Daily Crunch: Closed early-access product Relay raises $5M seed round to ‘tackle collaborative workflows’

To get a roundup of TechCrunch’s biggest and most important stories delivered to your inbox every day at 3 p.m. PDT, subscribe here.

If you’re joining us at Disrupt next week, here’s an incentive for turning up early — we’re recording our podcasts live onstage, and you can be in the audience! Fun fun fun! — Christine and Haje

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • Automation nation: Jacob Bank knows what time it is. Paul writes that after selling his last startup to Google in 2015, Bank is back with Relay, a tool that wants to give people back some time by automating mundane tasks, particularly when it comes to the task we all love to hate — meetings.
  • “Bring your ideas to life”: Microsoft’s Ignite conference was today (get the nitty-gritty in Big Tech Inc.), and Kyle has been following all things DALL-E, including Microsoft’s investment in the AI-powered system for its new Designer and Image Creator tools.
  • Cuts run deep: Manish reports on the latest for Indian edtech giant Byju’s, which said today it would be eliminating another large chunk of jobs, this time 2,500, writing that the move was in efforts to “clear its debts and other balances in recent months.”

Startups and VC

Back in 2019, Microsoft launched Dapr, an open source project that aimed to make it easier for developers to build microservices on top of Kubernetes. Diagrid raised $24 million to launch a fully managed Dapr service, Frederic reports.

DataGrail has always been focused on helping companies comply with the growing world of privacy regulation. Today, it’s building on that with a new automated risk monitoring solution that helps companies build third-party application risk assessments quickly. While they were at it, the startup also announced a $45 million Series C investment, Ron reports.

And here’s a smattering of a few more for your enjoyment and delight:

Dear Sophie: How can I protect my H-1B and green card if I am laid off?

lone figure at entrance to maze hedge that has an American flag at the center

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

In our Dear Sophie column, our friendly immigration lawyer answers a question from Leap of Faith:

“I am considering leaving my current, steady job for a job with a big name in tech. I’m excited, but nervous. I’ve been hearing that you can lose your H-1B status if you are laid off. Is there any way I can protect my immigration status while making a bold job move?”

Three more from the TC+ team, with a sprinkling of lyrics for good luck:

TechCrunch+ is our membership program that helps founders and startup teams get ahead of the pack. You can sign up here. Use code “DC” for a 15% discount on an annual subscription!

Big Tech Inc.

Check out what happened when Taylor’s virtual torso went to Meta Connect 2022, where Meta announces legs (as Lucas reported), and Amanda shows you what you might have missed.

Meanwhile, as we noted above, Microsoft held its Ignite conference today, where Brian, Frederic and Kyle found lots to write on. For example, hybrid work setups, more Apple integrations, avatars for Teams, new Power Automate features, invite-only access to DALL-E 2 for select Azure OpenAI Service customers, automated document and data processing services, updates to Microsoft Edge, new cloud security services and upgrades to Microsoft’s suite of laptops and desktop computers.

In other news: