SVB Hall of Shame
“Is not a patron my lord, one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water, and, when he has reached ground, encumbers him with help?”
Samuel Johnson to Lord Chesterfield (1755)
“The first thing [in credit] is character … before money or anything else. Money cannot buy it.… A man I do not trust could not get money from me on all the bonds in Christendom. I think that is the fundamental basis of business..”
J. P. Morgan, testimony to the Pujo Committee (1912)
“Justice must not only be done, but must also be seen to be done.”
Gordon Hewart, Lord Chief Justice of England (1924)
On March 10, 2023, Silicon Valley Bank, an renowned institution that catered to America’s start-up sector, collapsed within two days after a run on the bank started and exacerbated by the very venture capitalists that it served in its 40-year existence.
Hours after the collapse, the same venture capitalists began backpedaling to burnish their reputations, issuing a statement of support for the same bank they had driven into failure. They crushed a cornerstone of our economy in one day, and then virtue-signaled the next.
The management of SVB was incompetent. They were removed. The board was asleep at the switch. They are now unemployable. The investors and lenders in SVB showed poor judgment. They were wiped out. But those players within the venture capital community who were singularly responsible for triggering and then exacerbating this run will not escape accountability. Future founders will know your worth. They will know you are not a reliable partner, ready to throw them to the wolves at a moment’s notice. You will be remembered for your hypocrisy.
Reputation is perpetual. You have destroyed yours. And you will be held accountable.
The list below will be updated if, where, and when I have time.
Note: I know of many other VC firms that have piled onto this run (and nauseatingly enough afterwards, tried to paint themselves as the “good guy”, including touting their signatures on the statement of support on Twitter/Linkedin/etc.), but the list below at the moment includes those with public sources. If you have screenshots, etc., please send them to email@example.com and they will be posted. Your identity will be protected at all times.
The rogues’ gallery: VCs who had their portcos withdraw funds from SVB
|VC Firm||Size of Portfolio||Who Shouted Fire in a Crowded Theatre||Notes||Source|
|Founders Fund||82||“Top operations executives” and Trae Stephens||Allegedly the first mover.||Axios and Bloomberg TV|
|Andreesen Horowitz||1,000+||David George (obliquely)||Went out of his way to not put it in writing.||LA Times|
|Y Combinator||1,021||Garry Tan, CEO||Y Combinator advised its portfolios to collapse SVB, while Garry Tan petitioned the government for a bailout||BI and LA Times|
|Union Square Ventures||100+||Signed the statement after contributing to the run.||BI|
|Pear VC||17||Anna Nitschke, CFO||Signed the statement after contributing to the run.||CNBC|
|Hoxton Ventures||50+||Hussein Kanji, Founder||CNBC|
|Entrée Capital||100+||Avi Eyal, co-founder and Managing Partner||Signed the statement after contributing to the run.||Ctech|
|Founder Collective||150+||Signed the statement after contributing to the run.||Fortune|
|Hustle Fund||400+||Eric Bahn, co-founder and General Partner||Co-founder/GP Elizabeth Yin is “proud” of having exacerbated the bank run||Bloomberg|
|Jason Calacanis (Angel)||Unknown||Jason Calacanis, angel investor||Bloomberg and Newsweek|
|Cofounders Capital||30||David Gardner, “Foundering” (sic) Partner||WRAL|
|Range Ventures||20||Chris Erickson, co-founder and Managing Partner||Signed the statement after contributing to the run.||Bizjournals|
|Vida Ventures||29||Arjun Goyal, co-founder and Managing Director||Fierce Biotech|
|Launchpad Capital||26||Ryan Gilbert, founder||Axios|
|Activant Capital||46||LA Times|
|Tribe Capital||150+||Arjun Sethi, co-founder||LA Times|
|Enduring Ventures||5||Xavier Helgesen||BI and Twitter|
|Primary||100+||Unnamed partners||Privately telling their portfolio to withdraw funds (per BI), while Brad Svrluga was publicly decrying the bank run. Oh, and they signed the statement, because of course they did.||BI|