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Uber car rental, Netflix for free, Alexa for residential and gas stations, Improving decision-making, Zoom hypergrowth, Continuous product discovery, more

Welcome to a new edition of el producto

🎰 The week in figures

$8.4B: The French government announces a $120B stimulus package with $8.4B dedicated to digital initiatives over the next two years, including startup and infrastructure investment; Bpifrance will act as a VC firm for the investments and as a limited partner; the country will also invest $360M in tech sector education

$6–8B: Dating app Bumble is planning an IPO, aiming for a valuation of $6B to $8B,; the firm is looking to go public early next year; Bumble is majority-owned by PE firm Blackstone

$300M: Brazilian fintech Neon Pagamentos raises $300M Series C led by General Atlantic; the company offers digital banking services, credit cards, personal loans, and investment products; claims 9.4M accounts; raised $420M to date

$220M: Proptech firm PropertyGuru raises ~$220M; the Singapore-based firm operates an online real estate platform; previously announced plans to list on the Australian stock exchange, but canceled the move last year; has raised ~$550M to date

$173M: South Korean fintech Viva Republica raises $173M at a $2.6B valuation from Sequoia Capital China and others; the firm operates peer-to-peer payments service Toss and plans to develop a consumer finance app that provides product recommendations from banks, insurers, and others based on user engagement data; raised $530M to date

$90M: Creator support platform Patreon raises $90M Series E on a pre-money valuation of $1.2B; the company provides tools to let fans directly fund artists and creators; has raised more than $255M to date

$62M: India-based food delivery firm Zomato raises $62M from Temasek; the funding is part of a $600M round that was initially expected to close in January; Ant Group previously committed $150M, but has only paid out ~$50M so far because of regulatory changes in the country

16: Europe has seen 16 tech companies go public this year, the fewest in a decade-plus; collectively raised $650M, compared to the $9.2B raised by US listings; private investors have acquired many IPO candidates, driving valuations for private companies; European fintech companies have seen the biggest raises of this year’s EU tech debuts

458%: Zoom ($104.4B market cap) FQ2 beats: $663.5M revenue, up 458% YoY ($500.5M expected); the video platform averaged 148.4M MAU for the quarter, up 4.7k% YoY

📰 What’s going on

Episerver acquires A/B testing firm Optimizely; terms undisclosed; Episerver will offer Optimizely tech as part of its content management and other tools; Optimizely claims 1k customers including IBM and The Wall Street Journal; cut 15% of its workforce in July; previously raised $251M

Uber to rent out vehicles in the UK in partnership with rental company CarTrawler; users can book vehicles in the Uber app under the new “Uber Rent” section, and pickup from hundreds of locations; the company trialed the program in France and Australia

Netflix starts offering select shows and movies to non-subscribers around the world; the firm is making content from its Netflix Original catalog, including “Stranger Things” and “When They See Us,”available via a web browser; users do not need to create an account to start watching; Netflix has previously offered free content on a region-by-region basis

Twitter says it will add more context to trending topics; the company will display representative tweets to provide some immediate insight; follows calls for Twitter to suspend the feature because it has often been gamed to spread misinformation

Twitter starts displaying the number of quote tweets (aka retweets with comments) alongside regular retweets; expanded quote tweets are displayed in their own thread

Amazon, Apple, and Google have each announced price changes for UK enterprise customers to offset the UK’s new digital services tax; Amazon increased third-party seller fees by 2%; Apple added a 2% fee for the UK App Store, deducted before developer payouts; Google increased ad fees for Google Ads and YouTube in the UK by 2%. Google fees will also increase 5% in Turkey and Austria after the country’s governments introduced digital services taxes; the company will begin collecting the fees in November

Google rolls out an update for Google Images, allowing users to more easily find out how to license specific content; adds a “Licensable” badge to thumbnails, with further details when the image is clicked; users Can also filter results based on licenses attached

Apple releases iOS 13.7 featuring the Exposure Notifications Express framework; the Settings app now features a toggle for Exposure Notifications; DC, MD, NV, VA are the first US states to implement the framework; the update also adds iCloud Drive folder sharing from within the Files app, new Memoji stickers, and bug fixes

Apple announces app developers will be able to offer free or discounted subscriptions to users; the system will let developers provide codes that users can redeem in-app; Apple says the feature will be made available in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, which is launching later this year

Amazon announces Alexa for Residential, a program through which homeowners, property managers, and landlords can equip units with Alexa devices requiring zero setup and no Amazon account; residents can link their Amazon accounts, and voice recordings are deleted daily; property managers cannot access tenant data

Amazon says 11.5k Exxon and Mobil gas stations in the US now support voice-powered payments via Alexa; supports Echo Auto, Alexa-enabled vehicles, and the Alexa apps for iOS and Android; payment comes via the user’s Amazon Pay account

Facebook is testing a feature enabling users to view Instagram Stories that haven’t been cross-posted via the main Facebook App; people who create Instagram Stories can limit visibility on Facebook to people who follow them on Instagram

Facebook’s photo and video transfer tool adds support for Dropbox and Koofr; the service, which also works with Google Photos, lets users easily port their images out of Facebook

Facebook will limit the forwarding of Messenger content to 5 people; previously allowed users to pass along messages to +150 people; WhatsApp already limits the spread of messages to 5 others

Facebook’s FRL Research details audio tech for AR that detects what a user is focusing on and amplifies that sound within the spacial audio field; for instance, AR glasses using the tech and noise-canceling earpieces could enable a person in a noisy restaurant to isolate one person’s voice at a time

Facebook updates policy and says it will notify third-party developers when the company finds critical bugs or vulnerabilities in their code; the company also said it would ensure impacted users were informed; the company will give developers 21 days to respond to such a notice and 90 days to resolve programming issues before disclosure

Yandex spins out its self-driving division; the unit is separating from MLU BV, a mobility business co-owned by Uber; Yandex is purchasing some of Uber’s shares, giving it a 73% stake; Yandex will also invest $150M in the driverless firm

ByteDance acquires China-based Wuhan Hezhong Yibao Technology, which operates fintech platform UIPay; terms undisclosed; UIPay offers third-party payments services; ByteDance says it will use the business to enhance the user experience across its suite of apps and services

Tinder announces its interactive video series “Swipe Night” will launch internationally on Sept 12 (it launched in the US last October); the show, presented in a choose-your-own-adventure style, lets users watch at the same time, and then displays with others who made similar choices

Whole Foods Market opens its first delivery-only location, in the Industry City complex of Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood; service is limited to Brooklyn; parent Amazon said it hired hundreds of workers for the store; Amazon said when announcing Q2 results that it had seen online grocery sales triple YoY

Walmart’s $98 per year membership service launches Sept 15; known as Walmart+ it includes access to cost-free same day deliveries, fuel discounts, and the company’s cashier-free Scan & Go service; Walmart is offering a 15-day free trial at launch

India-based e-commerce Flipkart launches a wholesale business aimed at SMEs; Flipkart Wholesale is initially offering apparel, but plans to expand to more than 200k items; Flipkart is majority owned by Walmart

👩🏾‍💻 Good reads

Good To Great Decisions, by Barry O’Reilly. How using a decision journal can help improving your decision-making process overtime. Complement the read with this article by HBR on how to make decisions in the face of uncertainty

HBR research: knowledge workers are more productive from home. Lockdown has been positive for knowledge worker productivity in the short term. But it has also created some concerns and challenges around longer-term effectiveness, creativity, and personal resilience

Continuous Product Discovery — an incredibly effective and powerful way of keeping your product relevant and valued by your customers; by ProdPad co-founder Simon Cast

Media Marketplaces and the future of Digital Media, by James Currier. This brilliant essay will help you identify the different options and understand the success factors of some of the media giants of today. Here’s also a short video on Network Effect types: a good refresher

Side Project Success: How to Crowdfund Your Product, by Ellen Merryweather for 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

Written by

Full-time learner, product stuff, “triathlete” & global traveller. Former product @ Booking.com and @ Just Eat.

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