Wefox CEO Julian Thike.
HELSINKI, Finland — The boss of European digital insurance startup Wefox has taken a tough line against a tech company that laid off workers in large numbers.
Wefox CEO Julian Teicke told CNBC that he was “disgusted” by other companies in the industry neglecting their employees.
“I’m a little tired of saying things like ‘don’t miss a good crisis’.” [or] ‘We have to cut fat,'” Take said in a bystander interview at Slush, a startup conference in Helsinki, Finland.
After filling up with IPOs and big funding rounds in 2021, some of Europe’s most valuable startups have laid off significant staff and significantly scaled back their expansion plans.
At the beginning of Thursday’s Slush, Sequoia Capital partner Doug Leone told founders and investors they need to embrace the opportunities presented by challenges in the broader economy.
Predict prolonged recession Leone says some companies are in a worse situation than the crises of 2008 and 2000.
“If you play your cards right, you have a big chance in front of you,” he said. “You have a chance of passing 10 cars. Don’t waste a good recession.”
In a frowning comment, Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski said his company was “lucky” to cut jobs. Siemiatkowski said about 90% of those who were laid off have since found new jobs.
“If I had done that today, it probably wouldn’t have happened, unfortunately,” Shemiatkowski told CNBC in an interview.
Without naming names, Teicke denounced the tech industry’s approach to mass layoffs.
“People who quit other jobs to join your business. People who moved elsewhere because of you. People who ended romantic relationships.”
Teicke said managers have a responsibility to protect their employees.
“I believe that CEOs must do everything in their power to protect their employees.”
“These are humans,” he added.
Wefox is a Berlin, Germany-based company that connects users seeking insurance with brokers and partner insurance companies through an online platform. The company was valued at $4.5 billion by investors in its July funding round.
Wefox says its business is “crisis-proof”. But fellow insurtechs have recently had to cut jobs, including Lemonade, which cut 20% of its staff at Metromile, the auto insurer it acquired in July.
Asked whether the company needs to lay off staff as investor sentiment shifts, Mr. Take said the company is “cautious” about the macroeconomic environment but has no plans for mass layoffs.
“I don’t believe in mass layoffs,” Take said. “We focus on performance, but not mass layoffs.” Wefox is “very close” to profitability next year, he added.
https://www.cnbc.com/2022/11/24/wefox-ceo-disgusted-by-mass-tech-layoffs-these-are-humans.html Wefox CEO is ‘fed up’ with mass tech layoffs: ‘They are humans’