Raising Finance

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Silicon Valley Bank comes to London

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Funding options for a thriving mid-sized business aiming to grow further have been a talking point on Real Business these past months. Today another option joined the list, as Silicon Valley Bank opened its first full service banking branch in London.

Silicon Valley Bank has boomed over the past few years, spreading first all across the US, then internationally to Israel, India, China and the UK. At first sight it seems like any other banking institution, offering the usual current and deposit accounts, loans, cash management services, trade finance and foreign exchange. Its specific focus on the technology sector, however, and on supporting businesses through growth stage makes Silicon Valley Bank an interesting alternative for high-growth businesses in the UK.

Since its launch the bank has turned itself into a great part of the innovation ecosystem. In the US, more than 50% of all venture capital-backed technology and life science companies work with Silicon Valley Bank. Their first London branch was opened with the ambition to disrupt the funding environment of a nation dominated by a handful of major banks. They are the first US bank to open a commercial banking branch in the UK in several years.

“Anyone launching in the UK without being different would be a waste of time,” Phil Cox, Head of UK, Europe and Israel for Silicon Valley Bank, told Real Business. “We have an extraordinarily good knowledge of the global market in which we operate and give advice at different levels than a universal bank could. Our global contacts, particularly in California, are incredible.”

Silicon Valley Bank focuses on a very particular sweetspot: the middle. Although they work with companies at levels from startup to corporate, they’ve positioned themselves in a bank lending niche of high-growth technology businesses, ready to grow and expand, who will profit from the bank’s international network.

Silicon Valley Bank has had a presence in the UK since 2004 through its affiliate SVB Financial Group UK Limited. They have worked with The Foundry, Shazam, Icera, Mimecast and Adconion, among others.

“We have seen a marked shift in recent years in our chosen niche industries’ activity within the UK,” said Phil Cox. “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.”

We will be talking more about how to source the most effective money as a high-growth, mid-sized business at the Entrepreneurs’ Summit on Wednesday. Whatever sector your business is in, join us for the The Finance Challenge panel for an introduction to all your funding options.

The Finance Challenge is just one session at the 2012 Investec Entrepreneurs’ Summit, supported by the CBI, Land Rover and Spring Law, on June 13 at the London InterContinental, Park Lane. This will be the most high-density gathering of high-growth businesses in the UK this year.

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