Spotify lyrics search, iPhone 12 lineup, G Suite rebrand, Driverless ride-share, Airbnb IPO plans, Growth strategies, Takeaway.com buys GrubHub, & more

Welcome to a new edition of el producto

🎰 The week in figures

$6.9B: Takeaway.com shareholders approve $6.9B acquisition of GrubHub but reject a compensation package for GrubHub CEO Matthew Maloney; the package included a $745k annual salary with stock and option grants worth up to ten times that; Takeaway Founder and CEO Jitse Groen will lead the Amsterdam-based combined company, the largest food delivery business outside of China

$2.2B: Japanese electronics firm NEC acquires Switzerland-based fintech company Avaloq for ~$2.2B; Avaloq offers wealth management software to financial institutions in 30 countries

$1.5B: Chinese video platform Bilibili plans to raise as much as $1.5B via a secondary listing; Bilibili is set to list on the Hong Kong stock exchange next year; the live-streaming platform claims more than 170M MAUs

$1.2B: Airbnb spent more than $1.2B between mid-2019 and mid-2020, according to documents seen by The Information; the burn rate has depleted more than a third of Airbnb’s cash reserves; most of the money was spent in Q1 of this year as the company refunded customers amid the coronavirus pandemic; follows reports Airbnb plans to raise $3B in its upcoming IPO

€1B: Spotify co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek discusses his plan to invest more than €1B worth of personal resources in European moonshots; Ek says he plans to work with other entrepreneurs, scientists, and startups to “build a new European Dream”; Ek also shares his thoughts on leadership, Spotify’s algorithm, and more

$500M: China-based ride-hailing firm Dida Chuxing (not to be confused with rival Didi Chuxing) plans to raise as much as $500M via an IPO; Dida claims 180M registered users (Didi has 550M)

$380M: Philadelphia-based goPuff, which offers on-demand delivery of household goods and daily essentials, raises $380M at a $3.9B valuation; the service, live in 500-plus US cities, operates 24/7 and delivers household products, baby food, over-the-counter medicine, alcohol, and more

$207M: No-code enterprise app platform Unqork raises $207M Series C at a $2B valuation; former MetLife CIO Gary Hoberman founded the company in 2017; the cloud-based platform enables clients to create apps, via drag-and-drop interface, using a library of pre-built components; raised $365M to date

$200M: Amsterdam-based MessageBird, a provider of cloud-based customer service software and automation tools, raised $200 million in a Series C

$200M: Instacart raises $200M at a $17.7B post-valuation; the company raised $225M in June and $100M in July; investors valued Instacart at $7.9B for a Series F in 2018; raised $2.4B to date

$160M: China’s central bank says to date it has processed 3M digital yuan transactions worth ~$160M; more than 120k personal and corporate digital wallets have been opened; China is testing the cryptocurrency in several cities including Shenzhen and Suzhou

$150M: Fintech firm Tipalti raises $150M Series E on a $2B post-money valuation; Tipalti offers automated invoicing tools to enterprise customers; has raised ~$280M to date

36%: Chrome is the most popular browser in China with 36-39% share; data from Chinese emergency response unit CNCERT shows Chrome has 30% share on mobile devices; Google Search is not accessible in the country without a VPN

📰 What’s going on

Spotify updates its iOS and Android apps, adding the ability for users to search for tracks using song lyrics; Apple Music has had a similar feature since 2018

Slack is testing video sharing and audio-only channels; the video feature enables users to share videos for asynchronous communication within channels; the company also updated its Workflow Builder to add new third-party integrations and additional methods for automating workflows

Twitter is testing Suggested Follows, enabling users to follow groups of suggested accounts after following another user; the feature algorithmically selects accounts related to the one just followed; takes into account the common follows of people who followed the account the user followed; initially limited to Android

Twitter is testing new labels for tweets containing misinformation with the goal of making labels more obvious and direct in terms of the information they provide; the company is considering a reddish label to ensure high visibility; Twitter is also considering tagging repeat offenders

Prices and release dates for Apple’s upcoming iPhone 12 lineup purportedly leak; an individual known as Kang (who reportedly has a track record for such leaks) says Apple will launch four iPhone models, the cheapest of which will be a dual-camera 5.4-inch model starting at $700, shipping Nov 13/14; dual camera 6.1-inch version starts at $800, ships Oct 23/24; triple camera 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro starts at $1k, ships Oct 23/24; triple-camera 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max starts at $1.1k, ships Nov 20/21; all models will have 5G; Apple is expected to announce new iPhones on Oct 13

Apple patent application for Controlled Identity Credentials Release indicates the company plans wireless transmission of government-issued ID to government officials, commercial entities, etc; the company uses first responders as an example of who would own devices capable of automatically requesting a mobile device owner’s ID

Google rebrands G Suite as Google Workspace; also introduces new logos for Gmail, Calendar, Drive, and more; additionally, Workspace is getting new features including the ability to collaborate on Docs, Sheets, and Slides in Rooms, and more; adds an $18 per month plan for users that need additional security features and compliance tools

Google announces new security features, including cross-app alerts regarding account security issues; initially limited to iOS, rolling out more broadly early next year; the company is also updating Assistant with a guest mode, which will ensure no data is saved; rolling out to Nest speakers and displays in coming weeks

Google Assistant adds the ability to search within and control some third-party Android apps; currently supports the top 30 apps on the Play Store including Twitter, Snapchat, and MyFitnessPal; Google plans to add support for more apps over time; the feature is rolling out now

Google announces a Guest Mode for Assistant; The Next Web likens it to Chrome’s Incognito Mode, noting interactions will not be saved to a user’s account history; users will be able to trigger Guest Mode via a voice or text request; rolling out in the coming weeks

Google launches Chrome 86, adding password protection for Android and iOS, the VP9 codec for WebRTC-based video calls on macOS Big Sur, automatic upgrades for insecure forms, more; the browser also begins the deprecation of support for FTP URLs, which will be fully deprecated with Chrome v88

Google launches Cloud Anchors, an ARCore feature that lets developers link AR content to real-world locations; suggested uses include AR restaurant menus, virtual graffiti sites, and more; Google also launches Earth Cloud Anchors, which lets developers add Google Maps Live View-style AR directions to their apps; both features work with iOS and Android apps

Instagram adds an easter egg for its 10th anniversary, allowing users to swap out the home screen icon; includes pre-launch and classic logo, as well as new variants on the current design

Instagram introduces a Stories Map feature; displays a private map showing the locations of where a user shared ephemeral posts over the years; the platform is also testing a tool to automatically hide comments similar to those that have previously been reported; Instagram is also expanding a feature that questions whether a user wants to post a negative comment

Instagram says it will start testing shopping features in Reels later this year; comes as the company makes shoppable tools for IGTV available worldwide; users can tap on a clip to buy items through Instagram Shop or an external website

Facebook launches an emotional health resource center; includes expert advice about coping with stress, grief, and more; also connects users with third-party services and support organizations; separately, Instagram has added mental wellness guides, and WhatsApp has introduced tools to facilitate conversations about suicide and other issues

Microsoft publishes ten principles for its relationships with app developers, including the promise that it will not block third-party app stores and will not prohibit apps from using external payment systems; Apple and Google have recently affirmed policies against apps that use external payment systems

UK-based crowd-equity platforms Crowdcube and Seedrs merge; financial terms undisclosed, but Crowdcube’s stakeholders will own 60% of the combined firm, and Seedrs’ shareholders will take the rest; Seedrs CEO Jeff Kelisky will serve as CEO of the new company; Crowdcube CEO Darren Westlake becomes chairman; Crowdcube has raised ~$40M to date, Seedrs ~$36M

Waymo makes its fully driverless ride-share service available to the public in the Phoenix area

Transport for London (TfL) rejects a license renewal application from India-based ride-hailing firm Ola; the company says it has failed to meet some of TfL’s permit requirements, particularly around vehicle and driver registrations; Ola has operated in London since February; Uber recently had it’s TfL ban overturned

👩🏾‍💻 Good reads

The end of the American internet, by Ben Evans. For its first two decades, the consumer internet was American — American companies, products, attitudes and laws set the agenda. That’s not so true anymore — there are more smartphones in China than in the USA and Western Europe combined. Software creation and company creation is diffusing, and attitudes are fragmenting

A brief guide to Product Discovery, by Roman Pichler

Drive Growth by picking the right Lane — A customer acquisition playbook for consumer startups. Every business is different, and so not every growth strategy is valid to everyone. Dan Hockenmaier (founder of growth strategy firm Basis One) and Lenny Rachitsky (former product lead and head of consumer supply growth at Airbnb), have put together a brilliant guide on Growth strategies for First Round Review

Top 10 dysfunctions in Product Management. A free chapter of the book Build What Matters (by Rajesh Nerlikar and Ben Foster), in which they introduce you to their methodology for becoming a product-driven company

🙂 #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

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