Published: 6/5/2020


Another week done & dusted, and most of y’all (in India) have the day which definitely makes me a little jealous, but I guess these days holidays and weekdays are almost the same. There has been a bunch of news in the US today (and not much interesting news in India), so I thought I’d cover one story and send y’all some stuff that I have been reading recently.

Figma, the design collaboration platform, just raised $50M at a $2B valuation and if those numbers seem similar it’s because Notion raised their last round at very similar numbers. Figma has seen phenomenal growth over the last couple of years and it seems to have unseated Sketch which didn’t have a collaboration features for a while. As a frontend engineer who works closely with designers, Figma has been an absolute delight to use and also works as a pretty good tool to make memes and other fun projects (https://twitter.com/WorkLifeVC/status/1255961620133494784)

In other news, Amazon and Apple announced their Q1 earnings today. Both companies beat expectations when it came to revenue, and Jeff Bezos also said something which I found quite interesting: “Under normal circumstances, in this coming Q2, we’d expect to make some $4 billion or more in operating profit. But these aren’t normal circumstances. Instead, we expect to spend the entirety of that $4 billion, and perhaps a bit more, on Covid-related expenses, getting products to customers, and keeping employees safe.”

And on to the day’s news, we have Pratilipi raising $10M from Tencent in an ongoing Series C round- https://bit.ly/35iMyi4

➡️ The text + audio storytelling platform has announced a $10M Series C from Tencent, a year after their $15M Series B led by another Chinese investor- Qiming Venture Partners.

➡️ With affordable smartphones and data (Jio), India has seen hundreds of millions use the internet and thus a bunch of companies have been building this for userbase by letting people use their applications in their regional languages.

➡️ And Pratilipi along with companies like ShareChat & Vokal have benefited from this. And with the lockdown in the country, people are spending more time online on their phones and on social and content apps like Pratilipi.

➡️ I also saw an interesting trend in a recent Ken article on vernacular apps- the cost of acquiring customers has dropped significantly in these times. While a company might have spent ₹20 to acquire a customer, they now might only spend ₹2-4.

➡️ The way these companies monetize is yet to be seen, but they certainly have a bunch of users. Pratilipi reportedly expects to have 15-16M MAUs in April, and the company eventually wants to sell the rights of content developed on the platform to production houses and would take a cut in that transaction. I’d be interested to see other monetization plans in the future as that would probably only contribute a small amount.

And here’s some pieces I’ve been reading recently-

➡️ https://themargins.substack.com/p/the-sweetgreen-ification-of-society

➡️ https://toddgoldberg.com/posts/superhuman-of-x-startups.html

➡️ https://julian.digital/2020/03/28/signaling-as-a-service/

➡️ https://wfh.substack.com/p/the-6-builders-who-will-thrive-in

Feedback & ❤️ always appreciated

More on Monday :)