June 17, 2020
Image: Dale Cruse, Flickr
Good morning! This Wednesday, Salesforce invested in a sales engagement startup, Apple's commissions are still contentious, and people are trying to game the TikTok algorithm. Want Index in your inbox each morning? Subscribe here.
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The funding rounds just don't stop coming: Today, sales engagement platform Outreach announced a round that values the company at $1.33 billion. The round, led by Sands Capital, was just $50 million — but with "strong participation" from Salesforce Ventures, it sends a big signal to the market.
Salesforce Ventures took a "good chunk" of the round, but it's still "peanuts for them," he said. The play, he thinks, is for them to "stay abreast of the category while they try to decide what to do about it ... It gives them optionality, if you will."
Medina said the company decided to raise after the pandemic hit, "just to make sure that we're on the safe side of this, and to signal to the market that there is a strength in sales engagement — that COVID is not going to slow us down."
Tech Twitter was talking about one thing yesterday: Apple's big fight with the new Hey app. Protocol's David Pierce has the rundown — in short, Apple has threatened to remove the app from the App Store unless it enables in-app payments for its subscription, something Hey refuses to do.
There's a lot at stake here. Earlier this week, an Apple-funded study said the App Store facilitated $519 billion in commerce last year, with $61 billion of that coming from digital goods and services. If Apple's taking a 30% cut on that, that's as much as $20 billion a year in revenue — a significant chunk of the company's total annual revenue of $260 billion.
Apple's strategy here is ... interesting. The company has doubled down on taking commissions just as it's come under increased scrutiny — which also happens to be a week before WWDC, its big "we love developers!" event. It all sends a strong signal that the company is planning on fighting — and winning — and isn't worried about how it looks to outside observers.
Algorithms sure are mysterious — as are Chinese companies. No wonder then that TikTok users are trying to game its algorithm by saying nice things about China and its president. Some anecdotal evidence says that might actually work — though ByteDance denies it, of course.
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