less than three Months after going public, “anti-wake” banking startup GloriFi is canceling itself.
The company laid off employees and told them the end was near, via an email from Chief Marketing Officer Kathy Landtrop that she got. Wall Street Journal. Landroop cited “financial challenges related to startup bugs, a failing economy, reputational attacks, and numerous negative stories” as reasons for the crash.
The magazine reported that the company’s fate was sealed on Friday when a financing arrangement fell through.
GloriFi pitched itself as a financial institution that allowed one to be “free to celebrate your love for God and your country without fear of cancellation,” and GloriFi’s marketing was more like a campaign ad than a tempting APR offer on a new credit card. Highlights from our About Us page include: “Our bill of rights is non-negotiable” and “We are one nation under God.”
In its short tenure, GloriFi has been able to launch checking and savings accounts as well as credit cards, with plans to offer mortgages and insurance for futures that won’t happen. Founder and CEO Toby Neugebauer has introduced plans to offer gun owners discounts on home insurance, credit cards made from shell-casing materials, and help pay legal bills if customers shoot someone in self-defense. Over the summer, GloriFi included conservative commentator Candace Owens as co-founder and brand spokesperson.
In October, A.J Wall Street Journal Details of the startup’s tumultuous start that led to its rapid downfall. Neugebauer and his business partner Nick Ayers, former chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, have managed to secure a large list of financial backers for their Texas-based company. Lured investors like conservative billionaire Peter Thiel, former Georgia Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Vivek Ramaswamy, and Citadel founder Ken Griffin with promises of chalking up a market full of “plumbers, electricians and police officers,” who are “tired of big banks not sharing their values.”
But GloriFi has not been able to translate ideological greatness into corporate functional management. Even before it was released to the public, the startup was plagued by reports of chaos among employees and financiers. GloriFi has missed its planned launch date several times, at one point due to clashes with Texas financial regulators. Reports of unpaid bills and erratic behavior have surfaced from Neugebauer, who has converted his Dallas mansion into the company’s main office.
According to the magazine, The firm eventually had to hire a law firm to investigate workplace issues, particularly around Neugebauer. On one note he revised it magazine, Brett Amos, GloriFi’s former head of human resources, described several employees at the Neugebaur mansion telling him to “make sure I leave around 6,” explaining that “after 5 p.m. Toby starts drinking and things in the house go downhill quickly.” Amos also described a meeting in which a visibly drunk Neubauer was “drinking Red Bull and putting alcohol in it”.