Israeli start-up, Cyota has fired a third of its workforce, as the company moves to downsize and improve on its efficiency.

Cyota, which develops technology that guarantees credit card payments on the Internet, fired 20 employees, out of its staff of 60.

A company representative announced today that the move was a strategic decision, implemented only after the development of the company's main product, SecureLink, was complete. Personnel from all departments were dismissed and the cutback was relatively large, which indicates that further dismissals in the near future are unlikely.

The company's representative added that Cyota intends developing additional products, and expanding into new markets.

Cyota was established one and a half years ago, and in December 2000 announced the completion of an $11 million financing round led by the

Giza GE Venture Fund

. Investors include the Japanese electronic appliance giant Toshiba, represented in Israel by Triangle, Poalim Capital Markets, Israel Seed Partners Fund, as well as an unnamed Asian investor and a European bank.

The company's financing round was led at a valuation of $18 million before the money.

In October 2000 Cyota had announced its intention to raise a further $16 million to $19 million, based on an estimated company evaluation of much more than $18 million. But it never went ahead with the financing round due to poor market conditions.