Silicon Valley Bank opens London branch to support UK tech cluster

Chancellor George Osborne hails arrival of America’s leading commercial bank for the innovation sector


Silicon Valley Bank has today opened a branch in London to support the UK’s growing technology cluster.

Chancellor George Osborne welcomed the long-awaited official arrival of America’s leading technology-focused commercial bank which will provide businesses in the sector, as well as life sciences, cleantech, and the venture capital sectors, with a full-service banking branch.

“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 Osborne, who added that it represents “another important step toward our objective to make the UK the best place to start and grow the great technology companies of the future”.

Companies from both the UK and overseas will be able to access current and deposit accounts, loans, cash management services, trade finance and foreign exchange. Its in-depth knowledge and understanding of ‘bleeding edge’ technology and flexible finance solutions have proved popular in the US for three decades already.

In the US, the bank has earned a reputation for being the banking partner for a host of major Silicon Valley start-ups as well as the venture capital backers of the technology sector, such as Sequoia Capital and Silver Lake. It claims to work with more than 50% of all venture capital-backed technology and life science companies.

The bank, through its affiliate SVB Financial Group UK Limited – which has operated in the UK for eight years – already provides financial products to some of the fastest growing UK-based technology companies, including mobile music service Shazam and visual effects software house The Foundry. It has also been the bank of choice for major venture capital firms operating in the UK, such as Balderton Capital and Index Ventures.

Greg Becker, CEO and president of Silicon Valley Bank, cited strong government support for technology and innovation in the UK as a key factor in its decision to open a London branch. It is significant that David Cameron name-checked the bank and its interest in the UK in his Conservative Party Conference speech last Autumn.

“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,” said Becker.

Head of UK, Israel and India for Silicon Valley Bank Phil Cox concurred and highlighted the growth of the UK’s innovation ecosystem. “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,” he said.

Gaining banking status in the UK follows SVB Financial Group’s – Silicon Valley Bank’s parent company – global expansion. It already has offices in India, Israel, the UK, and China and in its fiscal year 2011 the bank achieved record results for loans and deposit balances, net income and earnings per share.

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