Bolt Struggles to Maintain its Valuation

Bolt Financial, a one-click payment platform and Prime Unicorn Index component, appears to be struggling to maintain its valuation as certain VCs have marked down their investments in the company. 

According to data from the Prime Unicorn Index, Bolt has raised nearly $815M over nine rounds, with the most recent round in January 2022 bringing the company’s valuation to $9.2B. Notable investors include Tribe, BlackRock, Activant Capital Group, CE Capital Innovation, Invus Opportunities, WestCap Group, and Activate Capital Partners. 

Since raising at such a high valuation, however, some investors have since cut this valuation. In an investor update on Sept. 30, Tribe noted that it had lowered its valuation of Tribe to $4.5B. Other companies whose valuations received cuts include Carta, Huckleberry, Kraken, and DCG. Tribe says their methodology includes “proactively” marking down investments and that they believe some of these companies could surge again. 

Beyond the broader macro turmoil, this drastic slash in Bolt’s valuation can be explained by a handful of events in the past year. According to The Information, after lowering its fees paid by merchants, Bolt saw its revenue stall, growing by 10% to $28M in 2021. It is facing stiff competition from PayPal and Shopify’s pushes into the one-click space. Despite emphasizing adding more online stores, Bolt saw a drop in merchants in early 2022, exacerbating these issues. In addition, Bolt laid off a third of its workforce in May, just months after its raise in January. 

It is worth noting that one of Bolt’s competitors, Fast, shut down back in April. According to the Index, Fast had a valuation of $545M after raising nearly $108M over three rounds from investors, including Index Ventures and Stripe. Reports would later surface that Fast was attempting to raise at a $1B valuation before cutting its ask in half and offering to axe 50% of its staff.  

Bolt’s $1.5B acquisition of Wyre was reported to have died in September, with many speculating that the deal was overpriced. Since then, Wyre, a crypto payments company, has shut its doors. 

UPDATE (1/13/23): Wyre is not shutting down and has received a strategic investment to continue its operations.