Silicon Valley Bank opens in London

For an industry that complains of a lack of technical understanding in finance, the opening of the UK branch of Silicon Valley Bank in London today should provide some relief.

The first US bank to open a commercial banking branch in the UK in several years, Silicon Valley Bank is offering a full range of services to innovation businesses in the UK, including current and deposit accounts, loans, cash management services, trade finance and foreign exchange. It already works with technology, life science, cleantech, private equity and venture capital industries and is aiming to work with both UK and international companies.

It has specific expertise available in semiconductors, EDA and capital equipment as well as consumer electronics, having been involved in the early days of companies such as JDS Uniphase and KLA Tencor. It has been in the UK since 2004 through a subsidiary, and in 2010 picoChip in Bath took out a $9m loan with them.

“The opening of a Silicon Valley Bank branch in London signals a significant step in the evolution of the technology sector in the UK,” said Greg Becker, CEO and President of Silicon Valley Bank . “The UK branch opening is a key milestone for us and, more significantly, an example of how important high-growth technology, life science and cleantech businesses and their investors are to the global economy. Our clients are doing remarkable things. We are excited to be a part of their success and thrilled to be open for business in the UK.”

SVB has worked with some of the most successful and well-known technology brands in the world, including Cisco, Evernote, Mindspeed, Mozilla and Pinterest as well as some of the top investors in the sector including NEA, Sequoia Capital and Silver Lake. Over half the venture capital-backed technology and life science companies in the US work with the bank.

“Silicon Valley Bank’s offering is unique in the UK,” said Phil Cox, Head of UK, Israel and India for Silicon Valley Bank. “As a sector-focused organisation, we are highly specialised in our approach, fast-paced, and consider our deep expertise, dedication to the innovation space and unrivalled network of relationship contacts around the world to be clear differentiators. We have seen a marked shift in recent years in our chosen niche industries’ activity within the UK. The elements of an emerging and effective technology ecosystem are all around us: first class universities, an entrepreneurial and business ownership culture, investors, the emergence of technology clusters and the support for the sector within the UK government are all very positive indicators. Building on our credentials of supporting technology firms in the US, we are excited to be able to help the UK’s entrepreneurs meet and exceed their ambitious goals.”

The opening brought out the politicians. “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,” said George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer. “The knowledge, expertise and dedication that Silicon Valley Bank brings to the ecosystem is another important step toward our objective to make the UK the best place to start and grow the great technology companies of the future.”

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