Even as macroeconomic issues weigh on fintech firms, the CEO of e-commerce digital checkout startup Bolt said the company doesn’t plan to raise more capital this year.
The company has three years’ worth of runway, and “we have a path to profitability within that timeframe, so we don’t necessarily need to raise any more money at all,” CEO Maju Kuruvilla said July 8.
In May, Kuruvilla cited changing market conditions as the San Francisco-based startup cut about 30% of its workforce. Kuruvilla wouldn’t say how many employees were let go; Bloomberg reported about 250 workers were cut.
The startup isn’t alone. PayPal, Klarna, Amount and Coinbase are among those that have had to cut jobs as companies have faced less plentiful capital from investors and economic pressures such as inflation.
In January, Bolt raised $355 million in venture funding, bringing its total capital raised to about $963 million. Bolt’s board “wants us to be good stewards of our capital” and ensure the company has a path to profitability, Kuruvilla said. “You have to be alive to survive, and you have to survive to thrive. So we wanted to make sure we can be around,” and “when we achieved that, collectively, everybody was happy,” he said of the cuts made in May.
Some of those decisions, including the staff reductions, were “painful but very important,” to reach this point, Kuruvilla said.
Kuruvilla wouldn’t say whether the company anticipated needing to cut more jobs this year. “We feel comfortable with where we are right now,” he said, adding that the company is “always going to continue to look at the macroeconomic situation, and also continue to look at our own execution.”
Being a ‘trusted partner’
It’s been a busy year for Bolt. The company’s founder, Ryan Breslow, left the CEO post at the end of January, following a Twitter tirade against payments company Stripe and startup accelerator Y Combinator. In April, Bolt announced its purchase of cryptocurrency payments firm Wyre for $1.5 billion. And Authentic Brands Group filed a lawsuit against the startup in March alleging technology failures. That lawsuit was settled last week, with ABG acquiring a stake in the company.
Breslow now serves as Bolt’s executive chairman. Since assuming the CEO role in January, Kuruvilla said he’s been focused on making sure Bolt “can be that trusted partner” for merchants, and that the company has operating runway.
Bolt has about 1,000 merchant customers currently, which Kuruvilla said is a near tripling over the same time last year. The figure has increased since competitor Fast shut down in April. “For merchants, when they pick a solution like this, it’s important to make sure that the company can survive and be there,” he said.
Abandoned shopping carts online continue to be a problem for merchants, and an especially painful one as e-commerce declines with shoppers heading back to stores, he said. The value of Bolt’s services is “becoming even greater and more important” to merchants now, as they face that issue and inflation prompts consumers to cut discretionary spending, Kuruvilla asserted.
Despite the recent crypto rout, Kuruvilla is confident in the value of the Wyre acquisition, as merchants look to Bolt to innovate. “The crypto market and the assets keep fluctuating, but the infrastructure is here to stay,” he said.
Because the acquisition involves licensing transfers that need to be done country-by-country, Kuruvilla said Bolt aims to close on the deal in a couple of months.