el producto #211

Angel Jaime
9 min readJan 23, 2021

Deliveroo and TripActions funding rounds, Netflix Q4 financials, Apple VR/AR ambitions, The ultimate PMF guide, PM principles, Preventing burnout, & more

Welcome to a new edition of el producto

🎰 The week in figures

$250B: WeChat says it facilitated ~$250B in mini-program transactions last year, up ~100% over 2019; the company’s app platform enables users to hail rides, order food, etc; WeChat also said mini-games on the platform collectively claimed 500M-plus monthly active users

$10B: Criminal activity represented $10B in crypto payments last year, or 0.34% of all crypto spending, Chainalysis estimates; compares to $21.4B, or 2.1% , in 2019; scams represented the majority of crypto-crime-related spending last year at $2.6B; dark market transactions represented $1.7B

$2.65B: EV manufacturer Rivian raises $2.65B at a $27B valuation; the company targets the adventure/off-roading market with the R1T pickup (starts at $67.5k) and the R1S SUV (starts at $70k); Rivian expects to produce 250k vehicles per year by mid-decade; raised $8.25B to date

$2.2B: Citrix agrees to acquire project management platform Wrike from Vista Equity Partners for $2.2B; Wrike offers collaborative tools aimed at enterprise teams; Wrike CEO Andrew Filev will also move over to Citrix; the deal is expected to close in the first half of 2021

$2B: Zoom closed a $2B stock offering on Friday; the teleconferencing company initially targeted $1.5B but expanded the offering due to strong investor demand

$2B: Singapore-based superapp Grab plans to launch an IPO this year; the firm is yet to finalize its plans, though one of the sources speculates Grab could raise at least $2B; any public listing would happen after merger talks with rival Gojek have concluded

$2B: GM-owned autonomous vehicle company Cruise raises $2B+ for a $30B post-valuation from Microsoft, Honda, others; GM also contributed and remains the majority stakeholder; Cruise will use Microsoft’s Azure as part of a new partnership; investors last valued the firm at $19B for a $1.2B round in spring 2019; raised $7B-plus to date

£1.2B: Moonpig, a UK-based online greetings card company, will make +25% of its shares available in its £1.2B float on the London Stock Exchange next month

$1B: UK-based IG Group (~$4.5B market cap) acquires online brokerage platform Tastytrade for $1B cash and stock; Tastytrade provides trade and investments content; IG Group notes the deal will help its expansion in the US

$417M: Tencent acquires Shenzhen-based audiobook platform Lazy Audio for $417M, mostly cash; founded in 2012 and owned by Shenzhen Lanren, Lazy Audio focuses on audiobooks but also offers radio shows and podcasts; it generates revenue via premium subscriptions, individual title sales, and advertising

$180M: London-based Deliveroo raises $180M at a $7B-plus valuation; Amazon and other investors reportedly valued the firm at between $3B and $4B for a $575M round in May 2019; the company plans a public listing as soon as April, but hasn’t indicated if it will list in New York or London; raised ~$1.7B to date

$155M: TripActions, which provides tools enabling corporations to book travel accommodations, raises $155M Series E for a $5B post-valuation; investors valued the firm at $4B for a $250M Series D in mid-2019; the company confirmed layoffs last March; raised $1.3B to date

$125M: German HR and recruiting solutions company Personio raises $125M Series D at a $1.7B post-valuation; offers tools for recruitment and offer processes, onboarding, managing personal data and documents, more; claims 3k clients including HelloFresh and Spendesk; raised $254M to date

$100M: Elon Musk says he will donate $100M to a prize fund for the best carbon capture tech; Musk, who currently ranks as the world’s richest person, made the announcement via Twitter; he says he will provide more details next week; carbon capture is seen as a critical component in tackling the climate crisis

$95M: Imperfect Foods, which delivers groceries that otherwise would go to waste, raises $95M Series D for a reported $700M valuation; the company requests subscriber preferences and makes weekly deliveries of groceries based on availability; the firm collects items that stores reject for aesthetic issues, items with short shelf-lives, etc; raised $214M to date

$80M: San Diego-based Soci, which offers a marketing platform enabling multi-location clients to run localized campaigns, raises $80M Series D; the company claims hundreds of enterprise clients, including Ace Hardware and Hertz; integrates with Facebook, Google, and Yelp; offers location-specific analytics, more; raised ~$131M to date

£75M: UK-based online flower delivery service Bloom & Wild raises £75M Series D; the company delivers flowers by mail; operates in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, and Austria; has raised ~$137M to date

$50M: Maps.Me, which provides an offline maps app for travelers, raises $50M led by Alameda Research; the company plans to update the platform with a multi-currency wallet and a decentralized finance ecosystem supporting payments and investments; claims 140M users

$8M: Landbot, a Spain-based chatbot platform, raises $8M Series A; the startup offers no-code tools for building chatbots; has raised $10.2M to date

$100K: Cryptography researcher Nadim Kobeissi, who created the now-defunct encrypted desktop chat app Cryptocat, raises $100k pre-seed at a $10M valuation after tweeting about his concept for a decentralized social network based on mesh-networked micro-services; Kobeissi is currently prototyping Capsule and hopes to have a web app MVP ready by March

📈 Q4 financials

Netflix ($250B market cap) Q4 mixed: $6.64B revenue ($6.63 expected); $1.19 EPS ($1.39 expected); 8.5M net new paid subscribers (6.47M expected); now claims 204M total paid subscribers globally; Netflix said it was returning to free positive cash flow and would no longer raise external funding for daily operations; the company also said it would explore returning cash to shareholders

Intel ($256B market cap) Q4 beats: $20B revenue ($17.49B expected); $1.52 EPS (adjusted, $1.10 expected); the company noted sales of PCs with Intel chips were up 33% YoY; Intel’s sales for enterprise server systems was down 16% ; Intel forecasts $18.6B revenue for Q1

Next week’s earnings:

  • Apple (Wednesday); Revenue: $102.7 billion +11.9%; EPS: $1.40 +12%; Apple should see a return to meaningful growth. Q3 was dampened by the delayed release of new iPhones, but this quarter will enjoy more than two months of iPhone 12 sales. Also in the spotlight will be services revenue and any commentary from Apple on its new subscription services
  • Facebook (Wednesday); Revenue: $26.321 billion +24.9%; EPS: $3.16 +23%; Facebook executives indicated in October, when the company reported its surprisingly strong Q3 22% revenue growth, that Q4 looked to be even better. But there are plenty of clouds on Facebook’s horizon, most notably Apple’s targeting clampdown, which Facebook has been fighting
  • Microsoft (Tuesday); Revenue: $40.228 billion +9%; EPS: $1.64 +8.6%; Last year Microsoft reported quarterly revenue growth of 12%-15%, driven by Office productivity apps and the Azure business. The pace decelerated slightly through the year. However, IT spending will be strong and can help Microsoft report stronger-than-expected numbers

📰 What’s going on

Apple’s first VR/AR headset will be a high-price product aimed at a select market; the company does not anticipate it will sell many units but will instead position it as a product intended to prepare developers and consumers for more mainstream devices in the future; Apple is set to launch the headset next year, with a primary focus on VR features; the company is also developing an AR-only device, but it’s not expected for several years

Apple is developing a thinner and lighter version of the MacBook Air; it will retain its 13-inch display but have thinner bezels; it will also feature Apple Silicon and a MagSafe charger; the company plans to launch the product in the second half of 2021, or early 2022; additionally, Apple is considering a 15-inch MacBook Air, but it won’t launch at the same time

Uber plans to spin out Postmates X, the robotic delivery division it obtained through its $2.6B acquisition of Postmates last year; using the name Serve Robotics, the unit reportedly seeks investors to establish the new company; the name refers to the autonomous Serve robot, which will deliver for some Pink Dot locations in CA; Uber reportedly will maintain a ~25% stake

WhatsApp plans to incorporate certain features from India-based e-commerce marketplace JioMart within the next 6 months; the move will let JioMart customers in India order products and more via WhatsApp; Facebook acquired a 10% stake in JioMart’s parent firm Reliance Jio Platforms last year

YouTube makes hashtag landing pages available to all users; a video creator can establish or join a topic by including a hashtag (ex: #puppy) on their video’s page and viewers can click through to a page of other videos that share that tag; YouTube plans to add a hashtag search function as well

Creator support platform Patreon is considering an IPO as soon as this year; the firm has had discussions with some blank check companies but would prefer to handle its own listing; Patreon’s annualized revenue has reportedly passed $100M

Andreessen Horowitz plans to add an opinion section to its website; the investment firm is hiring for an executive editor and an opinions editor, noting it has plans to “dramatically scale” its editorial operations; the company will invite outside individuals to contribute articles with a focus on tech and business

Forbes to launch newsletter platform, split subscription revenue 50/50 with writers; writers will also take a cut of advertising revenue; Forbes will initially hire 20–30 popular writers and provide them with base salaries, benefits, etc; will also offer editorial guidance, copy editing, and legal support; the company ultimately plans to open the platform to its 2.8k-member contributor network

Miami-based micro-mobility company Bolt to expand into 48 new markets after acquiring US assets from the defunct BC-based Last Mile Holdings via auction; the assets included Gotcha Mobility and Ojo Electric; Bolt works with local partners who operate fleets; the company, which offers rental electric scooters, has a bike in production and plans a moped

Adtech firm Taboola rolls out a stories feature in beta; Taboola Stories presents embedded sponsored content that, when launched, presents in a swipeable, vertical layout, reminiscent of social media platforms

ByteDance-owned Douyin launches a digital wallet; Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, has added Douyin Pay as an option for users to send and receive payments; additionally, Douyin is serving as the official digital red envelope partner of Chinese broadcaster CCTV for this year’s New Year celebrations

Chinese carmaker Geely signs a strategic partnership with Tencent; terms undisclosed; the companies will jointly develop smart car tech and test autonomous driving features; Geely has recently signed a similar deal with Baidu

👩🏾‍💻 Good reads

Mobile stats: The state of mobile 2021 by AppAnnie, and 2020 mobile data by SensorTower. Globally, consumer spending on the App Store reached $72.3 billion, up 30.3% YoY. As in previous years, this exceeded the amount users spent on Google Play, which grew 30% YoY. The App Store generated 87.3% more in consumer spending than the Play store

One of the most clear and complete articles I’ve seen on Product-Market-Fit by Gil Rosen. And briefer but more actionable guide by Product Dave to complement on the same topic

7 product management principles, Jens-Fabian Goetzmann shares some high level (not for that less valuable) guiding principles to succeed in Product

The big paradox of productivity, by Matthew Godfrey. Productivity is not about going faster, it’s about spending our efforts where it matters most, and this is something frequently forgotten when you feel trapped in a high-pressure, high-velocity environment

Addressing the challenges of Product Discovery. Saeed Khan gives answer to some frequent questions on managing a successful Discovery stream

Unconventional success lessons by Atlassian. “I always remind people that there’s no business where you get 100% of the customers. You’re going to lose some for various reasons. We were comfortable early on losing customers that wanted different things than what we were going to offer.”

The future of marketplaces. A brilliant essay on marketplaces trends and opportunities by Dan Hockenmaier:

  • If you’re building a marketplace model in an industry that doesn’t have one today, you must nail demand aggregation and legibility
  • If you’re competing with an existing marketplace, look for an activity that your suppliers are currently doing today that you can do better to improve the customer experience.
  • All else equal, keep your commission low
  • Even prior to consolidation, marketplaces in creatively intense categories will be more defensible and profitable

Dive deeper into the topic with this recent publication by marketplaces mastermind Simone Cicero: Seeking sustainable growth in Platform-Marketplaces

Creative burnout: when the creativity tap runs dry. January is a month frequently used to start afresh, but Blue Monday is a reality and it can hit hard under current global circumstances. Ness Labs shares some useful tips on how to identify burnout signs and what to do about about it

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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.