Bolt ratings tanks after founder blasted Silicon Valley’s ‘mob bosses’

A multibillion-dollar tech startup whose founder made waves earlier this year when he compared Silicon Valley to a “boys’ club” full of “mob bosses” has since seen its valuation in the secondary market crumble, The Post learns Has.

San Francisco-based Bolt, which makes checkout payment technology and competes with the likes of PayPal, Shopify and Square, was valued at $11 billion in January — the same month that 27-year-old founder Ryan Breslow founded the venture capital giant Sequoia and Y attacked Combinator and payments company Stripe for allegedly conspiring to sink his company.

Bolt attempted to raise more cash at an even higher valuation of $14 billion just weeks later — but the company’s secondary market valuation is down about 50% from its peak of $11 billion in the months since Breslow’s comments. Dollar fell, private market sources told The Post.

An investor who bought Bolt in a previous round is looking to sell a large stake valued at just $8 billion — but buyers are only willing to buy at a high of $6 billion since last week buy, said a private market source.

Another private market source working to move Bolt shares told the Post in April that the company’s actual valuation is only $5.5 billion.

However, a source close to Bolt claimed that the company receives term sheets — non-binding agreements that come before legally binding contracts — from unnamed investors who value the company at $17 billion to $20 billion.

Bolt declined to comment.

Sources say potential backers’ confidence in Bolt has been eroded in part by concerns about his leadership.

Breslow resigned as CEO just days after his attacks on Sequoia, Y Combinator and Stripe, a private payments company backed by both venture capital firms. Today he is the chairman of the board.

“There is too much turnover in management,” said a private markets source.

A broader shakeout in the payments industry is also making investors nervous. Fast, another payments startup and Bolt rival backed by Stripe, suddenly shut down this week after failing to secure funding.

Breslow mocked Stripe on Twitter Friday for the failure of Fast, posting a meme and writing, “Stripe didn’t put $100 million into Fast, they donated $100 million to Bolt marketing. The best that could have happened.”

Larger publicly traded payments companies have also seen their stocks soar this year after a run in 2020 and 2021.

Shopify shares surged as high as $1,750 in November 2021 before collapsing more than 50% to around $644 on Friday. PayPal shares also surged above $300 last summer before falling to around $113.

And shares of Jack Dorsey’s Square parent, Block, traded above $275 in August but are now hovering around $125.

Bolt was looking to raise $14 billion worth of money earlier this year but is now worth around $6 billion, private market sources said.

“Bolt’s downfall is a combination of Ryan and the fintech space,” the private market source said.

Ken Smythe of private equity firm Next Round Capital blamed investor hubris for the dramatic rise and fall in Bolt’s valuation.

“When Bolt completed its final round with a valuation of $11 billion and then increased it to $14 billion just as the NASDAQ 100 was peaking, you could tell things got extremely foamy,” Smythe said to The Post. “If you’re an investor writing Bolt a check for a 183x sales multiple, you’re just asking for trouble.”

“If you’re an investor writing Bolt a check for a 183x sales multiple, you’re only asking for trouble,” said Ken Smythe of Next Round Capital.

“At the end of the day, investors are responsible for Bolt’s meteoric rise in valuation,” Smythe added.

If investors are already effectively underwater in Bolt’s January round, the company could struggle to raise more money in subsequent funding rounds.

It’s unclear how much cash Bolt currently has in the bank, but the company announced on Thursday that it is buying a cryptocurrency services startup called Wyre — a move the company said will bring “Coinbase-like functionality to the cryptocurrency market.” will bring all trading” and “Cryptocurrency will introduce new generation of traders and consumers.”

The acquisition was valued at approximately $1.5 billion. according to the Wall Street Journal. Bolt ratings tanks after founder blasted Silicon Valley’s ‘mob bosses’


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