Kickstarting A/B testing, Hyundai+Apple EV, Facebook’s smart glasses, European unicorns, Amazon data, Improving user-centered-design & more

Welcome to a new edition of el producto

$800B: Tesla’s market cap passes $800B for the first time as shares jump more than 7%; CEO Elon Musk, who holds a 21% stake in the company, became the world’s richest man this week, with $188B in personal wealth; Tesla stock represented ~$170B of Musk’s net worth at one point on Friday

$64B: Apple’s App Store saw ~$64B in gross sales last year; up from an estimated $48.5B in 2018 and $50B in 2019; revenue grew 28% during 2020, compared to 3.1% in 2019; the company recently revealed that customers spent $1.8B in the App Store between Dec 24 and Dec 31, and a record $540M on New Year’s Day alone

$9.2B: Consumer installment loans company Affirm prices its IPO at $33-38 per share; it could value the firm at $9.2B with a $935M raise; Affirm plans to debut on the Nasdaq by the end of January under symbol AFRM

$8B: Alibaba plans to raise at least $8B via a bond sale this month; the timeline for the sale is yet to be determined

1.4B: Facebook says WhatsApp users placed 1.4B video and voice calls on New Year’s Eve, a single-day record for the app; the company notes usage was up 50% YoY; Facebook also says Messenger users placed about twice as many group video calls on New Year’s Eve than on a regular day; additionally the firm notes there were close to 55M broadcasts via Facebook Live and Instagram Live

$640M: Equifax ($22.6B market cap) to acquire identity verification and fraud prevention company Kount for $640M; Kount uses AI to analyze transactions and cull data; the company is shifting to predictive fraud prevention; previously raised $80M

$280M: India-based e-commerce platform Udaan raises $280M Series D (extension); the B2B marketplace has a post-money valuation of $3.1B, and has raised $1.1B to date

$200M: Bangalore-based social network ShareChat is raising $200M+ Series E at a $1B+ valuation from Google, Snap, and existing investors including Twitter; Google reportedly will contribute $100M+; provides regional content and supports 15 languages; also operates short-form video app Moj; previously raised $263M

$100M: Chinese online grocery company Xingsheng Youxuan raises $100M at a $5B valuation from Tencent

$100M: Boston-based Starburst, which offers a distributed SQL query engine for big data analytics, raises $100M Series C for a $1.2B valuation led by A16Z; Starburst’s platform derived from Facebook’s Presto, and all four original creators are now with Starburst; the company recently renamed PrestoSQL to Trino due to Facebook’s copyright for Presto; raised $164M to date

$100M: Atlanta-based sales engagement platform SalesLoft raises $100M Series E for a $1.1B post-valuation; the platform, which integrates with CRM software, provides automation tools, deal management, more; raised $246M to date

€88M: Jobandtalent, a Spain-based recruitment platform, raises €88M Series C; Jobandtalent connects businesses with available temp workers; has raised more than $290M to date

$47M: UK-based autonomous driving firm Oxbotica raises $47M Series B; a spinoff from the Oxford University, Oxbotica is developing driverless tech for use by third-parties; has raised ~$77M to date

$31.1M: UK-based Too Good To Go, a service that lets customers purchase food just before it goes to waste, raises $31.1M; the company connects consumers with retailers that have close-to-expiring food to sell; operates across several European markets and has plans to expand to the US

€15M: France-based accounting service Pennylane raises €15M; co-founded by ex-Booking colleague Arthur Waller, the company offers software-based bookkeeping tools as well access to accountants via its platform

500k: Tesla says it delivered almost 500k vehicles in 2020, up 36% on 2019; the company produced ~510k cars last year, ~180k of which were produced in Q4; Tesla sold ~442k Model 3 and Model Y vehicles in 2020

81k: Domain registration body EURid suspends as many as 81k .eu addresses controlled by UK residents following the country’s exit from the EU; the European Commission has decided .eu domains must be controlled by entities based in the EU or those with EU citizenship; British citizens in the UK who hold .eu domains have 3 months to re-register them within the EU (elproducto.eu did it’s homework on time!)

11: Amazon to buy 11 used Boeing planes for its delivery network: 7 from Delta Air Lines and 4 from WestJet Airlines; marks Amazon’s first such purchase; the company previously limited its fleet to leased craft; the WestJet planes will begin routes this year, following cargo conversion; the Delta planes will begin deliveries next year; Amazon expects to have at least 85 planes in service by the end of 2022

3%: Digital currency investment firm Grayscale says it holds more than 3% of all available bitcoins; Grayscale manages over $25B worth of assets, up from $2B a year ago

Big tech took big steps to deal with Trump and right-wing misinformation: Twitter banned Trump’s account permanently (including deleting all his past tweets) and Apple has threatened to ban Parler (the social media site popular with conservatives) from the App Store. Google reportedly also suspended Parler. Will Trump move to OnlyFans?

Instagram is testing a new layout for Stories when viewed in a desktop browser; Stories display as a carousel with the option to click through each one individually or to play automatically

Facebook VP of AR/VR Andrew Bosworth says the company will launch smart glasses this year, without AR features; the company is manufacturing the product in partnership with Ray-Ban and its parent, Luxottica

Facebook redesigns Pages with a cleaner layout and simplified switching between profiles and public Pages; the design also makes the profile image, bio, and posts more prominent; Pages no longer display Likes, but show numbers of followers

Amazon is developing an Alexa-enabled contact-free device that can monitor for signs of sleep apnea; codenamed Brahms, the product is designed to be situated on nightstand where it uses radar to record a users’ breathing pattern as they sleep; unknown if or when it will launch

Superapp company Gojek is in talks to merge with fellow Indonesian firm Tokopedia; a deal could value the combined company at ~$18B; the unified entity would likely IPO in the US and Indonesia. Gojek and Tokopedia agreed in December to conduct due diligence of each others’ operations; the companies are looking to finalize a deal by mid-2021

Apple likely to launch AirTags, an unspecified AR device, new AirPods, more Apple Silicon Macs, and devices with Mini-LED displays this year

Apple wins patent for a VR glove that measures the movements of individual finger bones; the 2018 application also mentions haptic feedback, temperature sensing and control, more

Apple secures two patents for wirelessly charging devices such as an iPhone or Apple Watch via a MacBook or iPad; paperwork describes a system that makes use of 2-way charging, allowing a main device to transfer power to other products placed onto its chassis

Hyundai says its in early discussions with Apple about developing an EV; Apple is seemingly talking with multiple global automakers; the carmarker will likely assist with manufacturing; Korean-language website Hankyung says Hyundai is being tapped to assist with vehicle and battery production

Baidu to establish a smart EV company; Volvo parent Geely reportedly will manufacture the vehicles, based on Geely’s Sustainable Experience Architecture; Baidu previously revealed it was developing autonomous driving tech and data connectivity infrastructure

Microsoft is working on a new Outlook app that is intended to replace the default Mail and Calendar apps in Windows 10; a build of the app, dubbed One Outlook, is being tested internally; it is seemingly based on the web version of Outlook and is expected to go into broader testing later this year; will launch fully in 2022

Twitter acquires podcast app company Breaker; the team will join Twitter to work on the audio conversations feature Spaces; the Breaker app will shut down on Jan 15; founded in 2016 by CEO Erik Berlin, who previously founded and sold 140 Proof, and CTO Leah Culver, who founded Pownce and Grove

Twitter acqui-hires full service creative agency Ueno; terms undisclosed; the agency, founded in Reykjavik in 2014, previously served Twitter, as well as Dropbox, Google, and Medium; team members will join Twitter’s design and research teams; Twitter Chief Design Officer Dantley Davis said the new hires would accelerate the design and execution of product experiences

Intel unveils RealSense ID, an on-device facial recognition module for use in building access control, point-of-sale identity verification, ATMs, more; the module stores and processes images locally, and Intel claims a one-in-one-million false acceptance rate; launching this quarter starting at $100

State-backed China Telecom is testing a system that promises to protect phone calls using quantum encryption tech; requires an Android smartphone coupled with a unique SIM card a partner app; China Telecom is piloting the setup in Anhui province; unknown if or when it will roll out wider

The 7 best rapid consumer feedback and research tools in 2021, by Daniel Borowski

Amazon Dashboard by Inside Venture Capital. Dashboard showing 20 years of Amazon data, including growth rate, acquisitions, revenue breakdowns, market share, and more

European unicorns, by Ben Evans. Europe seems to be building a tech flywheel, accelerated by de-localization (mostly from Silicon Valley), and with focus on Fintech, Bio and frontier tech

A 10-minute guide to usability tests, by Sara Lopes

The shortfalls of user-centered design. Great analysis of UCD limitations to understand where our frameworks might be failing us and how we can expand our design practices to close those gaps

Keeping up with tech. Having a broad understanding of tech tools and platforms is instrumental for your career, and Booking.com SR Engineering Manager Emmanuel Goossaert created a brief guide to help you set up your objectives and motivation, manage your time, and prioritize what to learn

It takes a flywheel to fly: kickstarting and keeping the A/B testing momentum, by the minds behind experimentation at Microsoft, Booking.com and Outreach

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.