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

Still, Mr. Breslow has become something of a legend in the Valley, for his fundraising prowess and outspoken demeanor. Last summer, he himself published a 58-page book on fundraising, described on Amazon as an “essential playbook” for startups. “Fundraising is purely a matter of momentum,” he wrote.

Jack Burlinson, an entrepreneur who attended Stanford, said Mr. Breslow advised him on fundraising and introduced him to investors. “The fact that I have a tangential relationship with him in a way made it easier to raise money,” Burlinson said.

Breslow moved back to Florida during the pandemic, where he has been “hacking himself,” said Traina, an early investor in Bolt. Often photographed in yoga poses, Breslow, who Forbes says plays a buffalo skin drum before bed, told the magazine he wants nothing to do with the “elite circle” of billionaires.

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

Breslow then decided to step down as CEO of Bolt, but remains its CEO. Maju Kuruvilla, former COO, is now CEO. Mr. Breslow co-founded a new company in Miami to allow people to fund clinical trials, Ms. Neve said.

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

Chip Overstreet, CEO of Spiceology, started using Bolt last year to process payments at his Spokane, Washington-based spice company. Mr. Overstreet said that he was satisfied with the service but that he was surprised that he was unable to process gift orders. Bolt has told him that he plans to have the feature available by June, he added.

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

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