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Some VCs Advising Founders To Take Their Money Out Of Silicon Valley Bank
signs of a bank run where a significant number of startups hold their money
While some are still exercising caution, several prominent venture capitalists have told Pirate Wires they’ve advised founders to take their money out of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB).
“We are telling people to take their money out,” one VC told us. Another said “There’s a famous saying ‘Don’t panic, but if you’re gonna panic, better to panic first.’”
Several startup founders have told us they’ve removed their money from the SVB.
Union Square Ventures, a major VC firm, sent an email to founders today that said they had expected a crisis at SVB, and referred to advice they had given earlier in the year that companies “should only keep minimal funds in cash accounts” at the bank, one founder told us. “Do NOT accept any offers from SVB to keep your money there even if they dangle 5% interest rates in front of you,” the email said.
An investor in Meow, a firm that holds treasuries for its clients, told us that some startup founders are putting money they took out of SVB into Meow. “I've seen [over] $500m flow in so far today. Better meow and solvent then respectable and insolvent."
On a call between SVB and some of its VC clients today, SVB repeatedly urged VCs to “stay calm and not to panic,” our sources told us.
“[They] clearly insinuated that the only way this gets out of hand is if everyone panics at the same time.”
Today’s SVB news is on the heels of a 53 percent drop in the bank’s stock price. After the bank took a $1.8 billion loss on a $21 billion firesale of one of its bond portfolios, it plans to sell $2.3 billion in its own shares to cover the losses. At a third of the company’s market cap, 2.3 billion would heavily dilute the value of existing shares.
Investors see selling shares to cover investment losses as a red flag, and the bank’s moves today have the appearance of scrambling for liquidity.