A US hi-tech investment bank with $20bn in assets has opened its first UK branch offering banking and loan services to the technology industry.
Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), a subsidiary of SVB Financial Group, is looking for UK customers in the technology, life science, private equity and venture capital sectors, according to the BBC.
Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) counts Cisco Systems, Mozilla and Pinterest among its US clients. Itt has lent hundreds of millions in the UK already and plans to increase this to billions very quickly by making loans of £300,000 to £30m to established firms looking to expand.
SVB claims over half of all venture capital-backed technology and life science companies bank with the group. In the US, it has made $7bn in loans.
The bank's move is regarded as an endorsement of the UK technology sector. Chancellor George Osborne said it proves the UK is fast becoming the technology centre of Europe.
Phil Cox, SVB's head of UK, Israel and India, told the BBC that existing retail banks are failing to serve smaller technology companies who may not have three years' worth of accounts yet or even any sales.
UK bank Cambridge & Counties estimates that 60,000 loan and overdraft applications worth £3bn were rejected by banks in the second half of 2011.
The bank, established to service small and medium-sized businesses, is owned jointly by Cambridgeshire Local Government Pension Fund and Cambridge University college, Trinity Hall.