As the coronavirus crisis escalated in March, Emil Mikhailov, CEO of the AI startup XIX, sent an email to his employees, warning them to prepare for a recession when their top priority will be to “to survive the storm.” 

“It’s not clear what is going to happen,” he wrote.

Then he made a vow: “We as a team will not lose anyone. We will sacrifice short-term to make sure everyone is OK.”

The downturn has upended the world of startups, many of which are scrambling for ways to cut expenses, including layoffs. But some startups are stressing the need to protect their employees’ jobs as they figured out ways to survive the downturn. 

Some CEOs and founders, like Mikhailov, have even promised not to cut anyone.

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