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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:
- Really going places: Oh look, TripActions raised at a $9.2 billion valuation after reported $12 billion IPO filing, Natasha M reports.
- Tiny cameras, big sack-o-moolah: Metalenz ships millions of its tiny cameras and powers up with a $30 million B round, Devin reports.
- A la carte: Veeve bags $6.7 million to turn shopping carts into smart carts, Christine reports.
- Money for revenue, and clicks for free: FlapKap provides revenue-based financing to e-commerce brands in MENA, gets $3.6 million of seed funding, Tage reports.
- Gamifying games: Homa raises another $100 million for its data-driven mobile gaming tools, Romain reports.
Dear Sophie: How can I protect my H-1B and green card if I am laid off?
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:
- Know when to hold ’em: 6 tips for launching a blockchain startup, by Wolfgang Rückerl.
- Free fallin’: Crypto VC deals continue to drop as activity follows bearish market prices, by Jacquelyn.
- Be mine: The Muse buys Fairygodboss as roll-up acquisitions come to VC, by Becca.
Big Tech Inc.
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:
- M&A action: Vista Equity Partners said it will acquire cybersecurity company KnowBe4 in a $4.6 billion deal, Paul reports.
- Severed: Haje has a look at the new DedroneDefender, a handheld counter-drone jammer that he writes “uses science to stop drones in their tracks.”
- Classification known: News of a new federal gig worker proposal had shares of Uber, Lyft and DoorDash sliding yesterday. Harri has more.
- Google it: If you’re interested in purchasing Google’s Pixel Watch or the Google Pixel 7 Pro, read Brian’s take on both of them before you make a decision.
- So exposed: Carly writes about Toyota exposing 300,000 customer emails for the past five years.