- An “anti-woke” bank backed by Peter Thiel is closing down just three months after it was founded.
- GloriFi attracted $50 million in investment from conservative backers last year.
- An executive blamed “reputational attacks” and “multiple negative stories” for its demise.
A bank that promoted itself as an “anti-woke” alternative to Wall Street and won the support of Peter Thiel and Candace Owens is closing down just three months after it started operating.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that Texas-based startup GloriFi had laid off most its workforce and was planning to close its doors, according to people familiar with the matter.
The bank, run by GOP donor Toby Neugebauer, opened in the summer after raising $50 million from an A-list group of investors last year, and was recently valued at $1.7 billion.
The startup aimed to appeal to those disenfranchised with what some regarded as “liberal” Wall Street, pitching “plumbers, electricians and police officers” as their target demographic, per the Journal.
But, in an email seen by the newspaper, GloriFi’s chief marketing and communications officer Cathy Landtroop said “financial challenges related to startup mistakes, the failing economy, reputational attacks, and multiple negative stories took their toll.”
This statement was also made on the GloriFi’s website. The company is now helping its customers resolve their accounts.
In October, the Journal reported that the startup was having trouble attracting customers, including a delayed launch and a rebuffed approach for more funding.
Staff would work from the Neugebauer’s 16,000-square-foot Dallas residence modeled after the White House, and would often stay in guest bedrooms as Neugebauer worked 17-hour days.
The venture attracted some high-profile backers, including Thiel and Citadel’s Ken Griffin, both of whom have donated to conservative causes.
Owens, a conservative commentator, agreed to become a public face of GloriFi when it started.
“I very much believe in GloriFi and view it to be the first true mark of what I perceive to be a competitive, conservative economy that is forming,” she told the Journal in an email.