Some startup founders and venture capitalists finally started to regain access to their accounts at Silicon Valley Bank on Monday.
Technology investor Ari Newman said on Twitter that he "just got confirmation from one of our portfolio companies that their SVB funds are available and they have access this am." Outlander VC investor Paige Craig said the firm's founders began regaining access "to their whole account balance" at about 9:30 a.m. New York time.
Sara Mauskopf, the chief executive officer and co-founder of childcare app Winnie, had her alarm set for east coast hours so she could wake up in San Francisco and try to log on to her account. She'd been using SVB for checking and a cash sweep account for the past seven years. She managed to get on and send one wire on Monday morning.
Not everyone has been so lucky. Piotr Pisarz, CEO of the U.K. startup Uncapped, said his account was not yet working at 2 p.m. London time. Other startup founders said the customer portal appeared to have been restored, but they couldn't log in. Matt Clifford, CEO of the tech investor Entrepreneur First, said he was able to log in, but the process was extremely slow. (He guessed the bank was getting a lot of requests.)
Thousands of SVB customers around the world have been waiting for this moment since a run on the bank paralyzed the company's customer portal last week — and eventually toppled the firm itself. Once they get their hands on the money, investors said, it's clear what they need to do with it: diversify.
"What this means for the future is all companies should have more than one bank account," Christian Meermann, a partner at venture capital firm Cherry Ventures, said in an interview. "From now on at least for us, that's a pretty clear requirement for our portfolio companies."
Customers who tried accessing SVB's online portal in the Europe morning were getting a system maintenance notice, saying the banking services would be unavailable throughout the weekend but would "resume next week in accordance with the guidance provided by the FDIC." SVB UK reassured users in a Twitter post that it expected to restart operations at some point Monday — but exactly when was unclear.
Despite the lack of uniformity in access, tech and venture capital executives alike were breathing a collective sigh of relief after the U.S. government said it would guarantee depositors' money and HSBC Holdings acquired the bank's U.K. unit. Many of bank's small-business customers relied on these accounts for everyday tasks including making payroll.
"They were great partners for seven years when many others won't serve a tiny business in the beginning, they would," Winnie's Ms. Mauskopf said. Now, she's said she's looking to diversify.