One more sign that the startup environment is getting tougher.
On Thursday, Dan Siroker, co-founder and CEO of website optimization platform Optimizely, announced in a blog post that the company has laid off 40 workers, or about 10% of its team.
Siroker said the move was a necessary step towards the company’s goal of “Controlling Our Own Destiny,” Optimizely’s “path to sustained growth and profitability without big infusions of additional venture capital.”
Optimizely has raised, according to Siroker, over $146 million in venture capital, most recently closing a $58.5 million Series C round in October at a valuation, according to Pitchbook, of $585 million.
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The layoffs and Siroker’s comments come at a time when running lean seems like a pretty good idea. As Fortune reported in our February issue, investors are getting steadily more hard-nosed with startups, leading to more down rounds and fewer IPOs over the last year-plus. Getting revenue-positive as soon as possible is likely on the mind of every startup CEO out there, and cutting payrolls is often a necessary, if not easy, step.
In an internal email that Siroker also shared, he said that the company has “made tremendous progress” to reaching a break-even point, saving $1.4M over the last six months and growing revenue per employee by 26%. He also pointed out that the investment market for cloud services has shifted dramatically, particularly pointing to the February 5th crash of cloud-services stocks like LinkedIn.
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The move comes at a particularly interesting moment for Optimizely, which was born from Siroker’s role as director of analytics on the 2008 Obama campaign. That campaign’s data strategy arguably contributed significantly to its success, and candidates including Hillary Clinton, Rick Perry, and Rand Paul have used Optimizely during the current campaign to hone their messaging on the web.