, more

Loon officially launches its commercial broadband service in Kenya in partnership with Telkom Kenya; marks the Loon’s first full-scale deployment of its high-altitude balloons; the network uses ~35 balloons to cover ~31k square miles with terrain too rough for traditional ground-based infrastructure

👩🏾‍💻 Good reads

Product work beyond Product-Market fit. Fareed Mosavat, former Director of Product at Slack, and Casey Winters, CPO at Eventbrite, touch on Product strategy and the balance between Feature, Growth, Expansion and Scaling work

3 things Product Managers can do to serve their teams better. Nice article by my Just Eat ex-colleague James Gulland, very much aligned with my thoughts on PM crossovers, and their overall fit within orgs. Be the enabler!

Tech and the new normal, by Ben Evans. An update on Ben’s macro trends analysis, with a condensed version of where we were in January and some thoughts on where we are in June: forced experimentation and years of progress in weeks

Lying to customers. Rich Mironov on the importance on transparent and honest communication with b2b customers; ”As product managers, our words and our behavior matter. We represent the company beyond the current quarter, just as we nurture our products beyond the current release. Integrity, trust, and the long game are important”

Delivery apps need to start treating suppliers as partners, by Ian Macomber, Director of Analytics at Drizly Group, the world’s largest alcohol delivery marketplace. As demand as skyrocketed for Drizly, this has meant a less immediate focus on customer acquisition and retention and more investment in metrics and technology for supporting retailer operations.

How businesses have pivoted during the pandemic. HBR looks at Spotify focus on podcasts (although they were already heavily investing in this area before coronavirus arrived), and other examples of successful business pivots

Interesting and comprehensive standardised survey of phone and internet pricing around the world, by International Telecommunication Union

[Podcast + transcript] How contrarians think: the early days of Square, Yelp & PayPal with Keith Rabois, by NfX

#ProductCon talks. Last week took place the virtual conference #ProductCon, and they are now sharing all their talks on Youtube. Check out speakers sharing their experiences at Facebook, Google, Youtube, Waze, more

🙂 #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

Written by

Full-time learner, product stuff, “triathlete” & global traveller. Creating cool products @ Revolut, formerly @ Booking.com and @ Just Eat.

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