In a statement provided to GeekWire, the 4-year-old company said it is undergoing a “strategic realignment and restructuring,” but the startup declined to say whether it laid off workers or provided an updated number of employees.
However, current and former employees who spoke to GeekWire said the startup cut its workforce last week. Atomo employed 35 people in June and had grown to around 50 employees, according to LinkedIn.
In a statement attributed to co-founder and CEO Andy KleitschAtomo said it “recently made a breakthrough that will help us reach a larger segment of consumers and more rapidly advance accessibility to sustainable coffee offerings.”
“Our strategic realignment and restructuring will mean adding new staff with special skills that will allow us to more quickly scale our vision of providing sustainable coffee products to the masses,” Kleitsch said.
The company website currently lists four open positions.
Derek Lotza former human resources director at the company who left last month before the restructuring, told GeekWire that Atomo “has let go of a lot of really valuable employees.”
Atomo hit Seattle’s much-celebrated coffee scene in 2019 as a food-tech startup promising to reverse-engineer the coffee bean. Its formula has been about removing the grain from the coffee-making process and replacing it with a molecular concoction derived from naturally sustainable, recycled plant waste ingredients, including extracts of date seeds, chicory root, and grape skin.
The company’s goal is to mitigate the effects of climate change in coffee-growing regions around the world and provide a substitute for the environmentally destructive process of growing coffee. Atomo says that its beverages use 94% less water and 93% less carbon emissions than conventional coffee.
Kleitsch is a tech veteran who previously worked at Amazon and led workshops for entrepreneurs at the University of Washington. He co-founded Atomo with Jarrett Stopforth, a PhD with extensive experience in food safety and quality at companies such as Chobani and Campbell Soup. Stopforth left Atomo last May and is now the co-founder and COO of Dewey Beverage, makers of a canned cocktail.
Atomo officially launched the online sale of its canned cold brew products in June, following its most recent financing announcement.
The company operates two production facilities: a roastery building in Seattle, just six blocks from Starbucks headquarters, and an ingredient processing plant in California that brings start-up closer to farmers and their date pits in the Coachella Valley.
Atomo has raised $51.5 million to date. Its latest round was led by S2G Ventures, AgFunder, and Horizons Ventures.
The changes to the startup come as several technology companies have cut back amid a slowing economy. Amazon confirmed this month that it is cutting 18,000 corporate and technology employees; Salesforce is cutting 10% of its workforce, impacting Seattle-based Tableau; Rad Power Bikes, Goal, Offer, flying houses, red fin and others have also announced layoffs.
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