el producto #185

Q2 financials, Twitter Premium, Revolut funding, Spotify video podcasts, New Samsung Galaxy, Amazon financial services, B2B marketplaces, more

Welcome to a new edition of el producto

🎰 The week in figures

$495M: China-based online grocery firm Missfresh raises $495M led by the China International Capital Corporation with participation from Tencent and others; offers fresh produce deliveries across China; has raised ~$1.5B to date

$200M: TikTok launched a Creator Fund to pay its users for creating content directly. The move marks the company’s first foray into directly paying users and is aimed to keep top talent on the platform. TikTok also says it will add 10k jobs in the US Over the next 3 years; TikTok’s US workforce has almost tripled this year, growing from 500 staff to more than 1.4k

$100M: Ride-hailing firm Gett raises $100M primary capital from unnamed investors; Gett operates B2B ride services in the UK, Israel, and more; has raised $750M to date

100M: More than 100M 5G smartphones are expected to ship in China this year; ~66M 5G devices were active by June 30; The Chinese government also says there are 410k 5G base stations across the country

$80M: Revolut raises $80M Series D from TSG Consumer Partners at a $5.5B valuation, bringing the round total to $580M; counts +12M users

£30M: UK-based fintech firm Moneybox raises £30M Series C led by Eight Roads and CNP; the company offers savings and investment tools via a mobile app; has raised more than $60M to date

5M: NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming app has been downloaded 1.5M times in its first 6 days; compares with Quibi which saw 1.2M downloads over its first 6 days; Disney+ had 13M downloads over the same period

91%: Startup investments across Southeast Asia increased to 184 deals during Q2, up 59% YoY; the value of those transactions reached $2.7B, up 91% YoY ; the e-commerce sector raised $691M during the quarter, fintech secured $496M, and logistics $360M

30%: Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple, and Microsoft were collectively granted more than 30% of all H1-B visas issued in 2019; Amazon secured ~8.6k H1-B visas last year, up from ~500 in 2010; 50% of those graduating with STEM degrees from US colleges are overseas students

25%: US smartphone sales dropped 25% during Q2; Samsung’s sell-through numbers dropped 10%, Apple fell 23%, and OnePlus declined 60%; the latest iPhone SE helped reduce Apple’s fall

20%: European venture funding for the first half of 2020 is down about 20% from record levels set in H12019, with the reset driven in part by a sharp drop in funding rounds above $100 million. Among nations, the U.K. led startup funding, followed by Germany and France

17.3%: China’s year-old STAR stock market is second-only to the Nasdaq with regard to the value of IPOs and secondary listings; STAR has attracted 17.3% of all stock issuances this year; it has received listing applications from over 400 companies, onboarding more than 120 so far

6%: LinkedIn announces 960 job cuts representing 6% of the company’s workforce; affects sales and hiring around the world

📰 What’s going on

Twitter is in the early phases of exploring premium services and will likely conduct tests this year; Jack Dorsey made the announcement, and said he had a high bar for what customers should pay for; Twitter posted a job listing this month for a software engineering position with a subscription platform team codenamed Gryphon

Microsoft launches third-party app integrations for Teams; the apps can display content and notifications during calls

Samsung unveils the $1.45k Galaxy Z Flip 5G, slated to ship Aug 7; the device has the same body as its 4G predecessor, but with an upgraded Snapdragon 865 Plus processor; supports Sub-6 spectrum, not mmWave

Google’s Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max add Netflix support; lets users launch a movie or show using their voice, or scrolling and selecting content via the touch display; also supports hands-free gestures for pausing and resuming playback; rolling out now

Google is removing fees for merchants who use its Buy on Google checkout service; companies have previously been charged a commission of 5-15% for products sold through Google Express or its Search pages; Google is also adding support for third-party payment providers Shopify and PayPal

Google announces Maps update that adds docked bike-share stations for point-to-point directions and navigation; rolling out over the coming weeks to 10 cities including New York City, London, and Mexico City; Google reported a 69% increase in requests for cycling directions in Maps since February

Robinhood postpones UK expansion indefinitely, will focus on the US; the company began recruiting for the UK launch in January 2019 and opened a waitlist for UK users last November; Robinhood is shutting down its UK site and will delete data from the 250k people who joined the waitlist (in compliance with privacy regulation)

Some of ByteDance’s US investors are considering purchasing a majority stake in TikTok. General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital are both involved in discussions; ByteDance founder and CEO Zhang Yiming has said he’s not opposed to such a deal; the report suggests it could help TikTok avoid a forced divestiture

The New York Times acquires podcast firm Serial Productions; terms undisclosed; the company was founded by Sarah Koenig, Julie Snyder, and Ira Glass after the success of their first season of the “Serial” podcast; as part of the deal The New York Times will establish a “creative and strategic alliance” with “This American Life”

Spotify launches video podcasts for free and paid users around the world; initially limited to select creators; Spotify promises seamless transitions between audio and video versions of content for background playback; all video podcasts will include audio-only versions; shows include originals, exclusives, and third-party content

Spotify has signed a new multi-year licensing agreement with Universal Music Group (UMG); terms undisclosed; the two companies say they will collaborate on marketing and more; UMG will also get early access to new Spotify features; the deal could see UMG paying to access some marketing and data tools

WhatsApp says it plans to offer various financial services to lower-income users in parts of India; the Facebook-owned company has been working with several local banks to explore ways of delivering insurance, credit, and pension services in rural areas; WhatsApp says it’s also looking at ways to help digitize SMEs; the firm will pilot several new services, though it’s unclear when they will roll out

Facebook’s Messenger app for iOS and iPadOS adds a lock feature that uses Face ID or Touch ID for authentication; known as App Lock, it lets users automatically secure their messages after they’ve exited the app; rolling out to Android soon; Messenger is also adding a Privacy section for managing App Lock and block lists

Facebook Messenger adds broadcast support for video chats; allows Messenger Rooms conversations featuring up to 50 participants to be live-streamed to a broader audience; Messenger Room creators can moderate those on the call and choose who can view the live stream

Apple begins offering modified iPhones to security researchers who wish to hunt for flaws; the devices allow users to run custom programs and provide deeper access to system data; those approved for the program must commit to sharing their findings with Apple

Apple files to patent tech that could enable the Pencil to detect the colors of real-world objects; the feature could enable users to select colors for drawing on iPad or a future iPhone, check the accuracy of colors in photographs, and accurately read medical test strips

Snapchat launches its first Minis: simple HTML apps that run within Chat, some collaborative; the company launched study tool Flashcards, meditation app Headspace, Snap-made Let’s Do It (which helps friends decide what to do), and messaging app Prediction Master

Germany-based Dance launches a €60 (~$67) per month e-bike subscription service; currently invite-only for people in Berlin, the company promises to deliver an e-bike within 24 hours of ordering; Dance promises to immediately replace a bike if it is stolen or in need of repair

💰 Q2 financials

Microsoft ($1.61T market cap) Q2beats: $38B revenue, up from $33.7B YoY ($36.5B expected); $1.46 EPS ($1.37 expected); $11.2B profit, down 15% YoY; $143B revenue for the fiscal year, up 14%; $44.3B full-year profit, up 13%

Tesla ($295B market cap) Q2 beats: $6.04B revenue ($5.37B expected); $2.18 EPS ($0.03 expected); $5.38B automotive revenue, down from $5.18B YoY; $420M in regulatory credits, up from $111.2M YoY; marks Tesla’s fourth consecutive quarter of profitability, making the company eligible for inclusion in the S&P 500

Snap ($36B market cap) Q2 mixed: $454M revenue, up 17% YoY ($439M expected); $326M loss, 28% YoY; $1.91 ARPU ($1.87 expected); 238M DAUs, up 17%YoY; Snap says the coronavirus pandemic could negatively impact its ad revenue in Q3; the company cites uncertainty over sports leagues and the back-to-school period as areas of concern; Snap notes Q3 is currently up 32% YoY, but doesn’t necessarily expect it to hold

Twitter ($30.2B market cap) Q2 mixed: $683M revenue, down 19% YoY ($707M expected); $1.39 LPS; ad revenue down 23% YoY; 186M monetizable DAUs, up 34% YoY(172.8M expected)

Next week’s earnings:

  • Facebook (Wednesday)
  • Alphabet (Thursday)
  • Apple (Thursday)
  • Amazon (Thursday)

👩🏾‍💻 Good reads

Everything you need to know about what Amazon is doing in financial services. Extensive report by CB Insights covering Amazon’s efforts on payments, lending, insurance, etc

The adjacent user theory, by Bangaly Kaba (former VP Growth @ Instacart, Instagram). Solving for the adjacent user through growth and scaling work helps your product realize its true product-market fit potential

Building Product Moats. Determining the presence and strength of a competitive moat is challenging. Most important is determining what unique competitive advantage exists. Harder yet is determining how long an advantage will last. This is why management should be aware of the competitive advantage(s) sought, how to assess their product’s positioning in this framework, and understand when an advantage may be at risk

The fundamentals of Roadmapping, by Julia Austin. Measuring performance is important, but what’s often missing is the holistic view of where the company is going and an organization-wide understanding of how it will reach its goals

Investing in B2B Marketplaces; and interview with James Currier (NFX Guild)

‘How-to’ guide for crafting your first Product vision. A brief and handy guide by Anthony Murphy, including resources by Roman Pichler

European Venture Report Q2 2020: Funding down to 2018 levels after record high in 2019

🙂 #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