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CEO of $4.5 billion tech firm slams his peers over layoffs: ‘These are humans’

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HELSINKI, Finland — The boss of European digital insurance startup Wefox offered a damning response to tech companies that have laid off workers en masse.

The likes of MetaAmazon and Twitter have laid off tens of thousands of employees in response to pressure from investors, who want to see them cut costs to weather a global economic downturn.

Swedish fintech firm Klarna was among the first major employers in tech to slash jobs this year, cutting 10% of its 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 is “disgusted” by what he views as a disregard by some of his peers for their employees.

“I’m a little disgusted by 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 been advising startups in their portfolios to cut costs and freeze hiring as economists warn of an impending recession.

Following a bumper 2021 full of IPOs and mega funding rounds, some of the most valuable startups in Europe laid off significant numbers of staff and drastically scaled back their expansion plans.

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

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