Bolt built $11 billion business with inflated statistics and eager investors

Yet mr. Breslow has become something of a legend in the Valley, due to his ability to raise money and his outspoken demeanor. Last summer, he self-published a 58-page book on fundraising, described on Amazon as an “essential playbook” for start-ups. “Fundraising is purely a matter of momentum,” he wrote.

Jack Burlinson, an entrepreneur who lived at Stanford, said that Mr. Breslow advised him on fundraising and introduced him to investors. “The fact that I have a direct relationship with him somehow made it easy to raise money,” said Mr. Burlinson.

Mr Breslow moved back to Florida during the pandemic where he was “hacking himself,” said Mr Traina, Bolt’s early investor. Often photographed in yoga poses, Mr 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 funding round in January, Mr. Breslow took to Twitter to accuse Stripe, Y Combinator and top investors of plotting to ban entrepreneurs like him from fundraising. He said venture capitalists would express their excitement at his “game-changing” product, only to withdraw “mysteriously” later.

At that time, Mr. Breslow decided to step down as CEO of Bolt, but he will remain the executive chairman. Maju Kuruvilla, the former chief operating officer, is now chief executive. Mr. Breslow is co-founder of a new company in Miami to help people fund clinical trials, Ms. Neve said.

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

Chip Overstreet, the chief executive of Spiceology, began using Bolt last year to process payments at his spice business in Spokane, Wash. Mr. Overstreet said he was happy with the service but was surprised he was unable to process orders that are gifts. Bolt has told him it plans to have the feature available in June, he added.

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

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