Bank Hygiene for Startups

The last 72 hours has been a whirlwind in startupland. With the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), the largest financial institution for startups is no more. SVB worked with half the VC-backed companies in the United States, and according to PitchBook, there are 130,000 such businesses. That’s right, an astounding 65,000 startups are SVB customers. As of Friday morning, the first $250,000 of demand deposits are guaranteed and monies in excess of that are dependent on winding down the bank and not guaranteed. Current rumors range from 50% of deposits will be made available on Monday to takeover by a bigger bank with minimal disruption to deposits. Yet, nothing above the first $250,000 is guaranteed.

Startups that bank with SVB will have a long weekend waiting to see what ultimately is shared on Monday. My guess is that startups will get all their deposits back, but it might take some time to do so depending on whether or not the government steps in.

Now, regardless of being venture backed or an SVB customer, there are a few bank hygiene takeaways for startups:

  • Two Bank Relationships – Treasury management is clearly mission critical to the business. By having standard bank accounts with two different banks, a backup is ready to go in case the primary bank struggles. In addition, it’s valuable to negotiate better rates and terms whereby the banks compete against each other. Just like having geographically independent data centers to host your app for redundancy, do the same (Read more...)