Fintech & e-commerce

Road Gets Messy For Bolt As Fintech Startup Implements Layoffs, Restructuring

Layoffs-Hand picking person out of line of people

San Francisco-based Bolt certainly delivered a striking message to employees and investors yesterday.

With an $11 billion valuation, the company was once considered to be one of the most highly valued startups by investors. However, the startup now plans to eliminate about 250 employees—about one-third of its workforce—according to reports.

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“It’s no secret that the market conditions across our industry and the tech sector are changing,” wrote Bolt CEO Maju Kuruvilla in a message posted on the company’s blog. “In an effort to ensure Bolt owns its own destiny, the leadership team and I have made the decision to secure our financial position.”

Bolt’s cuts are just the latest in a slew of tech companies layoffs that we’ve been tracking.

Bolt’s recent troubles

Bolt’s destiny has been wonky lately, to say the least. The startup, a provider of a one-click checkout for independent online retailers, was sued by Authentic Brands Group for its botched integration with retail chain Forever 21.

The suit claimed that the hipster retailer lost more than $150 million in online sales as a result.  It also claimed Bolt raised funding at high valuations by “consistently overstating” its integration with ABG’s brands.

Bolt also had to navigate its way into new leadership when its controversial founder Ryan Breslow trashed Y Combinator, Stripe and the overall Silicon Valley startup industry on Twitter.

The layoffs come just six months after we reported that Bolt announced it raised $355 million for the initial part of its Series E funding. BlackRock led the financing.

What about those Bolt loans?

The plot also thickens for those employees who took out loans from Bolt to buy vested shares. According to an Axios report, if an employee stops working at Bolt their loan must be repaid within 90 days (even if they were let go).

A Bolt spokesperson told Axios that only a few employees in that laid-off pool will be impacted by that scenario.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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