CEO of Briza steps down as insurtech startup cuts close to half of its staff

Briza’s leadership includes FreshBooks founder Mike McDerment and former director of engineering Rishi Sharma.

The CEO of Toronto-based insurtech Briza stepped down last week ahead of layoffs that affected nearly half the company, BetaKit has learned.

Last week, Briza’s CEO and co-founder, Ben Munro, stepped down from his role ahead of the startup’s layoff of around 26 of its employees on Friday, according to communications from former Briza employees. which BetaKit looked at. LinkedIn posts have also popped up with former employees saying they were fired. A source told BetaKit that the cuts include “leadership at the senior director level.” Before the cuts, Briza’s employee base sat at around 65 people.

Briza is not alone in reducing its staff at the end of the year amid a tightening economic and fundraising environment.

CTO Rishi Sharma took over as Briza’s CEO and carried out the layoffs, according to communications reviewed by BetaKit.

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Briza was co-founded in 2016 by Munro and Mike McDerment, co-founder and executive chair at FreshBooks. McDerment stepped down from his role as CEO of FreshBooks in early 2021, citing plans to focus a portion of his efforts on supporting Briza going forward. McDerment serves as board chair for Briza, with Munro also a board member. Sharma also comes from FreshBooks, where he was director of engineering before joining Briza as CTO.

BetaKit reached out to Sharma, as well as Munro and McDerment for comment. Munro and McDerment did not respond, while Sharma acknowledged the requests but had no comment at the time of publication.

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Briza offers what it calls insurance-as-a-service API that enables instant quoting, underwriting, and issuing of commercial insurance policies for businesses. The company’s platform connects insurance underwriter systems with insurance companies allowing consumers to get quotes, pay online, and receive those insurance policies instantly.

RELATED: Job cuts continue at Canadian tech firms amid bleak outlook for 2023

The startup is venture backed by angel investors that include McDerment and Munro, as well as 500 Startups and Investment Group of Santa Barbara.

Briza’s most recently announced fundraising came in February 2021, a $10.2 million CAD Series A round that brought its total funding to date to $13.9 million CAD.

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Briza is not alone in reducing its staff at the end of the year amid a tightening economic and fundraising environment. As 2022 comes to a close, BetaKit learns of more than a dozen Canadian tech companies that continue to downsize as they look at a tough year, and prepare for a potentially tough 2023.

Although there are companies that continue to hire, a recent Indeed report found that job postings on its site for tech roles in Canada have dropped 32 percent since May, which does not reflect current sign of stabilization amid these conditions. According to Layoffs.fyi, 993 tech companies cut 15,2542 employees worldwide in 2022.



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