Before it crashed, Silicon Valley Bank was known to many startups and venture firms as the place to park their money or take out a capital line. But for emerging managers, it was a lot more than just a financial institution.
Multiple emerging managers told TechCrunch+ that SVB was instrumental in helping them build their firms from the ground up. It also provided support to help them build networks and feel included in the venture ecosystem despite their size. After the bank’s collapse and the ensuing chaos, many were left wondering if the things they loved most about SVB would continue.
Unlike many of their banking competitors — other than equally venture-friendly First Republic Bank — SVB was designed to work with people in the venture community; it had options for smaller funds that other banks did not.
Nisha Desai, the CEO and managing general partner of Andav Capital, said that SVB was a natural choice for emerging managers like herself because it didn’t have the account minimums — or net worth requirements — that many other banks had. Those kinds of limits often restrict first-time funds. Plus, SVB offered capital lines to these small funds, which allowed them to start building their track records while they were still fundraising.
“They gave you some capital to go ahead and invest in companies out of your new funds,” Desai said. “That was helpful. Obviously it wasn’t extended to everybody, but that allowed newer managers to get off of the ground.”
But emerging managers said that while the back-end banking operations got them involved with SVB in the first place, its commitment to emerging managers is what made them want to continue the relationship.