Thursday 26 April 2018

Silicon Valley Bank has $100m for Irish techies

Tom Lyons

Silicon Valley Bank, the Californian tech-to-life-sciences lender, says $100m is the "minimum" it will lend in Ireland over the next five years.

Phil Cox head of SVB Ireland, UK, Israel and India said the bank could lend much more to Irish firms as it had $20bn on its balance sheet with a loan book of just $7bn.

"We have a very strong capacity to increase lending. We would like to do more but it will be based on opportunity. We'd say $100m is our minimum aspiration," Cox said.

"We want to put someone permanently on the ground in Ireland," he added.

Silicon Valley Bank, which last week announced its plans to target Ireland, has already been lending from its London office to Dublin-based Newbay (which was sold for $100m to smartphone maker Research in Motion in 2011), and also to Openet (which recently closed a €17m new funding round).

"We've been reactive to Ireland to date," Cox said. "Now we are going to be proactive. We're going to target companies we want to work with."

Cox described Irish firms planning to scale up working with Enterprise Ireland as its "bullseye" target.

"Unlike traditional banks, we are prepared to lend to companies that are scaling up and who are still losing money or burning cash," he said.

About 50 per cent of all venture capital-backed tech and life science companies in America do business with SVB. Cox said SVB's initial focus in Ireland would be on tech but it would also look at lending to Irish medical device and biotech companies.

Sunday Indo Business

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