The bank for some of America's most successful tech companies is looking to take advantage of the U.K.'s thriving start-up community.
Silicon Valley Bank CEO and president Greg Becker.
Silicon Valley Bank has crossed the pond.
The commercial bank--whose clients include Evernote and Pinterest--opened a London branch on Monday as part of the bank's initiative to have a greater global presence.
Greg Becker, CEO and president of SVB, says the branch was launched due to the significant number of innovative technology companies that have emerged in the U.K. and Europe in recent years. "The entrepreneurial activity is picking up here," Becker tells Inc.
Becker adds that the recent struggles of banks both in the U.S. and internationally has provided his bank with the opportunity to enter foreign markets. "People are looking for an alternative, and if you can combine that with the uptick in the innovation sector in the U.K., it's the perfect time [for SVB]," he says.
The full-service commercial banking branch is the first U.S. bank to open in the U.K. in several years, SVB says.
And SVB is looking beyond Europe. Later this year, SVB is expected to open the first joint venture bank in China since 1997, with Shanghai Pudong Development Bank.
The news of a China-based bank comes on the heels of recent reports about China being less conducive to entrepreneurship than the country's recent economic trends might indicate.
"For us, it's one of the main reasons we decided to partner in going into the market as opposed to try to go alone," Becker says. "There's no guarantee, but we believe we've set up the right relationships to give us a high probability of success in that market."
According to the SVB press release, 50% of the venture capital-backed tech firms in the U.S. bank with SVB. In addition to serving some of the most successful tech companies in the U.S., SVB has also provided banking services to renowned venture capital firms Sequoia Capital and NEA among others.
JOHN MCDERMOTT is a business and culture reporter whose work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune and Playboy and on AOL.com. He recently moved from Chicago to Brooklyn, New York, to work for Inc.com. @J_M_McDermott