'A seismic shock': Experts say tech startups face ruin over Silicon Valley Bank collapse

ByAnser Hassan KGO logo
Sunday, March 12, 2023
Experts say tech startups face ruin over Silicon Valley Bank collapse
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There is growing concern from U.S. tech and finance sectors, calling on the federal government to work out a solution for Silicon Valley Bank's fall.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KGO) -- There is a growing chorus of concern from the U.S. tech and finance sectors, calling on the federal government to work out a solution for the failed Silicon Valley Bank, and to protect uninsured deposits.

Mahmood Panjwani, Chairman of Infinisim, says his company, which provides electronic design automation software for the chip industry, can't make payroll.

"Turns out, all of our deposits, all of our cash was with (Silicon Valley Bank). We have no other recourse. There is no payroll for Monday," Panjwani said.

Panjwani says even before this company, he has been working with Silicon Valley Bank since the 1980s.

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Here's what we know about Silicon Valley Bank's downfall, and what might come next.

"The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is only guarantying $250,000. We have billions!" Panjwani said. "How are we supposed to handle this? We are going to be just shut down if this is not resolved."

Silicon Valley Bank has been funding Silicon Valley innovation for decades. With a total valuation of more than $200 billion, the bank collapsed on Friday after running out of money from huge losses in its bond portfolio and with venture capital drying up.

But Panjwani warns, the bank's demise will have a ripple effect across the entire U.S. economy and put the nation's competitive advantage at risk.

"I don't want to name specific countries, but boy, oh boy. If we don't fix this right now, we will have given our competitors overseas a gift by stopping us right now," Panjwani said.

RELATED: Silicon Valley Bank shutdown rattles Bay Area start-up owners, tech industry

The Silicon Valley Bank shutdown has rattled Bay Area start-up owners and the tech industry, leaving many customers concerned about their deposits.

Cory Johnson is the host of the Drill Down podcast and managing member of Epistrophy Capital.

"This is a seismic shock into the Bay Area economy," Johnson said. "If all these companies are limited to deposit insurance of $250,000, you are going to see a collapse of a generation of startups here in Silicon Valley."

Johnson says the FDIC has tremendous powers to come up with emergency solutions. He says the FDIC is actively trying to sell pieces of bank's businesses and other assets this weekend, hoping to generate liquidity, so companies can get their deposits out. But Johnson adds, the FDIC has to tread carefully.

"I think it's hard to get a national consensus on rescuing Silicon Valley and Californians. The East Coast media is blaming technology on crypto. People in the middle of the country are mad at the wealth they perceive, that Californians took all this risk with their Silicon Valley Bank," Johnson said.

VIDEO: Bay Area customers concerned about deposits after Silicon Valley Bank collapse

Its failure marks the largest shutdown of a US bank since 2008, when Washington Mutual fell during the financial crisis.

However, he says there is still the potential of an even greater risk if the contagion spreads to other regional or smaller banks, come Monday.

"I trust that Governor (Gavin) Newsom, and that (Treasury Secretary) Janet Yellen, and the FDIC and the White House, can recognize what a big problem this could be, and step in with the right solutions," says Johnson. "This is a big bank. It's a big failure. And it's a big problem. But the solution is going to have to be clever and it's going to have to be fast."

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