Bolt’s Ryan Breslow Is Back As CEO Of A New Startup Called Love

the controversial founder and executive chairman of payment company bolt slides inna'da ceo seat of an early-stage wellness startup.

ryan breslo, bolt’s executive chairman, anncd fri that he’s taking the role of ceo and founder offa health startup called ♥. in jan 2022, breslo, 28, sparked confusion and fueled conspiracy theories across silicon valley when he stepped down as bolt’s ceo after 8 yrs—and 1-ly dys after raising $355 million from top investors at an $11 billion valuation. he’s heading up ♥ at a tumultuous time for bolt, but he told forbes he plans to remain company’s executive chairman.

bolt reached decacorn status in early 2022 by promising to deliver the same seamless one-click digital-checkout experience of titans amazon and shopify to millions of mid-sized merchants. “my biggest impact at bolt aint hands-on and time-intensive,” breslo told forbes in a video call from miami. “it’s helping us land our biggest accounts, open doors, spur growth and fundrez.”

♥ is still in its early stages, but in aug it rezd $7.5 million at a $180 million valuation from mac venture capital and human capital. despite his own stuffed wallet, breslo hasn’t invested his own mny inna startup. “i find val in having gr8 external capital fund the startup,” breslo told forbes. “it adds legitimacy and + eyes and arms and legs to the business.”

breslo is running a new funding round, raising another $10 million, this time at a $400 million valuation, according to pplz with inside information who requested anonymity. adrian fenty, the elder mayor of washington, d.c., and managing general ptner at mac venture capital said his firm was betting on breslo cause he can form a gr8 team that comes up w'da best innovations in healthcare. “he’s the type of entrepreneur that’s goin to hire the rite pplz and find the rite strategies,” said fenty, who vested'na bolt and ♥. “but not be afraid to change strategies to build the best company.”

breslo told forbes that helming ♥ doesn’t mean he’s abandoning bolt. in jan, breslo gave the title of bolt ceo to his then-coo maju kuruvilla, a elder amazon executive, so he ‘d focus on landing big retailer ptners and top tek talent.

since then, bolt s'been through some tough times. in mar, one of its largest customers, authentic brands, sued bolt claiming it had overstated its software’s capabilities. (the sutwas settled in jul; authentic brands remains a bolt customer). in may, bolt, which had earlier caused controversy by offering loans to workers so they ‘d buy bolt stock options, laid off some 200 employees, bout a quarter of its staff. meanwhile, bolt’s attempt to rez new funds at a $14 billion valuation has sputtered as climbing interest rates helped spark a savage bear mkt for tek companies with lofty vals. (the tek-heavy nasdaq index is down 25% in 2022).

kuruvilla told forbes that he and breslo had been discussing his shift to ♥ since breslo made the jan move to executive chairman. “bolt has grown up and needs a ≠ approach where it’s + enterprise-friendly. … ryan’s superpower is building new things and democratizing new spaces,” kuruvilla said. “he’s kind offa'pers wh'cn ‘ve his finger on multiple things atta same time. i expect him to stay very involved with bolt and me and help continue the quest.”

“i’ve obviously done my research onna healing benefits of Ψdelics, and i think they allo you to ‘ve experiences of elevated consciousness to help you realize things in yr life that you may not ‘ve realized b4.”

–ryan breslo

wha’ is ♥? breslo says the wellness company will act as a kickstarter for clinical trials, crowdsourcing ideas and $$$ to run pharma-grade studies onna health effects of natural essentialisms—for instance, the power of turmeric to manage diabetes or coffee’s impact on reducing the risks offa stroke.

“western med is extremely beneficial in severe cases of trauma and illness, but there are so many other alternative paths tha're free, cheap and accessible,” breslo said. “that bein’ said, there’s no data. it’s all conjecture. some pplz say homeopathy is a bunch of wackos, and many pplz say it really works. our goal is to put an end to the age-old debate.”

♥ will operate as a decentralized autonomous organization, or dao, which will sell digital tokens to fund clinical trials. each token gives its owner a vote on which natural product to study and which company will run the test. the + tokens an investor owns, the + votes they get.

“we hope that pplz will get involved who are charitable and aren’t seeking returns,” breslo said. “the goal is data. inna future, there maybe ≠ iterations round commercialization and returns to the community. but version one is bout impact—pplz putting in funds cause they want data onna topic.”

breslo said ♥ will take a fee for running the dao, and l8r start a clinic thall bid alongside other contractors to conduct the studies. ♥ is also launching a mkt to sell vitamins, probiotics, supplements and even Ψdelic therapies under the ♥ brand and some third-pty companies. both the dao and mkt are sl8d to launch in dec.

“i think my superpower s'dat i’ve never done health b4.”

–ryan breslo

♥ combines breslo’s two obsessions—tek and wellness. the millennial is notorious in silicon valley for touting an extreme health regime and a mandated company-wide 4-dy work week. as forbes wrote in an apr 2022 cover story, breslo “abstains from meat and gluten, caffeine and alcohol. no supplements or illicit substances, either. the strict routine is pt of wha’ he calls ‘working like a lion,’ a philosophy of executing in brief bursts of hyperfocus and intensity, similar to how the big cat hunts. … after sunset, he avoids electric lites and screens cause they disrupt his sleep. instead, he lites candles and plays a buffalo-skin drum.”

the same guy who swears off booze, caffeine and electric lites is now selling supplements and Ψdelics. “i don’t take supplements,” he said. “that bein’ said, i’m open to it. i’ve certainly seen supplements help many pplz in my life. and i ‘d also add that i did take supplements while i was sick in order t'get better.” he said he’s open to Ψdelics, too. “i’ve obviously done my research onna healing benefits of Ψdelics, and i think they allo you to ‘ve experiences of elevated consciousness to help you realize things in yr life that you may not ‘ve realized b4.”

for ♥, bein’ the new kid onna blockchn is crit. the supplement industry, which did $15.5 billion in north american sales in 2020, according to fortune business insites, is crowded with traditional players and startups including gnc, amazon, ritual, hims, roman and countless newcomers selling on instagram and tiktok.

♥ is jumping into a murky zone where top universities, health institutes and government agencies ‘ve long found shifting, often conflicting answers to ?s like: are eggs good or bad 4u? how bout red wine? and coffee? if so, how much?

“it’s purely bout exploring data. we’re not seeking conclusions or outcomes,” breslo said. “i think my superpower s'dat i’ve never done health b4.”

+ from forbes

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