- Bolt, a payments startup, is in talks to raise new funding at a $14 billion valuation, a source says.
- The deal shows that at least some investors were unfazed by CEO Ryan Breslow’s viral tweets.
- Breslow accused Stripe and Y Combinator of conspiring to thwart Bolt’s growing business.
Bolt, a San Francisco fintech startup that provides an online checkout solution for other companies, is still in talks to raise new money at a valuation of $14 billion, according to a source familiar with the matter.
The deal comes only weeks after Bolt closed $355 million in a Series E round, valuing it at $11 billion.
Now, the company is seeking $200 million to $300 million in a Series E-2 round from investors including Tribe Capital, a second source familiar with the matter told Insider. The deal, first reported by The Information, has not been finalized and financial terms, including valuation, may change, the source said.
The new round suggests that existing investors were unfazed after the chief executive’s recent social media outburst.
Bolt CEO Ryan Breslow sent shockwaves through the tech world when he tweeted that Y Combinator and his chief competitor, Stripe, tried to pummel his own startup into obscurity.
Breslow, who previously made waves for evangelizing a four-day work week, said that Stripe, a startup valued at $95 billion, and Y Combinator, the storied accelerator that taught and backed Stripe, had conspired to thwart Bolt’s growth. He compared the firms to “mob bosses” and claimed they shooed many potential customers, as well as investors, away from Bolt.
The thread sparked a social media firestorm, with investors like Sequoia’s Shaun Maguire, Jason Calacanis, and Sheel Mohnot chiming in. People also challenged some of Breslow’s claims, leading him to make a correction.
Bolt’s own backers were surprised but not discouraged by the tweets, said the person familiar with the new funding. They described the first-time founder as an empathetic individual, wanting to share his wisdom with other founders.
Breslow felt confident enough in the business that he could put Stripe on blast, the source said.
By the time Breslow went looking for funding in January, he had built the business to $60 million in annual revenue, they said. That figure would give Bolt a staggering revenue multiple of 233 times at a $14 billion valuation. For context, startups that grow quickly can often secure higher revenue multiples, especially in today’s frenzied private investing market.
But two fintech founders told Insider that market research on Bolt indicated that actual net revenue for 2021 could well have been less than $20 million, suggesting an even higher revenue multiple.
It’s difficult to compare Bolt’s revenue multiple with those of its competitors because private companies aren’t required to share such confidential information with the public. Typically, public companies have lower revenue multiples. By contrast, Shopify reported $3 billion in annual revenue and has a market capitalization of roughly $106 billion, for a revenue multiple of 35 times; while Marqeta, another payments provider, posted $290 million in annual revenue in 2020 and later filed to go public at a $15 billion valuation, a revenue multiple of 51.7 times.
Bolt is forecasting $150 million in annual revenue in 2022, according to the person familiar with the new funding.
But not every investor is showing continued interest in the company’s new financing. For instance, General Atlantic has invested in three separate rounds of funding but didn’t participate in the Series E round earlier this month.
The Series E-2 round has been in the works since before Breslow’s tweets, the person said, adding that no investors have reneged on their commitments so far. Bolt declined to comment.
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