Wefox CEO ‘disgusted’ by mass tech layoffs: ‘These are people’


Wefox CEO Julian Teicke.


HELSINKI, Finland — The boss of European digital insurance coverage startup Wefox supplied a damning response to tech firms which have laid off staff en masse.

The likes of Meta, Amazon and Twitter have laid off tens of hundreds of staff in response to strain from traders, who wish to see them reduce prices to climate a world financial downturn.

Swedish fintech agency Klarna was among the many first main employers in tech to slash jobs this 12 months, slicing 10% of its workforce in Might. A number of firms have adopted swimsuit, from these in Large Tech to venture-backed startups like Stripe.

Julian Teicke, CEO of Wefox, informed CNBC he’s “disgusted” by what he views as a disregard by a few of his friends for his or her staff.

“I am just a little disgusted by statements like, ‘by no means miss a great disaster’ [or] ‘now we have to chop the fats,'” Teicke mentioned in an interview on the sidelines of Slush, a startup convention in Helsinki, Finland.

Enterprise capitalists have been advising startups of their portfolios to chop prices and freeze hiring as economists warn of an impending recession.

Following a bumper 2021 stuffed with IPOs and mega funding rounds, a few of the most useful startups in Europe laid off important numbers of workers and drastically scaled again their enlargement plans.

Firstly of Slush on Thursday, Sequoia Capital accomplice Doug Leone informed founders and traders they need to embrace alternatives introduced by challenges within the broader financial system.

Amazon CEO says layoffs will continue into 2023

Forecasting a extended recession worse than the 2008 or 2000 crises, Leone mentioned some firms will emerge stronger than others. 

“You’ve gotten a terrific alternative in entrance of you, in case you play your playing cards proper,” he mentioned. “You’ve gotten a chance to move 10 automobiles. Don’t waste a great recession.”

In some eyebrow-raising feedback, Sebastian Siemiatkowski, CEO of Klarna, mentioned his agency was “fortunate” to chop jobs when it did. Siemiatkowski mentioned that roughly 90% of the individuals laid off had since discovered new jobs.

“If we’d have accomplished that right now, that in all probability sadly wouldn’t have been the case,” Siemiatkowski informed CNBC in an interview.

With out naming names, Teicke slammed the tech trade over its strategy to mass redundancies.

“These are folks that have possibly stop different jobs to hitch your online business. These are folks that have possibly moved to different locations due to you. These are folks that have possibly ended romantic relationships.”

Teicke mentioned managers have a accountability to guard their staff.

“I consider that CEOs need to do every part of their energy to guard their staff,” he mentioned. “I have never seen that within the tech trade. And I am disgusted by that.”

“These are people,” he added.

Wefox is a Berlin, Germany-based agency that connects customers looking for insurance coverage with brokers and accomplice insurers via a web-based platform. The corporate was valued by traders at $4.5 billion in a July funding spherical.

Wefox says its enterprise is “crisis-resistant.” However fellow insurtechs have needed to make cuts recently, together with Lemonade, which shed 20% of workers at Metromile, a automotive insurance coverage firm it acquired, in July.

Requested whether or not his personal agency must make redundancies in response to shifting investor sentiment, Teicke mentioned his agency was “cautious” in regards to the macroeconomic setting however had no plans for mass layoffs.

“I do not consider in mass layoffs,” Teicke mentioned. “We’ll concentrate on efficiency, however not on mass layoffs.” Wefox is “very shut” to reaching profitability subsequent 12 months, he added.

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