VCs describe a big mess as Silicon Valley Bank’s troubles spark industry-wide panic

March 10, 2023, 11:47 AM UTC
Founders are pulling cash from Silicon Valley Bank as fear of a bank run has spread.
Lauren Justice—Bloomberg/Getty Images

The thing about a bank run is that it doesn’t really matter if a financial institution’s books are strong or not. What matters is what customers believe about their books. 

There’s a lot of mud being thrown around at SVB, such as whether its securities investment exposure was too high and whether its communication about rebalancing its assets was too thin.

For its part, SVB claims it is sitting on around $180 billion in liquid assets, and it is telling venture investors it is “well-capitalized.”

None of that really matters if SVB customers aren’t convinced. And by the looks of the last 24 hours, founders and venture capitalists may not be so sure. Consequently, SVB has a pretty harrowing task ahead of it this weekend: Convince its 50% share of the startup industry, as well as its slew of venture and private equity fund customers and entrepreneurs it banks, to sit tight and trust that this isn’t going to be 2008 all over again. 

That might be a tall order. As we, Anne Sraders, Jessica Mathews, and Kylie Robison, reported, the last 48 hours have been a mess: 

Silicon Valley Bank—one of the most prolific lenders and banking institutions in the private market ecosystem—announced [on Wednesday] that it was selling off securities and seeking to raise billions in a public share sale to cover steep losses on its balance sheet. Shares of Silicon Valley Bank crashed by roughly 60% in regular trading on Thursday, while the bank’s tech clients scrambled to figure out whether to withdraw their deposits, sparking concerns of an old-fashioned bank run.

Six venture capital investors spoke with Fortune, most of whom say they spent all of Thursday on the phone with founders, reassuring them, sifting through legal agreements, or advising them on where to park their money. 

“I’ve easily spoken to 70 of them today,” one venture investor, who asked to remain anonymous, told Fortune. “It’s a massive f***ing shit show. Silicon Valley Bank is like a top 20 bank. It’s the leader of tech banking, so I don’t know how this lands, but it doesn’t smell good right now and there’s a lot of panic.”

Another VC who was at an investor conference on Thursday said that “all the VCs phones are going off the hook.” The investor said that their portfolio company founders are pulling out money and that their advice is to put “6-12 months cash burn somewhere else safer” in case the bank goes insolvent. 

Amid the havoc, competitors are hunting for scraps. Corporate card fintech Brex tweeted Thursday that “For founders concerned with the stability of their banking provider, we are working to fast track new @BrexHQ Business Account applications.” Meanwhile, JPMorgan reportedly tried to convince some SVB customers to move their funds over. 

One founder told us that they were pulling money out of SVB, and planned to take more out today, although they reported issues logging into the bank’s website on Thursday. But some VCs told us that worries about how dire SVB’s balance sheet is are overblown, though as one remarked, “once you say, ‘please don’t panic,’ you’ve lost the plot.”

SVB is working on the transaction it announced earlier this week: selling $1.3 billion in common stock, plus a $500 million stock sale to PE firm General Atlantic in what it says will help the bank take advantage of higher short-term interest rates, lock in funding costs, and enhance profitability.

Meanwhile, some venture investors speculate a different future for the company: that it might get bought by a JPMorgan or a Bank of America. “I don’t believe this will be an independent company by next week,” one VC predicted. 

You can read our full story–with lots of analysis and insights—here

Have a great weekend,

Anne Sraders and Jessica Mathews
Email: and
Submit a deal for the Term Sheet newsletter here.

Jackson Fordyce curated the deals section of today’s newsletter.


- QurAlis Corporation, a Cambridge, Mass.-based medicine developer for ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases, raised $88 million in Series B funding. EQT Life Sciences led the round and was joined by LSP Dementia Fund, Sanofi Ventures, Droia Ventures, the ALS Investment Fund, LS Polaris Innovation Fund, and others. 

- Ring Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Mass.-based gene therapy life sciences company, raised $86.5 million in Series C funding. Alexandria Venture Investments, Altitude Life Science Ventures, CJ Investment, and others invested in the round. 

- Envisics, a Milton Keynes, U.K.-based holographic technology company, raised $50 million in Series C funding. Hyundai Mobis led the round and was joined by InMotion Ventures and Stellantis

- Masttro, a New York-based wealth tech company, raised $43 million in funding. FTV Capital led the round and was joined by Citi Ventures

- Fynn, a New York-based private student loans provider, raised $36 million in funding co-led by Y Combinator, Susa Ventures, Village Global, Tenacity Venture Capital, and Watchfire Ventures.

- Matchday, a Barcelona and San Francisco-based soccer gaming company, raised $21 million in seed funding. Play Time, Courtside Ventures, Greylock, HackVC, Capricorn Investment Group, and Horizons Ventures invested in the round.

- Proven, a New York-based zero-knowledge proof of solvency solution for crypto firms, raised $15.8 million in seed funding. Framework Ventures, Balaji Srinivasan, Roger Chen, and Ada Yeo invested in the round.

- Violet, a Berlin-based privacy-protective compliance and identity infrastructure provider for decentralized finance, raised $15 million in funding. BlueYard Capital, Balderton, Ethereal Ventures, FinTech Collective, Brevan Howard, Coinbase Ventures, and others. 

- MentorShow, a Paris-based online learning and training platform, raised $11 million in funding. Educapital, Crédit Mutuel Innovation, Left Lane Capital, and others invested in the round.

- Zenhub, a Vancouver-based project management provider for software teams, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Yaletown Partners led the round and was joined by BMO Capital Partners and BDC Capital.

- BACH, a Philadelphia-based planning app and online marketplace for group travel experiences, raised $9 million in funding. Pritzker Group Venture Capital led the round and was joined by Corazon Capital, Freestyle VC, Oversubscribed Ventures, and others. 

- Cubist, a Pittsburgh- and San Diego-based Web3 developer tools provider, raised $7 million in seed funding. Polychain Capital led the round and was joined by dao5, Amplify Partners, Polygon, Blizzard, Axelar, and others.

- Wildxyz, a San Francisco-based experiential art platform for artists and collectors, raised $7 million in seed funding round led by Matrix Partners.

- Monnai, a San Francisco-based consumer insights infrastructure provider for financial institutions, raised $6.5 million in Series A funding. Tiger Global led the round and was joined by Better Tomorrow Ventures, 500 Global, and Emphasis Ventures

- Wheel the World, a San Francisco-based online travel booking company for people with disabilities, seniors, and their families, raised $6 million in pre-Series A funding. Kayak Ventures led the round and was joined by Detroit Venture Partners, REI Co-op Path Ahead Ventures, former CEO Gillian Tans, Dadneo, CLIN Fund, Amarena, and WeBoost.

- Aeqium, a San Francisco-based automated total compensation management platform, raised $5.8 million in seed funding from Vestigo Ventures and Ridge Ventures.

- Iron Health, a New York-based health care platform for women, raised $4.5 million in seed funding from March of Dimes and others.

- RenewWest, a Denver-based environmental asset developer, raised $3.2 million in seed funding. Aspiration and One Small Planet co-led the round and were joined by Clear Sky Advisors

- OthersideAI, a New York-based developer of writing assistant HyperWrite, raised $2.8 million in funding. Cortical Ventures and Active Capital co-led the round and were joined by Madrona and other angels. 


- Aetos Capital acquired WestWater Research, a Boise-based water-focused consulting firm. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- ARCHIMED acquired WiQo, a Muggia, Italy-based consumer health company. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- Carrick Capital Partners acquired a majority stake in LegalSifter, a Pittsburgh-based pre- and post-signature contracts-related software and managed services provider. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- RMA Companies, an OceanSound Partners portfolio company, acquired PRI Group, a Munster, Ind.- and Tampa-based testing, product development, validation, and certification services provider to the asphalt, transportation, and building materials end-markets. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Salt Creek Capital acquired Versa Gripps, a Sorrento, Maine-based weightlifting accessories manufacturer. Financial terms were not disclosed.


- Informa agreed to acquire Tarsus, a London-based B2B events and media company. The deal is valued at $940 million including debt. 

- 1WorldSync acquired Webáta, a Rogers, Ark.-based e-commerce technology and analytics company. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- ActiveFence acquired Rewire, a London-based online safety platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Cygna Labs agreed to acquire the Exton, Pa,-based DDI business unit of Nokia. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- ETC Group acquired Amadys, an Antwerp, Belgium-based end-to-end connectivity solutions provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Orion Innovation acquired Banktech Software Services, a London-based banking implementation company for financial institutions. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Quantive acquired AuxinOKR, a Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K.-based consulting firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.


- Yaletown Partners, a Vancouver-based investment firm, raised $200 million for a fund focused on investing in industry modernization tech companies.


- Prysm Capital, a New York-, Princeton, N.J.-, and San Francisco-based investment firm, promoted Lauren Moffatt to partner.

This is the web version of Term Sheet, a daily newsletter on the biggest deals and dealmakers. Sign up to get it delivered free to your inbox.

Read More

CEO DailyCFO DailyBroadsheetData SheetTerm Sheet