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Anti-woke banking startup GloriFi shuts down

Anti-woke banking startup GloriFi shuts down

GloriFi, an "anti-woke" fintech startup backed by, among others, Peter Thiel, is shutting down weeks after launching its app after failing to secure funding.

In a notice on its website, the Texas-based outfit says it "has experienced a series of financial challenges related to startup mistakes, reputation attacks, the declining economy, and multiple negative media stories".

The company has laid off most of its staff and is winding down operations and helping customers resolve their accounts.

Targeting Americans who think that Wall Street is too liberal, GloriFi launched its app in September, working with TransPecos Banks to offer users checking and savings accounts and letting them apply for credit cards.

The brainchild of businessman and political donor Toby Neugebauer, the firm raised about $50 million from backers including Theil and Ken Griffin.

However, according to an October Wall Street Journal report, GloriFi burnt through the funding within months, leaving it on the verge of bankruptcy. The firm agreed a deal to go public via a $1.7 billion merger with a Spac. However, that agreement required GloriFi to raise at least $60 million in cash.

Meanwhile, according to the WSJ, the startup missed launch dates, for which it blamed vendors, and laid off dozens of employees.

A plan to make credit cards out of the material used for shell casings fell apart because the material could interfere with security chips and would be too thick for payment terminals.

Employees also told the Journal that Neugebauer had a "volatile temper and drank on the job" - his home doubled as the startup's office.

Neugebauer, who put $10 million of his own money into the venture, quit as CEO following the WSJ article, becoming executive chairman.

On the closure, Neugebauer wrote an email to employees saying: “This is a devastating day.”

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