Ryan Breslow, the CEO of Bolt, a payment startup, has caused friction on Twitter after posting a lengthy thread describing the company’s main competitor, Stripe, and startup accelerator Y Combinator, who works with Stripe, as the “mob bosses of Silicon Valley.”

The thread, posted on Monday, starts with Breslow describing how he built Bolt from the ground up over the course of seven hard years, turning it into a successful startup with an $11-billion valuation. He goes on to attribute those seven hard years of growth to Stripe and Y Combinator, who he claims have “tenfold” more power than anyone else in Silicon Valley. According to Breslow, Y Combinator promoted Stripe to all of its alumni companies, effectively shutting Bolt out of the competition in Breslow’s eyes.

In one section of the thread, Breslow said Y Combinator and Stripe run Hacker News and suppressed threads supporting Bolt, offering two as an example: one praising Bolt’s fraud detection and another praising Radar 2.0’s, a fraud protection service run by Stripe posted the same day. The Radar 2.0 thread has over double the points. Towards the end of the thread, Breslow said he wrote it to “expose new founders to the truth of Silicon Valley” and that he plans to “build an epic company culture, and compete,” urging Y Combinator and Stripe to “just do better.”

The thread inspired a lot of backlash from readers in Silicon Valley, who questioned Breslow’s intentions for writing the post. One response from Sequoia VC Shaun Maguire accuses Breslow of having ill intentions with his thread, claiming that Bolt’s metrics simply “haven’t been good enough,” which is why he struggled with the company.

Breslow also received support for his thread, much of it allegedly coming from anonymous sources, whose quotes he shared in an extension to the thread the next day. Numerous quote tweets also show some support for Breslow, praising him for speaking out against these so-called “mob bosses of Silicon Valley.”





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