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CEO of $4.5 billion tech agency slams his friends over layoffs: ‘These are people’

Wefox CEO Julian Teicke.


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

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

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Swedish fintech agency Klarna was among the many first main employers in tech to slash jobs this 12 months, chopping 10% of its workforce in Might. A number of corporations have adopted go well with, from these in Massive 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 workers.

“I am a bit disgusted by statements like, ‘by no means miss an excellent disaster’ [or] ‘we’ve got 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 filled with IPOs and mega funding rounds, among the most precious startups in Europe laid off important numbers of employees and drastically scaled again their growth plans.

In the beginning of Slush on Thursday, Sequoia Capital associate Doug Leone informed founders and traders they need to embrace alternatives introduced by challenges within the broader economic system.

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

“You may have an amazing alternative in entrance of you, in case you play your playing cards proper,” he mentioned. “You may have a chance to move 10 automobiles. Don’t waste an excellent 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 folks laid off had since discovered new jobs.

“If we’d have executed that in the present day, 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 method to mass redundancies.

“These are folks that have possibly give up different jobs to affix what you are promoting. 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 duty to guard their workers.

“I consider that CEOs must do every thing of their energy to guard their workers,” he mentioned. “I have not 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 searching for insurance coverage with brokers and associate insurers by an internet 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 these days, together with Lemonade, which shed 20% of employees at Metromile, a automobile 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 atmosphere however had no plans for mass layoffs.

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

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