11 unsung heroes of Silicon Valley’s banking crisis
When I was handed a Chick-fil-A french fry and cookies and cream milkshake through the drive-through window last week, there was a card that had been slipped into my bag.
“Keep going—you’re doing great!” it read.
I won’t ever know who wrote it, but I do know I really needed a few words of encouragement that day. And it served as a powerful reminder amid my ongoing coverage of the worst banking crisis since 2008 that it isn’t just doom and gloom out there: It never is.
Sometimes it’s a small act of kindness—or a big, much-needed sacrifice—that makes all the difference in the world. That’s why I want to dedicate this edition of Term Sheet to the people you might refer to as “unsung heroes”—the people who stepped up in a way that restored someone’s faith in the private markets when everything looked like it might fall apart.
“We saw a lot of humanity across the tech landscape—people stepping up to help each other in very meaningful, direct ways,” says Justin Butler, a partner at Eclipse Ventures.
Some of these stories have already made their rounds, such as Vinod Khosla and Sam Altman offering to loan cash from their personal accounts to startups that needed it.
But I asked Term Sheet readers to share some of the unsung heroes. This is no exhaustive list, by any means. But it’s a small collection of individuals who put their necks out for the people around them and really made a difference these last couple of weeks. Each name on the list was nominated by a reader, but I have opted to keep the referrers anonymous.
—Isabel Chirase, head of finance at Drive Capital, was visiting her grandmother in Oregon for her grandma's birthday when Silicon Valley Bank collapsed. She worked the entire weekend to help rebuild Drive's banking infrastructure—and still made the party.
—Greg Sands from Costanoa Ventures worked to help companies meet payroll from his personal bank account since his venture capital fund's accounts were frozen.
—Scott Kleinman and his team at Huntington Bank helped make available a credit facility for a VC fund on short notice when about 5,000 people were at risk of missing their paychecks.
—Brandi Craig and her team at Fifth Third Bank created an accelerated process for onboarding new clients and were opening accounts in ~30 minutes.
—Meggie Ramirez, who works with many emerging managers at First Republic Bank, was working 24/7 for four days onboarding new clients to FRB and pushing hard to migrate capital as quickly as possible when it wasn't clear that SVB deposits would be safe. A venture investor says they were texting her a lot with requests, and she would get back within minutes at all hours of the day.
—John Underwood from Goldman Sachs helped activate policymakers across both sides of the aisle to recognize the gravity of the SVB crisis, and the implications for Silicon Valley innovation and national economic competitiveness.
—Josh Kopelman at First Round coordinated a bunch of personal loans from First Round partners, to ensure companies made payroll the Monday after SVB collapsed.
—An anonymous Silicon Valley Bank employee, whose U.S. visa was revoked when SVB became a bridge bank, continued to send frequent updates on the situation regardless and worked tirelessly to help her clients even though her own personal situation was uncertain.
—Harrison Long, vice president of finance at Vividly, stayed up all that weekend putting a cashflow forecast in place, working closely with the company’s board, SVB, and FDIC's support team and ensuring that Vividly’s venture debt line was intact and drawn down on after it was announced that SVB deposits would be backstopped.
—Milka Micic from JPMorgan Chase’s Chicago office hustled to quickly open accounts for venture firms and portfolio companies when the bank’s venture team was backlogged.
—John Clendenin, attorney at Cooley, quickly provided calm, sound advice and a plan to venture capital firms. “He may not have slept for days to help firms navigate risk,” one investor says.
And one from me. Jackson Fordyce tirelessly puts Term Sheet’s deals section together every single day—and you’ll never find a person more excited to do it. These past two weeks he’s been helping out with reporting, too, and he always has words of encouragement for his colleagues. Jackson is truly one of the most integral parts of delivering this newsletter to your inbox, and I’m grateful to him every day.
See you tomorrow,
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Jackson Fordyce curated the deals section of today’s newsletter.
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com
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