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Silicon Valley Bank lures Brit startups with sacks of cash

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US tech-loving bank Silicon Valley has opened its first branch in the UK to offer cash and services to Britain’s IT startups.

Silicon Valley Bank has $20bn in assets and will be targeting the tech, life science, private equity and venture capital industries in the UK.

Chancellor George Osborne reckoned the bank’s move was “yet more proof that the UK is 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 in a canned statement.

Silicon Valley Bank has been knocking around the UK since 2004 through its SVB Financial Group, so it already counts tech firms The Foundry, Shazam and Mimecast among its customers. Now that the bank has a branch in London, it will be working with venture firms including Index Ventures and Balderton Capital.

SVB has 27 offices in the US and six other international operations in China, India and Israel, all offering loans and banking services. Its US customers have included Cisco, Evernote, Mozilla and Pinterest and claims to be working with "more than 50 per cent of all venture capital-backed technology and life science companies" in the United States.

The bank has carved out a niche for itself by offering loans and services to startups, which don’t usually have the sort of financial records a traditional bank looks for.

“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,” said Phil Cox, the bank’s head of UK, Israel and India. ®

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