It is all about trust (and cash)

On March 10th, 2000 the Nasdaq peaked at the top of the bubble. Twenty-three years later to the day Silicon Valley Bank was taken over by the U.S. government (through the FDIC) as they were hit by a bank run and didn’t have the cash to pay customers withdrawing their capital.

Silicon Valley Bank is a large, integrated part of Silicon Valley and the larger venture capital financed startup world. Exactly how this will play over the weekend and next few weeks is difficult to predict. But it will likely mean, at minimum, delayed salary payments as well as some companies having liquidity issues unless they get to access all or most of their cash.

Apparently Silicon Valley Bank UK, which is the base for European operations, is ring-fenced from the US entity, so it should be able to continue to operate.

The unexpected Swedish connection is that pension firm Alecta was the fourth largest shareholder, and the largest active owner behind three index funds, of SVB. With the FDIC taking SVB into receivership, Alecta is likely to lose its entire investment.

Author: Henrik Torstensson

Partner at Alliance VC. Investing in Nordic early-stage tech startups.

Leave a Reply