Despite the fall of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) in the United States, Europe needs a startup bank that can finance companies in the tech sector. That is what Mark van Kampen, sector specialist in the field of tech at Rabobank, says in BNR Digital. ‘We were quite dependent on the SVB, if you look at the counter there and the position in the ecosystem. You have to counter that in Europe.’
Van Kampen does see that setting up a European equivalent of SVB ‘may be much too late’. “But you have to think about that.” According to Van Kampen, the advantage would mainly be in the area of risk. ‘Only the sentiment is less now.’
SVB was known in the tech world as a generous lender for startups. These were mainly high-risk loans that SVB made, but these were often offset by a high interest rate. The bank eventually collapsed due to a classic bank run, because depositors no longer had confidence in the bank.
Despite the collapse of SVB, the Rabobank banker sees the benefit of a European version of SVB. ‘It must be an alternative in the order of magnitude of SVB, where tech companies can go. It doesn’t necessarily have to be one bank, but it can also be a consortium of banks.’
However, Van Kampen notes that current banks have little interest in tech investments because they want to keep their portfolio diverse. ‘We all believe that the tech sector contributes to the sustainability transition and the food transition. But financing the sector is always difficult, because they have a high risk due to the growth they are experiencing.’
In Europe, people are more risk-averse in this area, the banker sees. “It has always been that way until now. It would be nice if it was balanced a little more with a good risk attitude.’