This article in the W$J is weirdly funny. You see, Peter Thiel and some other Culture Warriors want to save the common clay of Possum Hollar from the evils of liberal… Wall Street Banks?!
An A-list group of financial backers including Ken Griffin and Peter Thiel gave Toby Neugebauer tens of millions of dollars to build a new kind of bank—one aimed at people who see Wall Street as too liberal .
The potential customer base was huge, Mr. Neugebauer and his business partner, former Mike Pence chief of staff Nick Ayers, told the investors. Plumbers, electricians and police officers, the pitch went, are fed up with big banks that don’t share their values.
The startup, called GloriFi, initially aimed to launch with bank accounts, credit cards, mortgages and insurance, while touting what it called pro-America values such as capitalism, family, law enforcement and the freedom to “celebrate your love of God and country.”
Within months, the investors’ money was nearly gone, and GloriFi was on the verge of bankruptcy. It missed launch dates, blaming faulty technology and failures by vendors, and laid off dozens of employees. It stumbled with products; for instance, a plan to make a credit card out of the same material used for shell casings failed when the company realized the material could interfere with security chips and potentially be too thick for payment terminals, according to people familiar with the matter.
God, they are all 9-year old boys. A credit card made from shell casings? Really?
Messrs. Neugebauer and Ayers began to canvass investors last year. The pair lacked much experience in banking or technology.
When has expertise in banking or technology helped an internet banking concern? You cannot tell them what to do, pencil-necked geeks!
Mr. Neugebauer, the son of a former Texas congressman, co-founded a private-equity firm that invested in oil-and-gas companies. Mr. Ayers was a longtime political operative.
They promised GloriFi would offer a range of services through a smartphone app that beat the technology of big banks, and planned to bring in customers through ads on Fox News and internet influencers.
Because the best credit risks are Fox News octogenarians at the Shady Rest eating soft food, and internet trolls.
An April 1, 2022, launch date was set, an ambitious timeline for a company in a highly regulated business requiring numerous licenses and a network of back-office systems.
Launch on April Fools Day. Got it. And speaking of internet trolls:
Candace Owens, a conservative commentator with millions of followers on social media, agreed to be a public face of the brand, and promoted it in a video appearance at a Conservative Political Action Conference event in August.
“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,” Ms. Owens said in an email to the Journal.
And what about the political trolls?
GloriFi’s political connections were apparent. Mr. Pence made a supportive appearance on an all-staff call. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott visited Mr. Neugebauer’s home. Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz shared a video sponsored by GloriFi on the Fourth of July on Twitter. Mr. Neugebauer, who says he is a libertarian, donated $10 million to a super PAC backing Mr. Cruz’s 2016 presidential bid.
But, like most banks, it was a well-oiled machine, right? I mean for a machine parked at the founder’s Dallas mansion:
But staffers began complaining about what they said were Mr. Neugebauer’s volatile behavior and drinking habits, according to people familiar with the matter and a memo from Britt Amos, GloriFi’s former head of human resources, reviewed by the Journal. Ms. Amos left in the spring after clashing with Mr. Neugebauer, and she recounted issues she saw as problems in the memo.
“Several people working at the mansion told me to make sure I leave around six,” Ms. Amos wrote in the memo. “When I inquired why, they stated that after 5 p.m. Toby starts drinking and things at the house deteriorate quickly.”
GloriFi’s current head of human resources said there have been no employee complaints since June.
Staffers at software company Unqork Inc., which was helping build GloriFi’s insurance product, attended an April video call where a GloriFi senior manager “launched into a rude and aggressive tirade” at Unqork’s team and his own GloriFi team, according to a partially redacted lawsuit the vendor filed in New York in September against GloriFi alleging a breach of its contract.
Unqork argued in the suit that GloriFi stopped making payments even though the vendor lived up to its obligations despite internal dysfunction at the startup, and that delays in the product were caused by GloriFi’s failure to meet its own deadlines.
After appearing to leave the call, the senior manager later returned on camera “in a state of undress, on a bed with a companion who was similarly in a state of undress,” the lawsuit alleged. The senior manager isn’t named in the suit.
“No said incident or allegation was ever shared with HR or leadership,” Mr. Neugebauer said.
So they all get along fine, like all Republicans, right?
Mr. Ayers and some other GloriFi investors wanted Mr. Neugebauer, who had voting control of the company, to step aside as CEO, according to people familiar with the matter, and pushed for it from late 2021 through this spring. The company’s big-name backers, including Mr. Thiel’s Founders Fund and Mr. Griffin, declined to give the company more money.
Mr. Neugebauer told investors around this time that the company would have to file for bankruptcy. He proposed transferring assets, including technology contracts, from GloriFi to another entity under his control, according to emails among GloriFi executives, board members and attorneys. The transfer didn’t take place at that time.
Mr. Neugebauer said he became convinced that Mr. Ayers and the investors wanted to take GloriFi, and he pushed to remove Mr. Ayers from the board. GloriFi said Mr. Ayers was removed on April 5.
Ah, good. The mutiny and paranoia have already started. But wait! There’s more!
Around this time, one of GloriFi’s investors, Vivek Ramaswamy, was working to launch his own financial-services firm. Strive Asset Management would offer investors an alternative to firms such as BlackRock Inc., which has pushed companies to improve diversity and cut their climate emissions, among other changes. Strive, instead, would push companies to focus on making money, not taking stands on social or political issues.
Mr. Neugebauer said he was furious and was convinced that Mr. Ramaswamy, who wrote the book “Woke, Inc.,” had stolen his idea. Mr. Neugebauer said he had even invested in Strive, thinking it was a conservative beer startup.
And the article does go on and on. I will never understand why Republicans think that they can create a parallel world with only alpha white men. It always ends like this.