Ace VC Says Not Tech But Banking Was Behind The Demise Of Silicon Valley Bank

According to a leading venture capitalist, the failure of Silicon Valley Bank was caused by a crisis in banking rather than technology.

Anne Glover, CEO and co-founder of Amadeus Capital, claimed on Friday that Silicon Valley Bank and its management’s “utterly irresponsible” actions, including collecting short-term deposits from venture capitalists and investing them in long-maturity debt, were to blame for the SVB disaster.

“It is a banking one-on-one failure, unbelievably irresponsible frankly by the senior management of SVB in California,” said Glover, speaking at a tech investor showcase in east London. A spokesperson for SVB declined to comment when contacted by CNBC.

After a spate of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists withdrew their money in large amounts due to concerns over SVB’s financial stability, SVB was shut down and taken over by the U.S. government.

The company had previously attempted to raise $2.25 billion in cash to close a $1.8 billion shortfall in its balance sheet brought on by the loss-making issue of bonds worth $21 billion. The bank was a key supporter of the tech sector, providing finance for businesses that were frequently turned down by conventional banks.

“They took cash deposits from VCs and hedge funds and put them into first-year mortgage bonds that fell in value when the interest rates went up,” Glover added.

“They didn’t hedge the interest rate. This is really basic banking, it’s nothing to do with the tech community. The tech community was impacted.”

In a deal supported by the government and Bank of England that preserved £6.7 billion ($8.3 billion) in deposits, SVB’s U.K. business was sold to British bank HSBC for £1.

Non-executive director Glover claimed the Bank of England “did a phenomenal job in delivering a resolution that was satisfactory to the U.K., much better than the U.S. did.” Glover is a member of the Bank of England’s board.

A spike in interest rates that increased the cost of debt has put banks in general under a great deal of stress. Banks are now more profitable when they lend money, but they also have government bonds on their balance sheets. These assets lose value when interest rates increase.

The most notable failure in the industry to date is Credit Suisse. In a purchase negotiated at a discount and orchestrated by the Swiss government, the rival lender UBS saved the Swiss banking powerhouse.

Glover, a well-known tech investor, joined Amadeus after serving on the investment team at Apax Partners & Company Ventures. Hermann Hauser, who was key in the creation of the first Arm processor, and she co-founded Amadeus in 1997.

(Adapted from


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