Daily Crunch: Pali Bhat becomes first chief product officer in Reddit’s 16-year history

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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for October 11, 2021! It’s Monday, y’all, and that means we’re all strapping back into work mode. Looking ahead, we’re expecting two public debuts this week (GitLab and AvidXchange), and we’re just heading into earnings season. Get hype! – Alex

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • Apple appeals Epic decision: Remember when Apple managed to avoid a monopoly ruling and wound up being told by a judge to let third-party developers tell users that there were other ways to buy their iOS software? Well, Apple isn’t really big about the idea. So it’s appealing the ruling and asking for a stay. In an era when Microsoft is building inroads with developers, Apple appears confident in its market position to the extent that it’s comfortable moving in the opposite direction. (I’m reminded of the old-timey phrase my dad learned from a farmer: “Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered.”)
  • Reddit hires former Google Cloud exec: Reddit, a place where communities can run forums for anything under the sun (from the niche to the mainstream), is building out its executive team. Normally, we’d add “in anticipation of an IPO” to that comment, but given that Reddit is having a smashing time raising private capital, we doubt that any sort of liquidity event is in the near-term offing.
  • Inside NerdWallet’s IPO filing: Not every venture-backed company is building enterprise software. NerdWallet is one such company. It’s essentially a content play that writes stuff for consumers and SMBs in search of financial products and advice. The goal is to provide unbiased commentary — and make fat commissions. It’s a pretty good business overall, though its IPO filing details the impacts of both COVID (on growth) and a recent push on the advertising front (harming profits).


  • LA works to figure out air taxis: Once, when visiting Brazil, I was told that the São Paulo elite get around by helicopter. That made sense given that the traffic I experienced in that lovely city was fang-meltingly miserable. LA is something akin to the American São Paulo from a traffic perspective. So it’s not a huge shock that LA is ahead of the market on figuring out how air taxis are going to work. If they are going to work at all.
  • Space factories? Varda Space is going to get its first space factories into orbit in 2023 thanks to SpaceX launch systems and hardware help from Rocket Lab. It’s going to send up three vesicles, which will include a factory (manufacturing?) module and a way of coming back to Earth. In time, space factories will make stuff that is supposed to stay in space, but it appears for now that Varda wants to do work in low grav that is hard to do elsewhere and bring the goods back planetside when done.
  • FrankieOne raises $16M for fintech fraud prevention: Breaking out a particular problem from a busy industry and offering a solution as a service is good business. Many startups work along those lines. One such company is FrankieOne, which TechCrunch writes offers financial technology companies “ID and fraud management as a service.”
  • French round No. 1: Swile has raised $200 million from SoftBank for its employee card service that puts benefits on said plastic. What do cards from the new unicorn unlock for staff? TechCrunch writes that benefits like “meal vouchers, gift cards and sustainable mobility vouchers” are typical.
  • French round No. 2: Homa Games has raised $50 million in a round led by Northzone for its mobile games business. The company has racked up hundreds of millions of downloads just this year.
  • Mono raises $15M: Er, no, Mono has nothing to do with mono. Instead, it’s a startup in Africa that is building a Plaid-like service for its continent. Which is super neat, and, frankly, an easy thing to fund for VCs, we reckon. African fintech has been hot lately, so who wouldn’t want to put capital into its connective tissue?

BaaS served three ways: A closer look at a rapidly evolving market

Ryan Lawler continues his exploration of the emerging banking-as-a-service sector by examining three different BaaS strategies:

  • Turnkey banking as a service.
  • Playing matchmaker between banks and fintechs.
  • Buying a bank to get into BaaS.

“If you’re looking to spin up a new fintech app or want to add banking, debit cards or other financial services to your existing business, knowing how each of these competitors is positioned to work with customers and bank partners is key,” he writes.

(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Big Tech Inc.

  • Facebook’s oversight board to meet with whistleblower: The latest page in the current chapter of the long saga of Facebook’s product decisions is that the company’s “external policy review board will meet with Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee who went public with her concerns about the company last week.” What the faux regulatory body will do afterward is not clear, but the news itself matters.
  • Hey, look, Robbie is on TechCrunch: Former Engadget hack, genial human and Bay Area musical legend Roberto Baldwin has written about Ford’s electric Mustang for our pages. Robbie is a journalist par excellence and a gearhead to boot.

TechCrunch Experts

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The Wires of War book cover

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Join Danny Crichton on Thursday, October 14, at 2 p.m. PDT/5 p.m. EDT for a Twitter Spaces interview with Jacob Helberg, author of “The Wires of War,” which will be released tomorrow.