April 15, 2024
Maju Kuruvilla is out as CEO of one-click checkout company Bolt | TechCrunch


Maju Kuruvilla is no longer CEO of one-click checkout company Bolt. He is replaced by Justin Grooms, Bolt’s global head of sales, who is now interim CEO, according to Grooms’ LinkedIn profile.

Kuruvilla didn’t have much to say about the change but did confirm it both on LinkedIn and X, by posting, simply “One-Click Checkedout from @bolt! Onwards” with a rocket emoji. (He declined to comment further.) Arjun Sethi, a co-founder of the venture firm Tribe Capital, commented on his post on LinkedIn, noting that it was “amazing working with” the executive.

The Bolt board voted to remove him this weekend, The Information reported.

Kuruvilla, the former Amazon executive, took over as CEO in January 2022 after founder Ryan Breslow stepped down. 

Grooms joined Bolt five years ago after serving in executive positions at companies, including Ultraleap (formerly Leap Motion), Datron World Communications and Qualcomm, his LinkedIn says. The company told The Information that the CEO role had changed and said that Kuruvilla’s departure was “amicable” but provided no further details.

Bolt is no stranger to controversy. Its then-27-year-old founder, Breslow, started the company after dropping out of Stanford and was generally known for his very outspoken rants. 

In an interview with TechCrunch’s Connie Loizos in the month he stepped down, he said the company had signed roughly 10 major deals in the second half of 2021, with each being bigger “than any that Bolt has signed in the company’s history previously.” 

But then the company faced some struggles. Bolt was at one time the subject of a federal probe involving Breslow regarding whether the company violated any securities laws during fundraising in 2021. That is when Bolt was seeking a $355 million Series E round that valued the company at $11 billion. The company raised around $1 billion in total venture-backed funding.

There were also several rounds of layoffs, including one in May 2022 when it was reported at least 185 employees, or one-third of its workforce, were let go. Then another in early 2023 and one in December 2023 that affected 29% of its staff. 

In October, Kuruvilla, then CEO, told TechCrunch that the SEC was no longer looking into Bolt and that it was working toward profitability and had some new features in the pipeline, like improving merchandise returns and providing personalized experiences around its universal shopper network. The company announced partnerships with retailers, including Saks OFF 5TH, Shinola, Filson, Lafayette 148 and Toys “R” Us, in November.

More recently, Bolt signed a deal with Checkout in which Bolt became Checkout.com’s “exclusive one-click checkout provider” and Checkout.com becoming “Bolt’s preferred payment partner.”

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