el producto #206

Angel Jaime
6 min readDec 19, 2020

New Twitter features, Bolt funding, Coinbase IPO, Bitcoin growth, Alexa live translation, Facebook’s booking service, Mobile UX trends & more

Welcome to a new edition of el producto

🎰 The week in figures

$660M: Zomato raises $660M Series J for a $3.9B post-valuation; the company began the round last year; Zomato is also in the process of closing a $140M secondary transaction; Zomato acquired Uber’s Indian food delivery service this year and plans to go public next year; raised ~$1.6B to date

$400M: Didi Chuxing’s on-demand trucking unit plans to raise as much as $400M in its first funding round; Didi Freight is aiming for a valuation as high as $2B; Didi Freight launched in June of this year; it currently operates across eight Chinese cities

$275M: Streetwear fashion marketplace StockX raises $275M Series E on a $2.8B valuation; the company operates a marketplace, allowing users to buy and sell branded sneakers, apparel, and more; has raised $335M to date

€150M: Estonia-based mobility firm Bolt raises €150M; has raised $592M to date

$100M: Discord has raised $100M Series H at a valuation of up to $7B; the company now claims 140M monthly active users

$100M: Workplace productivity platform ClickUp raises $100M Series B at a $1B valuation; investors last valued the firm at ~$200M for a $35M Series A in June; provides apps for chat, docs, tasks, more; clients include Airbnb, Nike, and Uber; raised $137.5M to date

$95M: GoCardless, a UK-based digital payments firm, raises $95M Series F; the company offers enterprise tools for managing recurring customer payments; has raised $240M to date

$44M: London-based Cleo, which develops an AI-powered financial assistant, raises $44M Series B; the free app links to users’ bank accounts to provide information and recommendations; Cleo also offers a $6-per-month subscription that adds gamified savings, more; raised $57M to date

$35M: Dutch cloud communications platform MessageBird acquires UK-based API service Pusher for $35M; the full Pusher team, including CEO Max Williams, will move to MessageBird; Pusher will integrate with MessageBird, while continuing to serve existing customers; raised $19.5M to date

$30M: Ramp, provider of a corporate card and spending management platform, raised $30 million in a Series A3. The NY-based startup’s offering includes saving opportunities, automated expense management, and receipt matching for company credit cards

$20k: Bitcoin passed $20k for the first time; Bitcoin is up 180% YTD; many say this year’s rally differs from the 2017 spike, as the current rise is driven by institutional investment rather than consumer speculation; Square and MicroStrategy recently acquired large sums of bitcoin; S&P Dow Jones Indices plans to launch crypto indices next year

📰 What’s going on

Twitter is testing a new feed personalization feature that surfaces content matching each user’s sense of humor, based on machine learning analysis of emoji use, likes, and retweets; the company’s Funny Tweets and Viral Tweets topics previously aggregated generally funny content without personalization

Twitter will no longer encourage users to Quote Tweet when tapping the Retweet button; the company made the change in October, saying it wanted to encourage users to add their own thoughts to the conversation; Twitter says it doesn’t believe it achieved that goal, but notes overall sharing fell by 20%

Twitter launches audio-only chat feature Spaces in beta; the company said it would initially focus on testing with underrepresented groups to ensure safety; audio-centric social app Clubhouse has suffered multiple controversies regarding the moderation of harassment and hate speech; Spaces reportedly uses Periscope, whose standalone app recently shut down, as a backed

Coinbase, which launched in 2012 as a crypto exchange and has expanded into various crypto-related services, confidentially files for IPO; the structure of the listing is undisclosed; raised $547M to date

Amazon updates Alexa with Live Translation, providing real-time translation to facilitate conversations between people who speak different languages; initially supports 8 languages; when an English-speaking user commands Alexa to translate French, Alexa will translate and speak aloud an English-French conversation until the user commands Alexa to stop

Amazon updates Echo devices with group video and audio calls; supports up to seven participants; owners use the Alexa app to create and name groups for calls; the company plans to add group calling to the Alexa app as well; Amazon also announced new US-only Alexa features related to video calls, such as call transcriptions and the ability to join a Zoom meeting by voice command

Amazon-owned Zoox showcases an autonomous robotaxi concept vehicle; the EV has no steering wheel, and space for up to 4 passengers; it can travel in either direction and promises a maximum speed of 75 Mph; Zoox says it can run for 16h on a single charge; Zoox says it has plans to launch a ride-hailing service, but it’s unclear when that will occur

Apple redesigns song identification app Shazam for iOS, launches a web app in beta; last month Apple said the app, which it acquired in 2017, had more than 200M MAU across iOS and Android; the redesign brings Shazam in line with Apple Music’s UI; the update also improves syncing tracks with Apple Music and Spotify

Apple begins displaying privacy cards in the App Store; sometimes referred to as nutrition labels, the cards feature information about how apps collect and use data; the company began requiring developers to submit information for the labels last week; Apple will also apply the policy to the apps it bundles with iOS

Facebook plans to update its Marketplace classifieds with a feature for finding and booking professional service providers; a spokesperson said the company was exploring the gig economy industry but did not provide details; the effort reportedly is in its early stages

Facebook is building a new video product called Super that will enable celebrities and others to charge for live interactions with fans; viewers reportedly will pay to appear alongside hosts for Q&A, buy them digital gifts, etc; reportedly will also enable hosts to sell products

Facebook launches Collab (iOS), an app for making music videos with remote friends and strangers, in general availability; developed by the company’s New Product Experimentation Team; users record 15-second videos and Collab plays 3 of them at the same time, synchronized and stacked on the screen; users can join existing collabs or start their own

Facebook starts testing a new version of Instagram Lite, months after it shuttered the previous iteration; currently available as an Android app in India only, it is less than 2MB in size and includes support for Reels, IGTV, and Shopping; Facebook says it plans to roll out the app to more countries

Facebook temporarily restricts some Messenger and Instagram features in Europe; users are seeing notices informing them that the changes are in line with EU rules for messaging services; Messenger and Instagram support pages note polls, stickers, and more are currently unavailable; Facebook says it plans to bring the features back soon

EU regulators have approved Google’s $2.1B acquisition of Fitbit; Google has agreed to keep Fitbit separate from info that is used for marketing purposes; Google will also allow third-party apps to connect to Fitbit devices; the stipulations will remain in place for at least 10 years

Google Photos introduces new AI-powered Memories features; includes 3D Cinematic, which adds motion elements to a standard photo; also rolling out auto-generated collages and more

Google to shut down Android Things, an operating system for smart home devices; the Android Things Console will stop accepting new non-commercial projects on Jan 5; one year later, Google will shut down the console and delete all project data

Stadia launches mobile web support in beta, bringing its game streaming service to iPhone and iPad; users can launch the service in Safari or create a home screen shortcut to run Stadia as a progressive web app; supports paid and free accounts; Nvidia took the same approach to bring GeForce Now to iPhone and iPad, as App Store restrictions require game streaming companies make all titles available as individual downloads

Newsletter platform Substack launches Substack Reader, a browser-based RSS client supporting Substack and third-party feeds, in beta; currently serves to organize subscriptions, as clicking an item opens it in a new tab; breaks podcasts out from other content and teases premium subscriptions

👩🏾‍💻 Good reads

Atomico released its annual stats report on European startups, venture and tech

Anatomy of a Product Disaster: Quibi. Carlos G de Villaumbrosia, CEO of Product School, walks us through what could be the perfect business school case of a recent product failure

Measuring feature success: KPI definition for Product Managers. Rama Moyano proposes a simple framework to have your products under control

10 Mobile UX trends for 2021. From superapps to fighting misinformation, Nick Babich shares his forecast for 2021 UX trends

What comes after smartphones? Insightful as always, Ben Evans reflects on what could be the next big thing. Maybe we should not look that far from smartphones

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Angel Jaime

Full-time learner, product stuff, “triathlete” & global traveller. CPO @ Yayzy, frmr Product Leader @ Revolut, @ Booking.com and @ Just Eat.