🚀 The wonderful world of widgets
Plus, a record-setting deal in the design world!
💸 Adobe buys Figma. Big news in the design space! Adobe announced that it is acquiring design platform Figma for $20B (according to Pitchbook, this is the largest exit of a privately held, VC-backed startup in at least 20 years). Figma, which was founded in 2012, enables teams to collaborate in real-time on designs. The company expects to end the year at $400M+ in annualized recurring revenue. Adobe stock plunged 17% after the announcement - potentially due to the 50x revenue multiple, a meaningful premium to the average public valuation multiple today.
It’s worth noting that a number of amazing acquisitions looked expensive at the time. Facebook’s $1B purchase of Instagram (when the company had no revenue) was described as “jaw-dropping,” but feels like a deal in retrospect!
🪙 Ethereum completes merge. This week marked a big milestone for Ethereum - the blockchain has officially transitioned from a proof-of-work to a proof-of-stake model. This “upgrade” has been discussed since 2014, making this a long-awaited moment for the ecosystem. The merge makes the Ethereum network (which powers NFTs) significantly more energy efficient, reducing its carbon footprint by more than 99%. Otherwise, isn’t expected to change the experience of using Ethereum.
💻 Uber suffers hack. Uber’s internal systems were breached by a hacker on Thursday. The alleged hacker, who is claiming to be an 18-year-old, reportedly comprised an employee’s Slack account and used it to access to other systems. In an interview with The Washington Post, the alleged hacker said that they did it “for fun” and that they might leak the company’s source code. Screenshots from Uber’s Slack suggest that employees initially thought it was a joke and responded with memes.
📱 TikTok gets real. TikTok’s newest feature? “Now,” a daily prompt to share a photo or 10-second video. You’ll have a limited amount of time to post when Now hits, and you can choose if the content will be seen by just friends or a broader audience. Many are calling Now a “BeReal copycat” - TBD if the feature works on TikTok, which has historically had more of an interest-based graph than a friend graph (more here on how these things are different + why it matters).
what we’re following 👀
How TikTok used its watermark to fend off Instagram Reels.
Turner Novak of Banana Capital analyzes Pinduoduo’s new U.S. product, Temu.
Parler’s pivot from social app → service provider for the “uncancellable economy”.
A look at the platform replacing Facebook Events for Gen Z - Partiful!
A new mobile form factor is taking off - widgets! Widgets have been around as a core part of the Android UX since the mid-2000s. They debuted on iPhones in summer 2020, and can now sit on the homescreen (with iOS 14) or lockscreen (with iOS 16). However, widgets have gained mainstream usage much more recently, both as standalone apps (that are widget-first) and as a feature in existing apps.
The first truly viral iOS product focused specifically around widget functionality was Locket, which took off in early 2022. On Locket, you can pick up to five friends to send and receive photos from, which appear directly in the widget. Locket went viral on TikTok and recently raised a $12.5M Series A - but was quickly followed by Chinese competitor LiveIn, which also attracted millions of downloads.
With Apple’s WidgetKit, many existing apps have capitalized on the trend by adding a widget as an extra feature. One example is BeReal, which launched WidgetMojis in February. This allows users to see their friends’ reactions to their posts directly on the homescreen. Robinhood launched widgets even earlier, in September 2020, to allow users to immediately see portfolio performance. Facebook, Spotify, Snapchat, and Wikipedia are among the many others who have jumped aboard the widget train.
The ecosystem got another boost this week with the launch of iOS 16, which allows developers to build widgets not just for the homescreen, but the lockscreen as well. Apptopia reported on Friday that downloads of the top five global widget apps shot up this week with iOS 16’s debut - from ~100k to almost 1M daily downloads!
It’s clear to us that consumers love widgets, but what’s less clear is what they become. Like iOS and Android, which operate as platforms for apps, you could argue that widgets are a platform that may enable standalone companies. But unlike an app, the “surface area” of a widget may not be large enough to build a robust consumer experience. Most widgets also open into a broader app, which may give an advantage to existing products that can just copy widget features that take off.
One early counterexample is the launch of gaming widgets, where users can actually play the entire game within the widget module. We’re partial to Steve, a jumping dinosaur game released specifically for widget use - you can’t even play the game within the Steve app. Steve jumped up almost 500 spots in the App Store on Friday with the launch of iOS 16.
Odeko - Product Manager* (Remote)
Studio - Business Operations Associate (Remote)
NFX - Product Analyst (SF)
Architect Capital - Investment Analyst (SF)
Lattice - Data Scientist, Product Analytics (SF)
Otter - Market Operations (SF)
Atomic - Business Operations Associate* (SF, Miami)
Commonfund Capital - Analyst, VC Investment Team (NYC)
Wonder - Restaurant Analyst (NYC)
Blackstone Growth - Senior Associate* (NYC)
*Expects 3+ years of experience.
Microsoft - PM Intern (Various)
Topsort - Marketing Intern (Remote)
Figma - Product Research Intern (Remote)
Coinbase - Business Ops & Strategy Extern (SF)
Upgrade - Investor Ops Intern (SF)
Zoox - Ops Strategy Co-op (Foster City)
Activision - Game Design Intern (Irvine)
Koch Disruptive Technologies - Investment Analyst Intern (Wichita)
Zello - PM Intern (Austin)
puppy of the week 🐶
Meet Aengus, an (almost) two-year-old English Springer Spaniel who lives in Maine.
His hobbies include swimming at the beach, napping on chairs, and going on picnics.
Follow him on Instagram @aengus_of_maine!
All views are our own. None of the above should be taken as investment advice. See this page for important information.