Self-proclaimed "Anti-woke" bank bombs

The Wall Street Journal just published an in-depth piece about GloriFi, a Peter Thiel-backed banking startup aimed at those who think that Wall Street is too woke and liberal.

You might want to go back and re-read that sentence, just so you know you didn't imagine it.

From the Journal:

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.

GloriFi squandered away tens of millions of dollars in a matter of months, yet somehow was still valued at around $1.7B during a recent potential merger acquisition. Why should capitalist economics get in the way of your capitalist economics?

I don't necessarily know if I'd advise reading this Wall Street Journal article, as I did. It's frankly hard to wrap your head around what, exactly, these people were trying to accomplish, and how they failed so badly at it. But it is a fascinating look at just how much stupid money is out there being spent by ridiculous people — all because they're mad that some banks have tried to greenwash their images by offering environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investment opportunities.

How a New Anti-Woke Bank Stumbled [Rachel Louise Ensign, Peter Rudegeair, and AnnaMaria Andriotis / Wall Street Journal]

Image: Chris Tyler / Flickr (CC-BY-SA 2.0)