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June 14, 2012

US tech bank opens UK office

Silicon Valley Bank wants to be part of growing UK tech scene

By Steve Evans

A US bank that targets high-tech companies has opened its first office in the UK. Silicon Valley Bank offers banking and loan services to technology, life sciences, private equity and venture capital firms.

Its customers include some of the biggest names in technology, including Cisco, fast-growing social network site Pinterest and Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox web browser. VCs it works with include Sequoia Capital and Silver Lake. In fact, the company claims it works with more than 50% of all venture capital-backed technology and life science companies in the US.

It also supports UK companies like name-that-song app Shazam and special effects firm The Foundry.

Greg Becker, CEO and President of Silicon Valley Bank, said the decision to open a UK branch shows the importance of the technology sector here.

"The opening of a Silicon Valley Bank branch in London signals a significant step in the evolution of the technology sector in the UK at a time when there is strong government support for a thriving community of local innovation businesses," he said.

His comments were echoed by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. "The news that Silicon Valley Bank is launching a full banking service in London is yet more proof that the UK is fast becoming the technology centre of Europe," he said.

"The knowledge, expertise and dedication that Silicon Valley Bank brings to the ecosystem is another important step toward our objective to make the UK the best place to start and grow the great technology companies of the future," Osborne added.

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Phil Cox, who will head up the UK branch, said: "The elements of an emerging and effective technology ecosystem are all around us: first class universities, an entrepreneurial and business ownership culture, investors, the emergence of technology clusters and the support for the sector within the UK government are all very positive indicators."

Silicon Valley Bank also operates branches in the US as well as China, India and Israel.

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