Half of Silicon Slopes startups banked with Silicon Valley Bank

Mar 13, 2023, 1:01 PM | Updated: 1:49 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — State leaders and founders of Silicon Slopes firms joined a town hall meeting Monday to discuss the fallout and what impact it had on Utah’s tech industry.

Monday marked the first day Silicon Valley Bank customers had access to their money since its closure was announced Friday.

“Really grateful things have turned out this morning in a way that we didn’t think they’d might,” Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson said.

Speakers on the call agreed the federal government took the right steps in handling this bank failure. But before federal authorities announced they would protect all deposits, there was a lot of stress.

“We were headed for hundreds of companies, thousands of jobs in peril day by day this week,” Kickstart founder Gavin Christensen said.

Governor Spencer Cox said the state was prepared to step in and help its tech industry. He said state leaders were in meetings all weekend coming up with a plan.

“Can we cobble together some funding that we can backstop some of the challenges to make sure that at least get through the next week or two,?” said Carine Clark, who serves on the executive boards of The Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

Clark said the state had organized a plan and was ready to go.

“The industrial assistance fund. It’s for emergencies. We used it last year for some drought problems…if we had to could we put together the money to make sure we took care of these companies?,” she said.

Senator Mitt Romney said he was in contact with the White House all weekend and was concerned about the situation until Sunday morning.

“I can tell you confidently we’ll return to stability I just can’t tell you when,” he said.

While lawmakers were working around the clock, entrepreneurs in the state were trying to find ways to save their companies.

“There were dozens of founders that were looking at funding payroll out of their own accounts if they weren’t stuck, not taking payroll, laying off,” Christensen said.

Speakers at the town hall said they’re encouraging founders to keep their capital in multiple banks. They emphasize they don’t think this bank collapse is systemic.

“There’s no reason to withdraw deposits from any other bank because the fed is essentially backing those deposits,” Randy Quarles, former Vice-Chair of the Federal Reserve said.

Sen. Romney said the government will look into what led up to this collapse, and why.

“If there were some bad actors who did bad stuff, that’s got to be punished,” he said.

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Half of Silicon Slopes startups banked with Silicon Valley Bank