Ryan Breslow had a tumultuous 2022. That’s not slowing him down.
Few outside of Breslow’s world even knew his name a year ago. Then Bolta one-click payment technology company that evolved from an earlier idea of his announced $355 million in Series E funding on a reported A valuation of $11 billion. Suddenly, the startup was on everyone’s radar, and so was Breslow. The now 28-year-old Miami resident was riding so high he couldn’t help but do something of a victory lap. After struggling at one point to win over Silicon Valley investors, he began posting thoughts on Twitter that most might never dare share publicly, including calling rival Stripe and well-known accelerator Y Combinator “mob bosses,” who will pull “every force imaginable” into squash competitors.
While Breslow found some support for his viewpoint online, he was also criticized for the comments — including by powerful investors — and a week later, he stepped down as Bolt’s CEO and became its executive chairman.
Breslow, who still owns a majority stake in Bolt, told us the development has been there nothing to do with his antics. But it was hard to believe Breslow’s attention-grabbing tweets — which it kept coming – didn’t rattle Bolt’s investors to any degree. Of course, the road has been rocky since then. Further funding reported to be in the works has not materialised. The company has been accused in the press of inflating its own customer metrics and overestimating its technical capabilities. By the end of May, citing changing market conditions, Bolt announced that it was downsizing one third of its employeesor 250 people – some of whom were brought out personal loans by the company to exercise their stock options.
Meanwhile, the partnerships that Breslow teased in public not yet announced. Bolt officials are also reportedly disappointed with the sale of Breslow $10 million worth of stock to investors during the Series E round in January when Bolt’s board did not allow them to sell their own shares.
Some founders may hide after so many concessions. Breslow — who is both affable and sly in his conversation — is instead moving forward with several decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) infrastructure projects, including a programmable financing protocol called Juice box.
He is also at work several other startupsincluding a called a “people-powered pharmaceutical company”. love which he co-founded and which just announced $7.5 million in seed funding. Love aims to launch a DAO where members who buy “love tokens” with Ethereum or another reserve currency can discuss homeopathic and other pharmaceutical alternatives, then vote on which ones to test in clinical trials. The DAO will then underwrite the studies.
The idea – and it’s all theoretical at this stage – is to take on the big pharmaceutical companies by copying how they operate.
If you thought it might be a challenge to gather concrete clinical data on homeopathic treatment, Breslow argues that it is. Right now, he says, it’s “all stories, and some scientists say some of it is BS and some say it’s true. So we’re finally going to show people the data and let those who believe fund it and see if it really works.
As for how Love makes money from this whole process, Breslow says she’ll be purchasing some Love Tokens herself; will also be a “selective launch of various health-related brands under the umbrella of love.”
If things are pretty awkward right now, Human Capital and MaC Venture Capital don’t seem to mind. They provided the seeds of Love.
It should be noted that both companies are also investors in Bolt, Breslow said when asked, though he suggests that if there is a connection to Bolt, that running Bolt for eight years has led him to think differently about wellness. According to Breslow, he had chronic back pain for many years that he considered “incurable” because “many doctors and established medical experts” he had seen only made it worse. Referred later to an alternative healer who introduced Breslow to yoga, meditation and mental therapy, he says his back pain quickly disappeared.
Even social media, Breslow suggests, remains a therapeutic outlet for him. Indeed, asked if he could return his tweets from earlier this year given everything that followed, he says he has “no regrets.”
Breslow says: “I’ll continue to be quite active on social media and I think that’s been a net positive in terms of raising awareness of Bolt. A year ago, most people I know didn’t know what Bolt was or is. Now almost everyone does.”