Daily Crunch: After a transitional year, Apple announces its 2021 App Store Award winners

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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for December 2, 2021! There’s a lot going on. More fintech in Latin America. Actuator launching. App Store Awards. The week’s software selloff. It’s a lot, so buckle in. Maybe the news slowdown will come next week? Here’s hoping! – Alex

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • Better.com shows how not to fire people: Here’s a small tip: If you announce that you have raised or otherwise managed to access hundreds of millions of dollars, don’t fire a bunch of your team right afterward. Not only is it bad PR — and it definitely is — it’s also just an awful thing to do. Anyways, Better.com got access to half its SPAC money early and then laid off 9% of its staff.
  • Grab goes public, quickly sheds value: The Grab SPAC was supposed to be a crowning moment of sorts for the company. And then, despite raising oodles of capital and avoiding the poison of shareholder redemptions, shares of Grab still ate it hard today. Despite stocks rising in the United States, the Nasdaq-listed Grab shed around 20% of its value, at least as I write this to you. Ouch.
  • Guess who won App Store Awards: No really, guess. I would not have anticipated that a mobile League of Legends game would win the iPhone gaming prize. It feels a bit anachronistic that Apple picks favorites each year, a bit like the Grammys, if the Grammys also owned the music marketplace. Perhaps we should do some sort of Best of TechCrunch collection and see if Apple News picks it up.

Startups/VC

  • Timnit Gebru gets the last laugh: Following her high-profile exit from Google, former Alphabet AI ethicist Gebru “has set up shop herself with a brand new research institute, DAIR, focused on the topics she felt were being sidelined at Google,” TechCrunch reports. The best revenge is living well, they say. That or founding your own company to do the damn work.
  • IRL buys AaBeZe Labs: This story makes me happy. Because there was a time when app names made no sense. And then startups started to have names like Vertical SaaS 4 Ur Industry, and it all got a bit corporate. IRL is a social app, while AaBeZe does “digital nutrition.” Hell yeah, tech being weird. I will now go take 17 virtual supplements to avoid getting a virus.
  • Say it with me: ~ community ~ Community became a buzzword in the startup space after it got super expensive to buy an audience from social networks. So, build your own community, and it makes acquiring customers cheaper! Viola! There’s more to it than that, but that’s a bit of context regarding what Playground is up to. Per TechCrunch reporting, “Playground is a social platform that seeks to help people discover and develop community while empowering creators to monetize their audience.” (Don’t forget that if you say “monetize community” three times in the mirror, you only get coal in your stocking.)
  • Two stories from Mexico: Mendel has raised $35 million to work on the corporate spend issue that has proven so lucrative in the United States. And Kueski just added a bajillion dollars to its accounts to help it grow its Mexico-focused BNPL solution.
  • Glorify raises venture capital money: Nothing says “Christianity” like raising venture capital to fund an app that sells folks religious material. And while we’re just muttering Matthew 19:24 to ourselves, we should note that a16z just backed Glorify to the tune of $40 million. We presume $4 million will get tithed.
  • How much does it cost to deliver groceries? Trick question. The answer is infinite capital. Evidence? JOKR just raised again, and Swiggy is going to drop $700 million on its own “instant” grocery delivery effort.

4 analysts break down Bret Taylor’s pretty sweet week

Dreamforce 2018, Salesforce.com's user and developer conference, is held at the Moscone Convention Center and various hotels in San Francisco from September 24-28, 2018. (© Photo by Jakub Mosur Photography)

Image Credits: Salesforce

Bret Taylor is on a roll: On Monday, he became the chair of Twitter’s board, and a day later, Salesforce made him its co-CEO and co-chair.

Enterprise reporter Ron Miller looked back at Taylor’s career to better understand how a one-time Google product manager ended up co-leading one of the world’s most valuable companies. To get a fuller perspective, he interviewed four analysts:

  • Liz Herbert, VP and principal analyst, Forrester Research
  • Holger Mueller, analyst, Constellation Research
  • Brent Leary, founder and principal analyst, CRM Essentials
  • Jason Wong, analyst, Gartner

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