Bolt built an $11 billion payments business with inflated metrics and eager investors

Yet Mr. Breslow has become something of a legend in the Valley, for his fundraising prowess and his outspokenness. Last summer, he self-published a 58-page book on fundraising, describing on Amazon as an “essential playbook” for start-ups. “Fundraising is purely about momentum,” he wrote.

Jack Burlinson, an entrepreneur who attended Stanford, said Mr Breslow advised him on fundraising and introduced him to investors. “Having me tangentially connected to him in some way made fundraising easier,” Burlinson said.

Mr. Breslow returned to Florida during the pandemic, where he “hacked himself”, said Mr. Traina, Bolt’s first investor. Often pictured in yoga poses, Mr Breslow – who Forbes says plays the buffalo skin drum before bed – told the magazine he wanted nothing to do with the ‘elite circle’ billionaires.

Shortly after Bolt closed its January funding round, Mr Breslow took to Twitter to accuse Stripe, Y Combinator and major investors of conspiring to stop entrepreneurs like him from raising funds. He said venture capitalists would express enthusiasm for his “game-changing” product, only to “mysteriously” back off later.

Afterwards, Mr. Breslow decided to step down as CEO of Bolt, but remains its executive chairman. Maju Kuruvilla, the former chief operating officer, is now managing director. Mr. Breslow co-founded a new company in Miami to enable people to fund clinical trials, Ms. Neve said.

Some Bolt customers are still trying to figure out the company’s unique proposition.

Chip Overstreet, the chief executive of Spiceology, started using Bolt last year to process payments at his Spokane, Washington-based spice company. Mr Overstreet said he was happy with the service, but was surprised he couldn’t process gift orders. Bolt told him he planned to make the feature available by June, he added.

“They just don’t seem to be very innovative,” Mr. Overstreet said.

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