Right now there are other options for Canadian tech startups: John Ruffolo on SVB collapse
Canadian technology companies that worked with Silicon Valley Bank have options to recover from the U.S. bank’s collapse, a prominent Canadian tech investor said Monday.
John Ruffolo, founder of Maverix Private Equity, said the failure of SBV Financial Group, an “iconic” funding player in the technology industry, had more to do with the bank’s management decisions than its overall business.
He argued Canadian banks would likely not have an issue stepping in to take on SVB’s Canadian clients, which include major e-commerce company Shopify Inc.
“The companies that they have on their books, I'm sure the Canadian banks would love to have them on their books,” said Ruffolo, who is also a former CEO of Omers Ventures, in a Monday television interview with BNN Bloomberg.
SVB’s Friday collapse came after a failed bid to raise cash and a bank run as many of its tech-concentrated clients fled. The bank’s failure – the second-largest in U.S. history – has prompted concerns about oversight of the industry.
Canada’s banking regulator has taken control of SVB’s Canadian branch, which did not take commercial or retail deposits, and is seeking to wind up the operation.
Ruffolo said it’s fortunate the majority of Canadian companies did not have deposits with SVB, meaning there is little systemic risk to Canada’s tech industry overall.
Some bank clients that were awaiting untapped lines of credit with SVB are now looking to other banks to step in, Ruffolo said, but he noted companies now have more options to deal with that issue than they did a decade ago.
He said companies with venture capital backing should look to their investors to “step up” and help fill payroll and other holes, and said bank CEOs in Canada so far appear eager to support companies affected by the SVB collapse.
“They are anxious to help the Canadian tech ecosystem,” Ruffolo said. “Let's see, but I am comforted from that.”
With files from Bloomberg News.