Twitter ephemeral messages, Strava funding, Amazon Pharmacy and smart glasses, Microsoft Teams Apps, Lightweight JTBD, & more

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🎰 The week in figures

$3.6B: Baidu ($50B market cap) to acquire livestream business YY.com from JOYY for $3.6B in cash; YY claims 4M paid users; platform influencers often sell goods via the app; YY also owns a ~$1.45B stake in Singapore-based Bigo, which operates two streaming apps outside China; the deal only includes YY’s Chinese business

$270M: Beijing-based PingCAP, which develops the NewSQL TiDB, raises $270M Series D; the open-source platform, which handles hybrid transactional and analytical processing, targets high-growth companies and claims Square, Shopee, and Dailymotion as users; raised $342M to date

$200M: Boston-based marketing automation and communications platform Klaviyo raises $200M Series C at a $4.15B valuation; the platform takes a holistic approach to customer data and uses machine learning to drive growth, generate insights, more; clients retain data ownership; claims 50k businesses as customers; 500 employees, plans 1k by the end of 2021; raised ~$360M to date

$150M: Indonesia-based superapp Gojek raises $150M from regional carrier Telkomsel; Gojek started out as a ride-hailing platform, but now also offers food delivery, financial services, and more; has raised ~$5B and is valued at more than $10B

$110M: Strava, a fitness tracking platform for runners and cyclists, raises $110M Series F; enables goal tracking, virtual competitions, more; the company claims it added 2M users during each month of 2020, bringing its total to 70M users; raised $152M to date

$100M: MindTickle, a sales enablement service, raises $100M debt and equity; offers a suite of enterprise tools for training and coaching sales teams; has raised more than $180M to date

€100M: Germany-based e-commerce business SellerX raises €100M seed ; the company acquires and builds Amazon Marketplace brands

95M: A flaw in dating app Bumble exposed data for its 95M users; the bug allowed access to users names, as well as interests and more for accounts linked to Facebook; the vulnerability has been fixed

$30M: Fintech startup Chipper Cash raises $30M Series B; offers mobile-centric peer-to-peer payment across seven African nations including Ghana, Uganda, and Nigeria; has raised $52.2M to date

$28M: South Korea-based fintech startup True Balance raises $28M Series D; the firm offers a financial services app in India; has raised ~$90M to date

$26M: Headway, a service that connects users with therapists, raises $26M; works with therapists who accept insurance; has raised $33M to date

8.6k: Huawei has filed more communications patents this year than any other company in the world; between January and October Huawei made 8.6k patent applications; by comparison, second-place Qualcomm filed 5.8k patents; China accounts for 32% of all patent filings, as does the US; Japan has 15%, and South Korea 7%

25%: Google updates Chrome browser, promising a 25% faster launch, page loads up to 7% faster, as well as reductions in memory and processor usage; new Chrome Actions enable users to type commands, such as “delete history” or “edit passwords” in the address bar; the company will roll out a tab search feature later

15%: Apple announces it will cut its App Store commission rate from 30% to 15% for developers who generate less than $1M in annual revenues; the rate cut will go into effect Jan 1 and will apply to 98% of developers (which generate less than 5% of Store transactions); the company will disclose more details including how to apply for the new rate next month

📰 What’s going on

Twitter begins rolling out Fleets to all users; enables ephemeral conversations containing retweets, videos, photos, etc; Fleets disappear 24 hours after initiation; Twitter is also testing new audio spaces with a small group of users; Staff Product Designer Maya Gold Patterson said the company would test with people who are disproportionately impacted by abuse on the platform to evaluate moderation challenges

PayPal launches Generosity Network, a crowdfunding platform enabling users to raise funds for themselves, others in need, charitable organizations, etc; initially limited to the US with a maximum target of $20k and campaign length of 30 days; PayPal’s earlier fundraising platform, Giving Fund, focuses on charities; Generosity network features campaigns for funerals and memorials, medical bills, pet food, more

Squarespace rolls out a feature that lets website owners charge for exclusive content; known as Member Areas, it allows sites to charge a one-time fee or a subscription to access certain pages; Member Areas can also be used to create visitor accounts, even if all content is freely accessible

Zoom introduces a feature that automatically advises hosts of vulnerable meeting links; known as At-Risk Meeting Notifier, it informs hosts of Zoom links posted to publicly viewable webpages, and therefore potential targets for “zoombombing” (meetings invaded by trolls)

Airbnb makes IPO prospectus public, revealing $219M net income on $1.34B revenue in Q3; year-to-date, the company has seen a $697M net loss on $2.52B revenue; for all of last year, the company saw a $674M net loss on $4.81B revenue

Snap ($65B market cap) acquires UK-based social songwriting and musical performance app Voisey; Voisey lets users record videos of themselves singing over instrument tracks submitted by other users; offers real-time voice effects such as pitch correction; previously raised ~$2M

Amazon launches a prescription medication and fulfillment service; Amazon Pharmacy lets users add add their insurance info via a secure portal; also provides the option to speak with a pharmacist, as well as offering self-service tools; Amazon acquired online pharmacist Pillpack for ~$1B in 2018

Amazon updates text extraction service Textract with handwriting recognition (currently English only) and support for new languages; printed text support now includes French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish; the AWS service can process documents featuring both handwritten and printed text, such as medical intake forms and employment applications

Amazon launches $250 smart glasses product, the Alexa-powered Echo Frames, in general availability; the company held an invite-only, limited batch launch sale last year for the Day One edition, which ran $180; the production model adjusts volume based on environment, offers improved battery life, and features a new auto-off function; Echo Frames support prescription lenses; pre-orders now open, ships by Dec 10

Microsoft launches Teams apps for meetings in general availability; the company announced 21 new apps including Asana, Monday.com, and SurveyMonkey; Microsoft also launched low-code solutions including Power Apps for Teams and the Power Automate app; Teams previously offered app integrations for chats and channels

Microsoft Teams adds free video calling for up to 300 users via a desktop browser; calls can last up to 24 hours; supports up to 49 profiles in gallery view at any one time; guests do not need a Microsoft account to join calls

Samsung adds Google Assistant support to its 2020 line of TVs in the UK, France, Germany, and Italy; the functionality will be enabled in 12 countries by the end of the year; Samsung added Assistant support to US TVs last month

YouTube begins advertising on some videos from non-Partner accounts without sharing revenue; previously, the company only ran ads on non-Partner accounts under specific circumstances, such as a music video monetized following a copyright claim; YouTube said it would not run ads on non-Partner videos dealing with sensitive subjects, such as addiction and religion

Google launches Tree Canopy Lab, a tool designed to help cities determine where best to plant trees to reduce temperatures at ground level; uses aerial photos and AI to locate existing trees and display them on an interactive map that features information about population density, more; the company piloted the system in Los Angeles and says data for hundreds of other cities will be available

Google redesigns Pay, adds support for more merchants (including restaurants, gas stations, more); the new homepage displays the businesses and people with which the user most frequently transacts; transactions are organized the same way; the new Insights section connects with multiple bank and credit accounts to help users understand money flow, see payment reminders, more

Google announces family-oriented updates for Assistant and Fi; the Assistant updates, mostly focused on smart displays, include Family Notes, educational activities for kids, and interactive stories; the new Fi features include data budgeting and parental controls

Google announces global availability of RCS messaging via the Messages app for Android; an upgrade from SMS, Rich Communications Services adds Wi-Fi messaging, typing indicators, read receipts, improved media quality, more; Google plans to begin beta testing end-to-end encryption for one-on-one RCS conversations this month

Google says Stadia will be playable on iOS/iPadOS devices in the coming weeks as a Safari-based progressive web app (PWA); follows a similar move by Nvidia to offer its GeForce Now cloud gaming service as a PWA; Apple’s current policies mean cloud gaming firms have to make titles available via its App Store if they want to offer a traditional app

Apple announces an embeddable player for Apple Podcasts, enabling anyone (content owners, fans, and critics) to generate embed codes for any of the ~1.5M shows on the platform using the tool found on Apple Podcasts Preview pages and on the Apple Podcasts Marketing Tools website; the player features show information with thumbnail, links to the show and episode, more

Apple launches a forked version of AI and ML development environment TensorFlow 2.4 for Macs running macOS 11 Big Sur (Intel and M1); Apple claims TensorFlow can run up to seven times faster on the M1 MacBook Pro

Apple delayed the release of its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature for iOS 14 to give app developers more time to comply; will enable users to disable cross-app tracking; will also require permissions for the practice; in response to critics of ATT who have said it burdens small businesses, Apple argued that the data collection ATT fights primarily benefits big businesses with large data sets

Bandcamp launches Live, enabling artists to schedule live-streaming sessions and sell tickets; the streamer can set up a virtual merch table with t-shirts, albums, etc; viewers can purchase items through their Bandcamp accounts; each stream also features a chat; artists set ticket prices, Bandcamp takes 10%

👩🏾‍💻 Good reads

Self-Sabotage Traps. HBR identifies a series of self-destructive behaviours that can lead to stress, and ultimately burn out, and suggest more productive ones

Product Managers answer “What’s your dream job?” Product School has asked their community what are their top companies and industries they would like to work for

A lightweight JTBD framework. If you have ever worked with Jobs to be done, you probably know how much work goes behind the scenes, and how important is to keep the momentum alive in order to make the efforts worth, considering it’s not a static process. Sunita Mohanty, Product Lead at Facebook’s New Product Experimentation, shares her approach

How startups can lead the charge in meeting sustainability goals. Crunchbase shares how the key to fully embracing sustainability goals is recognizing that having impact can and does create business value

The first-time founder’s guide to learning everything the hard way. A summary of the key takeaways from Steve El-Hage’s appearance on First Round Review podcast

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🙂 #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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