October 14, 2021
Earlier this week, Silicon Valley Bank announced that they would be expanding their Canadian presence with a new Montreal based team. The announcement comes as the bank continues to rapidly make a name for themselves in the Canadian market. After obtaining a Canadian lending licence in early 2019, the company first entered the Canadian market with an office in downtown Toronto. Later in 2020, the bank looked westward and began building a Vancouver team to handle deals in Western Canada. The most recent expansion into Montreal looks to capitalize on the city’s highly active venture financing industry which saw $953 million in investments in the first half of 2021.
Silicon Valley Bank is a financial services firm focused on providing financing and other banking services to early stage ventures. The firm got their start in the early 1980s in the heart of California’s bay area. Shortly after their founding, the bank quickly became a major player in the venture financing space as they provided early stage financing to modern day tech giants such as Cisco. In the late 90s, the firm grew rapidly throughout the United States as the tech boom created a massive need for venture financing and other banking services. Shortly thereafter, they turned their attention internationally and opened their first non-US office in Israel.
The Montreal office will be overseen by former Desjardins capital investment manager Karl Theard. Theard’s team will be looking to capitalize on the highly active Montreal market where more and more ventures are achieving the highly coveted “unicorn” moniker denoting a valuation of over $1 billion. Theard noted in a recent interview that "When you look at the hundreds of millions of dollars that has been invested locally, it's time to dig into it because it's a big market.” Currently SVB has already secured financing arrangements with Canadian based ventures such as Shopify, Paper, Dialogue Health Technologies, and White Star Capital among others. Theard and his team will lead the effort to develop new business relationships with budding Montreal ventures while managing the existing portfolio of Quebec ventures.
By: Aryan Pour-Bahreini