Happy Thursday. Here’s today’s global tech news
Twitter released its fourth quarter and 2020 fiscal year results overnight. Q4 revenue was US$1.29 billion, up 28% year-on-year (YoY). Q4 advertising revenue was US$1.15 billion, up 31%. User numbers hit 192 million in Q4, a 27% increase YoY. The numbers beat Wall Street expectations.
Twitter’s CFO Ned Segal said it was a better-than-expected performance across all major products and geographies.
“We made significant progress on our brand and direct response products in advance of the recent relaunch of our Mobile Application Promotion (MAP) offering. Advertisers are benefitting from new ad formats, stronger attribution, and improved targeting, resulting in a 31% year-over-year increase in total ad revenue and greater than 50% year-over-year growth in MAP revenue in Q4,” he said.
2020 revenue was US$3.72 billion, an increase of 7% YoY. 2020 costs and expenses totalled $3.69 billion, up 19%. 2020 delivered a net loss was $1.14 billion, compared to 2019’s net income of $1.47 billion. The full results are here.
EU’s Big Tech crackdown
The European Union is looking at laws similar to Australian plans to force Google and Facebook to pay media companies for news amid a sweeping crackdown on Big Tech.
At this rate Google search is going to run out of town to leave pretty soon.
The Financial Times reports that the European Parliament, currently working on two pieces of digital regulation, the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA), are considering laws similar to the Australian model, including binding arbitration and forwarning the media about any changes to news story ranking.
The crackdown also includes annual checks on how tech companies are dealing with illegal and harmful content, as well as stopping them from ranking their own services above competitors in search results and app stores, plus tighter restrictions on the use of customer data.
Fines of 10% of turnover and breaking up the companies if they feel to comply are among the punishments being considered.
Kong turns unicorn
US cloud connectivity startup Kong Inc. has raised US$100 million in Series D funding, led by Tiger Global Management with participation from existing investors Index Ventures, CRV, GGV Capital and Andreessen Horowitz, as well as new investor Goldman Sachs.
The fresh round brings Kong’s total funding to US$171 million, tripling its valuation to US$1.4 billion since its US$43m series C in March 2019.
Kong will use the capital to scale its go-to-market operations, build its engineering and customer experience teams, and accelerate cloud connectivity with its new SaaS-based Kong Konnect service connectivity platform.
Kong began life in a garage in Italy in 2009 before the trio of co-founders moved to California the following year, relaunching as the API marketplace Mashape in 2011, transforming into Kong Inc in 2017.
Trade Ledger’s $24m raise
Trade Ledger, the self-described “end-to-end Lending Orchestration Platform”, a five-year-old “Lending-as-a-Service” fintech split between Sydney and London, as raised £13.5 million (A$24m) led by US VC Point72Ventures, with Foundation Capital, and Hambro Perks.
The venture analyses SME cash flow data to assess the credit risk for lenders.
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