Any experiences with Silicon Valley Bank?


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

asked Dec 16 '10 at 08:58
151 points

5 Answers


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.

answered Dec 17 '10 at 09:31
696 points


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.

answered Dec 17 '10 at 01:19
Henry The Hengineer
4,316 points


Your mileage may vary, but since I've been dealing with banks for a while now, here is how I look at this issue:

  1. I would pick a local bank with an ATM right next to the office or at least free (or comped) remote check deposit capability. Dealing with any kind of branch is a waste of time. My hours are 24X7. I am not dragging my behind with a stack of checks to the other side of town at 11PM.
  2. Unless I know you, as my rep, have decision making power, my connection to you is worthless. Most SVB people I know in Boston have no decision making power, since the ones with it are only in CA. Hence why I always pick a local solid bank. I want you to know my name when you pass me on the street. I want you to know what my transactions look like, what are patterns of our business, and notice anything out of ordinary. If you don't have the right permission levels, you will not be able to do that.
  3. Anyone claiming there is any benefit from them having these VC, investor, etc. connections for you is absolute baloney. Bankers have very little weight with at least investors I have spoken with or know.
  4. If the web interface and reporting functionality is not top notch - that bank is not for you. You don't want to be yelling at the screen Saturday night at 11PM, since you can't get the report to reconcile your QB.
  5. I don't like working with Citi, BofA, or any other large bank. Their bureaucracy is idiotic and so are the fees.

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.

answered Jan 17 '12 at 06:11
Apollo Sinkevicius
3,323 points
  • +1 - best advice on this subject I have seen. – Tim J 12 years ago


I changed banks for my personal banking needs a couple years ago. The reasons I changed banks, and the features I looked for were:

  • ATM availability (old bank had lots of local ATMs; new bank refunds all ATM fees)
  • Interest rates (old bank had terrible interest rates; new bank is at or near the top with their interest rates)
  • Web interface (old bank had minimally functional, dated web interface; new bank focuses on their online presence)
  • Reputation (old bank had a reputation for being cruel to customers; new bank has a reputation of excellent customer service)

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.

answered Jan 17 '12 at 09:10
575 points


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.

answered Dec 16 '10 at 23:55
Jarie Bolander
11,421 points

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