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Tradeshift cuts headcount by three figures in effort to turn towards profitability

Last month Tradeshift, a platform for supply chain payments which has achieved unicorn startups in recent years, had some good news and some bad news. It announced a Series F funding round of $240 million in equity and debt, raised from a combination of existing and new investors. It’s now raised a total of $661M since it started in 2008 and investors include Goldman Sachs, Principal Strategic Investments and Wipro Ventures among others.

The new funding came, despite talk of a possible IPO last year. In effect, this new funding round was an admission by the company that it was delaying any IPO and setting the company “on a direct path to profitability in the near future,” which is exactly the kinds of noises many larger tech firms have made in the wake of the WeWork and Peleton issues with the public markets.

During that announcement CEO and co-founder Christian Lanng also admitted that the drive toward profitability would mean a cost-cutting exercise ahead of any possible IPO.

Lanng said this would likely mean reducing headcount in its expensive San Francisco offices, but reallocating resources and talent to locations where that is more affordable.

The company has many no formal announcement about the detail on that, but yesterday we got confirmation from the European tech press that the cuts were indeed starting to bite.

The Danish version of ComputerWorld reported that the staffing cuts have now run into 3 figures and were conducted in mid-January.

The cuts came from headcount at the company’s offices in Copenhagen, San Francisco and other offices.

Mikkel Hippe Brun, a co-founder of Tradeshift and head of the company’s Asian business, confirmed the information to Computerworld, but indicated that “there are still some consultations around the world, where we are subject to different rules about notifications and opportunities to raise objections.”

However, he said that the company still has more than 1,000 employees worldwide, which is “significantly more employees” than two years ago.

At the same time, the company has also brought in new executives from SAP, Oracle and Microsoft, among others, as the company tightens its belt, according to ComputerWorld.

Tradeshift has an impressive array of investors such as Goldman Sachs, although it’s notable that this doesn’t include any of the usual round of typical SaaS-oriented Valley VCs.

Tradeshift customers have included Air France KLM, Kuehne + Nagel International AG, DHL, Fujitsu, HSBC, Siemens, Société Générale, Unilever, and Volvo.

KLM Airlines wants to help build a more efficient jet with in-wing seating

Air travel accounts for a significant chunk of greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants, and the amount of air travel has risen steadily over the past few decades, with emissions from aviation predicted to grow significantly through 2020 and beyond. Electric passenger planes are in the works, but unlikely to replace our workhorse passenger jets any time soon — which is why efforts like a new type of conventional-fuel aircraft are being backed by KLM Airlines.

The new aircraft design was conceived by designer Justus Benad and is being further realized by a team of researchers at the Netherlands’ Delft University of Technology, per CNN. The look of the aircraft is clearly different from the start, ditching the typical cylindrical tube main fuselage for a “squat slice of pizza” look that extends the body through the wings of the plane.

This beefed-up core holds passengers, fuel and cargo, and through this distribution, which improves the aircraft’s overall aerodynamics, the plane will manage to be 20% more fuel-efficient versus the Airbus A350, which carries approximately the same amount of passengers depending on its configuration.

A savings of 20% in fuel consumption may not seem like much, but over time, and at scale, it could potentially make a huge difference — especially if the pace of electric aircraft development and other alternatives doesn’t pick up. That said, timelines for deployment aren’t super immediate: These could enter service sometime between 2040 and 2050 based on the current development schedule, which isn’t exactly tomorrow.

Testing an all-new design for passenger jets, which basically look like they did when they were first introduced, is obviously not something one undertakes lightly, however. The good news is that the team is hoping to put a scale model into real-world flight testing later this year.