Bolt CEO Ryan Breslow called Stripe and Y Combinator the 'mob bosses' of Silicon Valley in a Twitter thread that sparked a fiery debate

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Bolt CEO Ryan Breslow called Stripe and Y Combinator the 'mob bosses' of Silicon Valley in a Twitter thread that sparked a fiery debate
Ryan Breslow started a firestorm on Twitter with his thread accusing Y Combinator and Stripe of being "mob bosses."Bolt
  • The founder and CEO of payment startup Bolt sounded off in a lengthy Twitter thread.
  • Breslow called Stripe and Y Combinator the "mob bosses" of Silicon Valley, among other claims.
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The CEO of payments startup Bolt, Ryan Breslow, turned heads on social media when he posted a lengthy Twitter thread comparing his largest competitor, Stripe, and the startup accelerator, Y Combinator to "mob bosses."

Breslow's thread details how he founded Bolt and worked to transform the once-struggling payments startup into a decacorn with an $11 billion valuation. He attributed the company's success to perseverance and a strong team. But argued that the first seven years of building the startup were made even harder since YC favored Stripe, an early graduate of the accelerator's program, and pushed it more heavily to investors that it had existing relationships with.

Breslow claimed that because YC could promote Stripe to its fellow alumni companies for payments, Bolt was effectively shut out from gaining them as a partner. He also claimed that Stripe and YC co-run Hacker News, a social news website operated by YC.

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Breslow's Twitter thread attracted thousands of shares and comments, with many praising his bravery for speaking out against what some feel to be a rigged marketplace.

However, several of Breslow's claims have been disproven by those responding to his thread. He claimed that ride-hailing company Lyft chose Stripe for its payment processing because they were both YC companies, though Lyft wasn't in the accelerator's program (Breslow has since added a correction.) He also did not initially acknowledge that WePay, another payment fintech startup, was in the same YC cohort as Stripe, undermining his claim that YC does not back the company's competitors.

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Other well-known VCs like Sequoia's Shaun MacGuire fired back against Breslow, claiming that the main reason Breslow struggled to find investors was that his metrics were underperforming those of his competitors.

And many questioned Breslow's motivation for posting such an inflammatory thread and how it could look to Bolt's investors.

Breslow and Y Combinator could not be reached for comment.

Are you an insider with insight to share? Contact reporters Madeline Renbarger on Signal (+1-512-968-0540) or email (mrenbarger@insider.com), and Callum Burroughs via email (cburroughs@insider.com)

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