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 resigned last week ahead of layoffs that affected half of the company, BetaKit said.

Last week, Briza’s CEO and co-founder, Ben Munro, stepped down from his role ahead of the start of layoffs of around 26 employees on Friday, according to the company’s press release. former Briza employee reviewed by BetaKit. LinkedIn posts have also surfaced with former employees noting they were fired. A source told BetaKit that the cuts included “high-level leadership.” Before the cuts, Briza’s workforce numbered around 65.

Briza is not alone in making year-end layoffs amid a tightening economic and fundraising environment.

CTO Rishi Sharma took over as Briza’s CEO and made the layoffs, according to a press release reviewed by BetaKit.

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Briza was co-founded in 2016 by Munro and Mike McDerment, co-founder and CEO of FreshBooks. McDerment is stepping down as CEO of FreshBooks in early 2021, citing plans to focus part of his efforts on supporting Briza going forward. McDerment is the chairman of Briza’s board of directors, and Munro is also a board member. Sharma also comes from FreshBooks, where he was director of engineering before joining Briza as CTO.

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

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Briza offers what it calls an insurance-as-a-service API that makes it possible to quote, bind and publish commercial insurance policies for businesses. The company’s platform connects the insurance policy system to the insurance company allowing customers to get quotes, pay online, and receive insurance policies instantly.

RELATED: Layoffs at Canadian tech firms continue despite bleak outlook for 2023

The startup is 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 funding to $13.9 million CAD.

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Briza is not alone in making year-end layoffs amid a tightening economic and fundraising environment. As 2022 draws to a close, BetaKit has identified more than a dozen Canadian tech companies that continue to reduce their workforce as they look to weather a tough year, and prepare for what could be a tough 2023. .

While some companies continue to hire, a recent report from Indeed found that job postings on its site for Canadian tech roles have dropped 32 percent since May, shows no current signs of stability under these conditions. According to, 993 tech companies will cut 15,2542 jobs worldwide in 2022.


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