Even in Silicon Valley, a place teeming with entrepreneurs where fortunes are made seemingly overnight, Ryan Breslow stands out.
He has promised to shake up the boring but important business of online payments with Bolt Financial, the start-up he founded eight years ago at 19. He has fashioned himself into a fund-raising maven, dispensing wisdom through TikTok videos and self-published books. Forbes magazine put him on a recent cover, estimating his net worth at $2 billion. And this past week, Mr. Breslow traveled to Warsaw to show support for Ukrainian refugees.
Mr. Breslow’s charm and vision captivated investors, allowing Bolt to raise funds at a blistering pace. From Peter Thiel’s fund to BlackRock, blue-chip investors have put in nearly $1 billion, drawn to Bolt’s technology — essentially a version of Amazon’s “Buy Now” button that can be plugged into an online merchant’s website, making checkout a breeze.
In just over three years, Bolt has soared in valuation to $11 billion from $250 million, making it a Valley success story. “There’s almost a cult of Ryan” at Stanford University, which Mr. Breslow attended, said Trevor Traina, an early investor in Bolt.