Bolt, a startup for payments initiated, is cutting a third of its staff
In a message to staff on Wednesday, Bolt’s chief executive Maju Kuruvilla wrote that the company was making cuts as part of a larger restructuring. “It is no secret that market conditions in our industry and the technology sector are changing,” Kuruvilla wrote in the message, which was also posted on the company’s blog. “In an effort to ensure that Bolt has his own destiny, the leadership team and I have made the decision to secure our financial position.” The company began holding employee meetings on Wednesday morning.
Bolt was recently valued by investors at $ 11 billion, a price that made it one of the most valuable startups in the United States. The company’s software aims to provide retailers with one-click online payment options. But Bolt had problems recently: The startup was sued by its biggest client, who said its technology wasn’t working as promised.
Bolt, founded in 2014, has garnered national attention for giving employees free Fridays and for tweetstorms from its colorful co-founder, Ryan Breslow. Earlier this year Breslow claimed in a series of tweets that the Silicon Valley elite is a “boys’ club” filled with “mafia bosses.” Breslow stepped down as CEO soon after the tweets, becoming the company’s executive chairman.
After Bolt closed its latest funding round, the company began trying to raise more money with an even higher valuation of $ 14 billion. However, like many other startups in a difficult economic climate again, it ditched those fundraising plans, according to the person in charge of the situation, who asked not to be identified by discussing private information. In his note to staff, Kuruvilla said Bolt would aim to “achieve profitability with the money we have already raised”.
Bolt is one of many companies that has laid off staff in recent weeks as public markets hammer tech stocks. Venture-backed startups cut thousands of jobs this spring, according to employment tracker Layoffs.fyi.
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Bolt’s job cuts were sudden. The company had held annual employee reviews earlier this month, a process that resulted in some people getting a pay raise. A company spokesperson said some salaries had been “calibrated”.
Earlier this year, when Bolt appeared to be on a rocket at increasingly high valuations, the company lent many of its employees to exercise their stock options early. If Bolt’s stock value plummets, borrowing employees could find themselves in a financially precarious situation. A company spokesperson said the number of employees who lost their jobs Wednesday and also took out loans was “single-digit” and that the value of those loans was less than $ 200,000.
“We are extremely careful about any impact this restructuring has on our employees, including the Early Exercise & Loan program,” the spokesperson wrote in an email.