SVB Financial Group, a.k.a. Silicon Valley Bank, on Thursday, was desperately reassuring its venture capital clients that their money was safe after its stock dropped 60% and more than $80 billion in value in bank shares evaporated. The run on the bank followed a capital raise––also desperate––intended to pay for a lost $1.8 billion, the result of the sale of a $21 billion portfolio of US Treasuries.
SVB presents itself as “the financial partner of the innovation economy, helping individuals, investors and the world’s most innovative companies achieve their ambitious goals.” It’s believed that some of those innovative startups received financing from SVB at very comfortable interest rates, back in the days of zero interest, but also more recently. But the recent dwindling investments in hi-tech companies caused many of them to fall behind on their repayments. And it all came to a head on Wednesday.
SVB has an Israeli branch, managed by David Cohen and Gadi Moshe, and serves an estimated 500 Israeli companies, including giants such as eToro, Redis, Verbit, Fireblocks, and Capitolis. According to reports, companies that tried to take their money out of SVB were refused.
Now for the karma portion of our report: according to Bizportal, several Israeli hi-tech companies that wanted to protest the Israeli government’s judicial reform legislation took their money out of Israeli banks this past month and moved it to… SVB.
SVB CEO Greg Becker said on Thursday: “I ask everyone to relax and support us as we supported you in difficult times.”
And you thought bankers didn’t have a sense of humor.