Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse impact on M’sian startup ecosystem

If you happen to’ve been studying the information these days, you may need come throughout the phrases “Silicon Valley Financial institution” and “collapse” fairly just a few instances.

However for individuals who haven’t, right here’s what occurred.

In abstract, clients grew involved over Silicon Valley Financial institution’s (SVB) monetary place because the financial institution had been shopping for quite a lot of belongings that had been now not definitely worth the worth the financial institution had paid for them.

This got here to a head on March 10 when the financial institution skilled a flood of deposit withdrawal requests (US$42 billion’s price). SVB was unable to lift the money wanted for this, which led to its subsequent failure.

That is the textbook definition of a financial institution run.

Dictionary time: A financial institution run is when numerous clients of a financial institution or different monetary establishment withdraw their deposits on the identical time over fears concerning the financial institution’s solvency.


This led to the Federal Deposit Insurance coverage Company (FDIC)—equal to Perbadanan Insurans Deposit Malaysia (PIDM) in Malaysia—to imagine management over the financial institution.  

To additional perceive the severity of the scenario and whether or not Malaysians must be nervous, we spoke to 2 specialists—Justin Lim, the funding precept at Nexea, and Nicholas Chong, president at Affect Consulting Kuala Lumpur.

Picture Credit score: Justin Lim / Nicholas Chong

What precisely was the issue?

To Justin, there are three points with SVB—buyer focus, danger administration, and asset legal responsibility administration.

The primary challenge pertains to the truth that SVB had a big focus of depositors of the identical class—that’s, Silicon Valley startups.

As for its danger administration, Justin identified that SVB had sizeable unhedged rate of interest positions. Lastly, he believes SVB’s asset facet of the steadiness sheet was not designed to fulfill the liquidity calls for of the deposit withdrawals.

Whereas there is likely to be many in Malaysia who’re unfamiliar with the financial institution and thus suppose it’s not a giant deal, SVB is definitely among the many prime 20 largest banks in the US.

Moreover, quite a lot of the tech startups in Silicon Valley relied on SVB as their main financial institution. Because of the collapse, these startups had been out of the blue unable to entry their cash, resulting in many different points for them.

The US Federal Reserve has now arrange an emergency lending facility to stem the danger of contagion.

But, regardless of this, SVB’s collapse has despatched jitters throughout the globe.

The shot heard around the globe—together with Malaysia

Whereas SVB depositors had been probably the most affected by this collapse, the incident’s impacts extends past that, inflicting shockwaves throughout the market.

Picture Credit score: Tony Webster

“Traders and different startups that weren’t depositors of SVB had been additionally making an attempt to evaluate their publicity to the banks,” Nicholas identified. “Are their traders uncovered? Are their suppliers affected? Would the banks observe go well with?”

He continued, “Markets in Malaysia have undoubtedly reacted, particularly financial institution shares. Nevertheless, that is probably a knee-jerk response from worry of a systemic contagion.”

From what Justin sees, although, the native startup scene is unaffected by this.

“As for NEXEA, it’s enterprise as typical—busy constructing the ecosystem with Cradle within the MyStartup accelerator,” he commented.

Are the troubles justified?

Each Justin and Nicholas suppose it’s impossible we’ll see comparable incidents in Malaysia.

“Malaysian banks are extremely regulated by BNM, and they’re prone to have a lot better danger administration practices in comparison with SVB,” he assured.

Deputy finance minister Steven Sim has additionally spoken up and mentioned that an evaluation made by native monetary authorities have affirmed that Malaysia’s banking system stays aggressive and resilient.

Banks are one factor—what concerning the sentiments of these within the startup ecosystem? Has it caught the contagion?

“I additionally know of a number of startups in Malaysia who had been involved about oblique exposures to SVB, doubtlessly by way of their traders or by way of systemic contagion,” he mentioned. “Thankfully, the impression to Malaysia appears to be largely muted, apart from some market jitteriness.”

Evaluating it to the Lehman Brothers’ chapter that performed a hand within the 2008 monetary disaster—a comparability many have been doing—SVB’s crash appears to be far more contained.

As Nicholas put it, SVB’s collapse seems to be idiosyncratic in nature and never an indicator of a bigger, brewing matter.  

Justin believes that except they’ve been invested in by a US establishment, it’s unlikely that startups in Malaysia shall be affected.

“Apart from the danger of a regional late-stage funding slowdown, we don’t count on any impact on Malaysian early-stage startups,” Justin added. “In any case, the vast majority of Malaysia’s enterprise funding comes from native establishments and people.”

“If something, South East Asia’s boring however steady banking regime highlights the advantages of fine regulation.”

Classes to study

Each Justin and Nicholas appear to be reasonably optimistic concerning the scenario. It is likely to be true that the Malaysian panorama stays steady, however there are these within the West speculating that this may have repercussions for years to return, particularly within the tech startup sector.

For one, outstanding startup accelerator Y Combinator has been very vocal concerning the collapse. Its CEO Garry Tan tweeted that 30% of SVB depositors shall be vulnerable to not with the ability to make payroll and has thus began a petition calling on the US Congress to behave on the collapse.

Based on SVB’s personal web site, 11 of 15 Y Combinator startups with IPOs financial institution with SVB. Not solely that, seven of these started with SVB Startup Banking.

For context, Y Combinator has supported Malaysian firms reminiscent of Durioo and Pandai.

In any case, there should be classes to achieve from this taking place. Some have drawn a parallel between SVB’s crash to what may occur to Malaysia’s EPF ought to it’s unable to liquidate. Others suppose it exhibits the fickleness of crypto.

Maybe, this event additionally highlights the significance of trusting residence banks, and why residence banks also needs to do extra to assist our native startup ecosystem.

And for the on a regular basis individual—that is additionally a very good reminder to not put all of your eggs (and investments) in a single basket.  

  • Learn different articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups right here.

Featured Picture Credit score: Silicon Valley Financial institution / Wiki Commons