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Protests reshaping our app usage

Protests reshaping our app usage
June 9, 2020

Most people don't download apps very often — which makes it all the more notable when there's a big shift in the App Store.

Twitter had a record download day on Wednesday: Apptopia said more than 667,000 people downloaded the app and 140,000 in the U.S. alone. From Trump to protests, everything seems to be happening on Twitter.

The 5-0 Police Scanner has been at the top of the App Store charts all week, way above its normal spot in the hundreds. Other police scanner apps are spiking in the rankings, too. And Citizen and Nextdoor have both jumped this week as well. 

The third big category? Encrypted messaging. Signal is at an all-time high, which I bet you already knew from all the "your friend just joined Signal!" notifications. WhatsApp hasn't moved as much, potentially because it was already well-penetrated.

Some of these apps are protest mainstays. Citizen, the big new name on the list, is a crime-reporting, contact-tracing, map-based app, an app that makes perfect sense in these pandemic protest times. But its block-by-block tracking is ripe for abuse, fakery, and trouble-stirring, and Citizen has been used for all three. Still, as a way of understanding your neighborhood in real-time, it's tough to top.

Morgan Stanley's research found that Apple's App Store sales were up 39% this May versus a year before, and predicted that growth will continue this month, even as new device sales are faltering, which means people are increasingly downloading new apps.



Vacation rentals have seen a surge in listings and demand. Airbnb saw more nights booked for U.S. listings between May 17 and June 3 than the same period in 2019, and a similar boost in domestic travel globally. The San Francisco-based home-share company is seeing an increase in demand for domestic bookings in countries from Germany and Portugal to South Korea, New Zealand, and more. Other companies, including Expedia Group Inc.’s Vrbo and Booking Holdings Inc., are also seeing a jump in domestic vacation-rental reservations.

U.S. searches for Vrbo are now up compared to this time last year, and Airbnb queries are down only around 10%. However, hotels and the wider Expedia brand have yet to get any summer relief, with searches still down more than 60%.

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Neighborhood Apps:

Nextdoor is a consumer software company that helps people stay informed about what's going on in their neighborhoods as well as find a last-minute babysitter, plan a local event, or share safety tips, enabling neighbors to build stronger and safer communities. The company offers a private social network for each neighborhood community, which helps facilitate real, honest communication among neighbors. The company was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in San Francisco, CA.

Citizen is a privately-held company that operates in the software & Internet services industry. The company's application provides safety alerts accompanied by live stories, real-time updates, and user-generated content, enabling users to have complete transparency around what is going on in their neighborhoods and keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe. Formerly known as Sp0n, Citizen was founded in 1976 by Andrew Frame and Mark Essel and is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

Neighborland is a public engagement platform designed for government agencies, developers, and civic organizations. The software is designed for planners to collaborate with their stakeholders in an accessible, participatory, and equitable way. Over 3M people have participated on Neighborland, and its partners’ projects have yielded over $3B in social and economic impact.

Funding & Deal Highlights:

Paradigm talent agency secures a new investment from Crescent Drive Media, a company owned by the brother of agency chief Sam Gores. The agency has recruited industry veteran Bruce Rosenblum as an investment adviser.

Superpedestrian, a Boston, MA-based mobility engineering and technology company, raises $15M in funding. Superpedestrian is a mobility engineering and technology company that develops and launches urban transport solutions. Link is the company’s shared micro-mobility platform that offers electric vehicles with self-diagnostic technology.

RiskIQ, a startup providing application security, risk assessment, and vulnerability management services, has added National Grid Partners as a strategic investor. The funding from the investment arm of National Grid, a multinational energy provider, is part of a $15M new round of financing designed to take the company’s technology into critical industrial infrastructure — with National Grid as a point of entry.

Ethena raises $2M in seed funding for smarter anti-harassment software.

Everest Medicines, a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing transformative pharmaceutical products that address critical unmet medical needs for patients in Greater China and other parts of Asia, announces that it has successfully completed a $310M Series C financing.

Powerlytics, a Doylestown, PA-based data platform provider, raises $4M in funding. Founded in 2011 by Kevin Sheetz, CEO, Powerlytics provides a proprietary big data analytics platform that analyzes anonymized financial information from publicly available U.S. government sources and reconstructs that data into actionable financial information to give a comprehensive financial view of the over 200M adults and 30M businesses that comprise the American economy.

Chegg, Inc. (NYSE: CHGG), a Santa Clara, Calif.-based edtech company, acquires Mathway, a math solving company. The acquisition amount was approximately $100M in an all-cash transaction. Potential additional payments of up to $15M, payable in cash over the next three years, remain subject to performance and other contingencies. Bringing Mathway into Chegg will bring additional subject coverage, languages, and international reach.

Mubadala agrees to invest $1.2B in Reliance Jio Platforms for a 1.85% stake in the firm. The deal values the Indian telecom operator, which launched in the second half of 2016, at $65B.

Endries International continues aggressive growth, acquires All-West Components & Fasteners.

Tiger Fuel acquires solar energy company Altenergy.

Northstar Capital, a provider of junior capital for middle-market private equity transactions, announces its investment in PKWARE, a portfolio company of Thompson Street Capital Partners.

Since last week, PrivCo has added:
304,220 Profiles Updates | 175 M&A Deals125 Funding Activities
Latest Revenues, EV, EBITDA, and Valuations
Citizen App's Complicated Past
Vigilante’s #CrimeNoMore hashtag has been replaced with Citizen’s #ProtectTheWorld. Citizen’s parent company, Sp0n, has raised $13M from Silicon Valley investors [Read more].
The World’s Livestream Queen Can Sell Anything
A millionaire at 34 and bigger than “Sunday Night Football,” China’s star saleswoman Viya rules a $60B world of live online shopping. [Read more].
Thanks for reading. 
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