Apple cars, Zoom email & calendar, Product portfolios, The API economy, Daniel Ek interview, How Amazon thinks about competition, marketplaces & more

Welcome to a new edition of el producto

$100B: Xiaomi’s market cap passes $100B; the company first targeted a $100B valuation when it went public in mid-2018, but it debuted at ~$50B; Xiaomi’s share price has more than doubled since it listed on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index this year

$420M: New York City-based Peloton ($42B market cap) acquires WA-based fitness equipment manufacturer Precor in deal worth $420M; Precor serves consumer and commercial markets, providing strength-training gear, stationary cycles, treadmills, and more; the deal gives Peloton an additional 625k square feet of manufacturing space in the US and new opportunities with gym chains, hotels, and other businesses Precor serves

$400M: Mobile ad-tech company Liftoff raises ~$400M; uses AI to develop, target, and track ads for mobile apps; the company raised $12M to date

$225M: São Paulo-based fintech company Creditas, which offers secured consumer loans, raises $225M Series E; the company now claims a ~$200M credit portfolio; raised $569M to date

$200M: China-based autonomous driving firm WeRide raises $200M Series B from vehicle-maker Yutong; as part of the deal, WeRide will work with Yutong to develop driverless buses

$150M: New York City-based Lifetime Value, which operates multiple data-centric brands, raises $150M; owns home-valuation brand Ownerly, background check company BeenVerified, more; collectively, Lifetime Value brand sites see 30M visitors per month

$145M: India-based smartphone content firm Glance raises $145M on a ~$1B post-money valuation with participation from Google; Glance, which is part of adtech company InMobi, displays news, games, and more via smartphone lock screens

$130M: Berlin-based e-commerce tools company Spryker raises $130M Series C at a $550M-plus valuation; provides a platform enabling retailers to bring their inventory online, tools for voice commerce, analytics, more; raised $152M to date

$100M: VerSe Innovation, and Indian company that owns several news and social apps, raises ~$100M on a ~$1B post-money valuation led by AlphaWave with participation from Google, Microsoft, and others; VerSe Innovation’s offerings include news aggregation service Dailyhunt and short video app Josh

$100M: Ironclad (YC S15), which offers digital contract tools, has raised at least $100M Series D on a ~$950M valuation; Ironclad offers a no-code platform for managing agreements; previously raised $84M

£70M: UK-based fintech firm Liberis raises £70M; the company offers financial services to SMEs across Europe and the US; has raised ~$267M to date

$75M: Bolt, which provides a single-click checkout system for online shops, raises $75M Series C (second tranche), bringing the round total to $135M; Bolt handles all back-end functions, including fraud mitigation and payment processing; processed $1B-plus in payments this year; raised $215M to date

Apple hopes to begin production of a consumer vehicle in 2024, but pandemic-related delays could push the start date to the following year; Project Titan, the company’s unit dedicated to autonomous driving tech, reportedly plans a mono-cell battery design to maximize range; the company reportedly might use in-house Lidar sensors

Apple plans to launch an upgraded Apple TV set-top box next year with a new processor, updated remote, and a stronger focus on gaming; Apple will need to reduce the $180 price or implement significant advancements to remain competitive with Google, Roku, and others

Zoom is developing a web email service and is considering a calendar product; the company reportedly might release an early version of the email product to some users next year; Zoom shares are up 500 percent for the year

Messaging app Telegram adds Discord-like voice functionality; the always-connected feature is available via group chats, allowing users to drop into conversations at will; Telegram notes it will add video and screen-sharing tools in the coming weeks; the company, which now claims ~500M users, is also introducing an ad platform; CEO Pavel Durov says the ad service will respect users’ privacy

Audio-focused social network Clubhouse begins testing an invite-only Creator Pilot Program; the ~40 members will have regular meetings with a Clubhouse founder and get early access to tools designed for power users; Catherine Connors, who hosts two talk shows on the platform, noted that many of Clubhouse’s most prominent creators are older than those seen on other platforms; the pilot program includes creators in their 40s and 50s

Twitter updates its API, paving the way to improved conversation controls like reply permissions, the ability to track tweets based on who users follow, and more; the company released v2 of its API, the first rebuild since 2012, in July

Facebook says it has had to remove certain features in the EU, including tools that allow it to monitor messages for instances of child of abuse; the company notes European privacy laws prevent it from automatically scanning users messages; Facebook notes the changes do not apply to the UK, which is now outside the EU

Instagram’s algorithm is currently giving prominence to Reels; if a user posts a Reel, engagement for subsequent posts shortly after will typically receive higher engagement; posting Reels four to seven times a week is best for improving account visibility

A franchise of UK grocery chain Co-op is trialing a facial recognition system at some of its stores; Southern Co-op has been using tech from London-based Facewatch at 18 stores over the past 18 months; Facewatch promises to identify individuals who have a record of theft or antisocial behavior

[Podcast] Tim Ferris interviews Daniel Ek, CEO of Spotify — Habits, systems and mental models for top performance, and some of his challenges in building a Product-driven culture

APIs all the way down. A brilliant read going down the API-first ecosystem rabbit hole with Shopify, Stripe, Twilio, and more. Complement this read with recent Stratechery’s essay:Stripe: platform of platforms

What to do when your metrics dip. Linda Z shares her step-by-step framework to solve data mysteries

A 4-step guide for day-to-day product discovery. While there is no standard way of doing continuous discovery, Sophia Höfling shares easy steps to allow teams stay agile and constantly improve discovery workflows and structures

Marketplaces year in review. 2020 was the best year for e-commerce marketplaces in over a decade. E-commerce growth had a step change, and marketplaces captured most of it. In aggregate, it was the most successful year for sellers and brands that transact through them, too. The Year in Review looks at the state of marketplaces and describes the most important trends

How Amazon thinks about competition — HBR shares a piece from the recently published book: Invent and Wander: The Collected Writings of Jeff Bezos

Why Upstart is not the typical startup success story. Upstart’s CEO shares some lessons learned on the way to the company’s recent IPO; “Focus on that hazy little notion of what the company could be just a few years down the road”

Creating your Product portfolio. Product School shares 5 great examples of product portfolios to help you gaining exposure and visibility for your career development

el producto is a curated selection of Tech&Product happenings within the last few days from a curious and frequently skeptical Product leader perspective. Free forever. Sign-up here

Full-time learner, product stuff, “triathlete” & global traveller. Creating cool products @ Revolut, formerly @ Booking.com and @ Just Eat.

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