SVB claims to have worked with lot of tech startups (and they do i believe), but does anyone here in this forum have first hand experience with SVB?.
Why should someone choose them over some other international bank?
Why should someone NOT choose them?
Silicon Valley Bank Bank Account
Yes, I've used them as my banker in one of my past businesses and now work with them on behalf of several clients who use their services. It depends on what you are looking for.
Strengths: Business banking security, international transactions, startup friendly offering fee free checking with no minimums for first year. They are hoping you get funded in the meantime. If you don't they may transition you to a small business account team after year one but fees are still only $25/mo. Client service executives are pretty accessible.
Weaknesses: Online banking interface is clunky, limited number of branches keeping 10a-3p hours (makes it tougher to deposit checks).
Depends: Offer client only networking forums and have pretty good connections with the key legal and VC firms in Silicon Valley which some find valuable and others not.
Net net: If you are a reasonably well funded scalable startup or a larger established business, they can be a good choice. If you are a bootstrap or lifestyle startup, you may be better off going with a commercial/consumer bank which tends to have better online banking and more branches and tend to be fee free.
They provide their own stock options management software. Though it's esoteric and a bit complex, it serves a function that other banks don't provide at all. I've heard good things about them from peers who have used them.
Your mileage may vary, but since I've been dealing with banks for a while now, here is how I look at this issue:
Best experience I had was with a small local bank back in Chicago. I had cell number to one of the SVPs. I could call at 9PM with an issue and had resolution at 9:30PM that night.
I changed banks for my personal banking needs a couple years ago. The reasons I changed banks, and the features I looked for were:
Basically, you need to determine the criteria that are important to you and choose a bank based on that. Don't go with a bank just because of their name, or even just because of their location.
My last company used them and they were pretty good. They are Silicon Valley centric, so if you are out of the valley, it might not make sense to use them.
Overall, I was impressed. They sometimes offer lines of credit for startups as well, depending on your business, etc.