Wefox CEO ‘disgusted’ by mass tech layoffs: ‘This is human’

Wefox CEO Julian Teicke.


HELSINKI, Finland — The boss of European digital insurance startup Wefox has delivered an accursed response to tech companies that have laid off workers en masse.

like of meta, Amazon and Twitter have laid off tens of thousands of employees in the face of pressure from investors who want to see them cut costs to weather the global recession.

Swedish fintech company Klarna is one of first major employer in technology to cut jobs this year, cutting 10% of the workforce in May. Several companies have followed suit, from those in Big Tech to venture-backed startups like Stripe.

Julian Teicke, CEO of Wefox, told CNBC he was “disgusted” by what he saw as disrespect by some colleagues towards their employees.

“I’m a bit disgusted with statements like, ‘never miss a good crisis’ [or] ‘we have to cut the fat,'” Teicke said in an interview on the sidelines of Slush, a startup conference in Helsinki, Finland.

Venture capitalists have advise startups in their portfolio to cut costs and freeze hiring as economists warn of a impending recession.

After a bountiful 2021 with multiple IPOs and major funding rounds, some of Europe’s most valuable startups have laid off large numbers of staff and dramatically scaled back their expansion plans. surname.

At the start of Slush on Thursday, Sequoia Capital partner Doug Leone told founders and investors they should seize the opportunities presented by challenges in the broader economy.

Amazon CEO says layoffs will continue into 2023

Predict a prolonged recession worse than the crises of 2008 or 2000, Leone said some companies will emerge stronger than others.

“You have a great opportunity ahead, if you play your cards right,” he said. “You have a chance to pass 10 cars. Don’t waste a good downturn.”

In some raised eyebrows, Sebastian Siemiatkowski, CEO of Klarna, said his company was “lucky” to cut jobs when it happened. Siemiatkowski says that about 90% of those laid off have found new jobs.

“If we had done it today, it probably wouldn’t have happened,” Siemiatkowski told CNBC in an interview.

Needless to say, Teicke has criticized the tech industry for its approach to mass redundancy.

“These are people who may have left another job to join your business. These are people who may have moved elsewhere because of you. These are people who may have ended romantic relationships. conceited.”

Teicke said managers have a responsibility to protect their employees.

“I believe CEOs must do everything in their power to protect their employees,” he said. “I’ve never seen that in the tech industry. And I’m disgusted by it.”

“These are human beings,” he added.

Wefox is a company based in Berlin, Germany that connects insurance-seeking users with partner brokers and insurers through an online platform. The company was valued at $4.5 billion by investors in a funding round in July.

Wefox says its business is “crisis resistant”. But other tech insurers have recently had to make cuts, including Lemonade, which laid off 20% of employees at Metromile, a car insurance company it acquired in July.

When asked if his company will have to cut staff due to changing investor sentiment, Teicke said his company is “cautious” about the macroeconomic environment but has no plans to lay off the plan. mass waste.

“I don’t believe in mass layoffs,” Teicke said. “We will focus on performance, not mass layoffs.” Wefox is “very close” to profitability next year, he added.

Wefox founder explains the opportunity in the digital insurance industry


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