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HomeTop Global NewsWefox CEO 'disappointed' by massive tech layoffs: 'These are humans'

Wefox CEO ‘disappointed’ by massive tech layoffs: ‘These are humans’

WeFox CEO Julian Tick.


HELSINKI, Finland — The boss of European digital insurance startup Wefox has hit back at tech companies looking to lay off mass workers.

choice of meta, Amazon And Twitter has laid off thousands of staff in response to pressure from investors, who want to see them cut costs as they face a global economic downturn.

Swedish fintech firm Klarna was one of the first major employers to cut jobs this year, cutting its workforce by 10% in May. Many companies have followed suit, from Big Tech to venture-backed startups like Stripe.

WeFox CEO Julian Ticke told CNBC that he is “disgusted” by the disregard for his employees by some of his peers.

“I’m a little disappointed by statements like, ‘Never miss a good crisis’ [or] ‘We have to cut the fat,’ Tike said in an interview on the sidelines of Slush, a startup conference in Helsinki, Finland.

Venture capitalists are advising startups in their portfolios to cut costs and freeze hiring as economists warn of an impending recession.

After a 2021 full of IPOs and mega funding rounds, some of Europe’s most valuable startups downsized significant numbers of employees and substantially scaled down their expansion plans.

At the start of Slush on Thursday, Sequoia Capital partner Doug Lyons told founders and investors that they should embrace the opportunities brought by challenges in the broader economy.

Amazon CEO says layoffs will continue through 2023

While predicting a recession worse than the 2008 or 2000 crisis, Leone said some companies will emerge stronger than others.

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

In comments that raised some eyebrows, Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski said his firm was “fortunate” to cut jobs when it did. Siemiatkowski said that about 90% of those laid off have since found new jobs.

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

Without taking names, Tikey slammed the tech industry over its approach to mass redundancies.

“These are people who may have left other jobs to join your business. These are people who may have moved to other places because of you. These are people who may have ended romantic relationships.”

Tikey said managers have a responsibility to protect their employees.

“I believe that CEOs must do everything in their power to protect their employees,” he said. “I haven’t seen anything like this in the tech industry. And I hate it.”

“These are humans,” he said.

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

Wefox says its business is “crisis-resistant”. But fellow insurtechs have had to make cuts recently, including Lemonade, which shed 20% of its workforce at Metromile, the car insurer it acquired in July.

Asked whether his own firm would have to make redundancies in response to changing investor sentiment, Tikey said his firm was “cautious” about the macroeconomic environment but had no plans for large-scale layoffs.

“I don’t believe in mass layoffs,” Tike said. “We’re going to focus on performance, but not mass layoffs.” He added that Wefox is “very close” to achieving profitability next year.

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