Silicon Valley Bank has opened its first UK branch in London, providing commercial banking services to innovative technology companies and start-ups.
The American bank, which works with online scrapbook Pinterest and Cisco in the US, will provide services to the UK’s technology, cleantech, life science, private equity and venture capital industries. Its first customers in the UK include music recognition mobile app maker Shazam, visual effects software company The Foundry and email SaaS firm Mimecast.
Chancellor George Osborne welcomed the launch, seeing it as a sign of the UK “fast becoming the technology centre of Europe”.
“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,” he said.
Phil Cox, head of UK, Israel and India for Silicon Valley Bank, added that the company has seen a marked shift in recent years in the technology and innovation industries in 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.”
In the US, more than 50 percent of all venture capital-backed technology and life sciences companies work with Silicon Valley Bank, which was established in 1983.
By adding financial experts with experience in the technology industry into London’s innovation ecosystem, the new Silicon Valley Bank branch should help address a problem that was recently highlighted at the InnoTech Summit.
According to venture capitalist firm Pond Ventures, European entrepreneurs are looking for investment in places other than the UK because there aren’t enough ‘smart’ investors who would understand innovative technology businesses in the capital.