Ryan Breslow was a Stanford sophomore when he decided to embrace one of the university's famed traditions: he dropped out to launch his own company.
Well, I don't really give up the perks of Stanford life when he quit school five years ago. Breslow says that he continued to live secretly live in his old dorm room and even at free meals on campus as he was starting Bolt, a payments startup that's looking to challenge Amazon.
Bolt on Tuesday said it has raised an additional $ 68 million in funding, its biggest round to date which pushes its total equity investment up to $ 90 million. The round was led by Activant Capital and Tribe Capital. The San Francisco-based company, co-founded by Eric Feldman, currently has more than 1
Bolt's technology offers businesses a way to set up streamlined, faster payment systems with easy-to-use check out process and features to guard against fraud. In other words, something similar to the systems that online retail giant Amazon uses.
In fact, "Amazon is a huge inspiration for us," Breslaw customs business insider. "The problem is that you are not Amazon, you would have the engineers to build this optimal buying experience for your shoppers … we are building that for everyone else. We envision the world in 10 years where everybody can have their own Amazon. "
Bolt's technology is geared to companies with their own e-commerce sites, especially businesses that offer more than one custom products, such as furniture, mattresses or eyewear, he said. Shopping for such products are not always ideal on Amazon, he added.
"Amazon is going to win when it comes to commodity products," Breslaw said. But for businesses that sell brand, non-generic products, he said, [hecreatesthateasyexperiencewhereveryoushop"hesaid"BecauseitislevelingtheplayingfielditisachallengetoAmazoninaway"
Analyst Tim Bajarin or Creative Strategies Inc. said Bolt aims to help retail businesses that typically struggle with clunky payment systems.
"Retail brands all have their own checkout procedures and too often people never complete the transaction if the procedure is complicated or they have to enter their data and payment method each time they buy something," he told Business Insider.
Many retailers have been envious of Amazon's one-click checkout procedure and have longed for something like Bolt that would simplify the process and make it easier to check out when buying a product or service, "he added.
"It appears that Bolt could give them this child of one click service and should be of interest to many retailers in the future," Bajarin said. But he also compared Bolt to other startups seeking to take on Amazon.
It "will be an uphill battle," he said. "Amazon's global reach and logistics excellence makes it tough to compete against them and make any headway unless they are in a highly vertical segment that meets the needs of a very specific audience."
Breslaw became familiar with the need for easy-to-use payment systems early. As a middle schooler, he said he helped businesses set up their websites and ended up being good at it. That exposed him to the need for easy-to-use payment systems.
"I was fascinated with payments and how money was handled," he said.
That interest continued after entering Stanford. In 2014, he decided to drop to start his company. "I decided to be more passionate about that than school," he said.
But Breslaw still continued to live in his old dorm room for a quarter. He just got to eat free meals at a student hall because he became good friends with the chef "who didn't know I had dropped out."
He was able to stay on campus with the help of his forms roommates, although he had to make sure he was caught.
"When the cleaners came, I made sure I wasn't there," he said.
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