European startups get a shot in the arm this week with the launch of Silicon Valley Bank in London today. Known for its understanding of the tech space, SVB will target the technology and life science sectors.
It will make loans of between £300,000 and £30 million to tech companies looking to expand. Shazam and The Foundry are already UK clients.
In the US, where it has made $7bn in loans, clients include Cisco Systems, Mozilla and Pinterest. It also as acts as a bank for investors including NEA, Sequoia Capital and Silver Lake. In the UK the bank is working with Index Ventures and Balderton Capital among others.
The problem with existing retail banks is that they rarely serve smaller tech companies which are unlikely to have three years worth of accounts yet or any sales when they start up. SVB aims to bridge that gap.
Phil Cox, Head of UK, Israel and India for Silicon Valley Bank, said: “We have seen a marked shift in recent years in our chosen niche industries’ activity within the UK.” He said the elements of an emerging and effective technology ecosystem were strongly emerging in the UK.
Commenting on the launch, George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer today said: “The news that Silicon Valley Bank is launching a full banking service in London is yet more proof that the UK is fast becoming the technology centre of Europe.”
The new UK branch of SVB is at 41 Lothbury in the City of London.