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SVB Hall of Shame

“Is not a patron my lord, one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water, and, when he has reached ground, encumbers him with help?”

Samuel Johnson to Lord Chesterfield (1755)

“The first thing [in credit] is character … before money or anything else. Money cannot buy it.… A man I do not trust could not get money from me on all the bonds in Christendom. I think that is the fundamental basis of business..”

J. P. Morgan, testimony to the Pujo Committee (1912)

“Justice must not only be done, but must also be seen to be done.”

Gordon Hewart, Lord Chief Justice of England (1924)

On March 10, 2023, Silicon Valley Bank, an renowned institution that catered to America’s start-up sector, collapsed within two days after a run on the bank started and exacerbated by the very venture capitalists that it served in its 40-year existence.

Hours after the collapse, the same venture capitalists began backpedaling to burnish their reputations, issuing a statement of support for the same bank they had driven into failure. They crushed a cornerstone of our economy in one day, and then virtue-signaled the next.

The management of SVB was incompetent. They were removed. The board was asleep at the switch. They are now unemployable. The investors and lenders in SVB showed poor judgment. They were wiped out. But those players within the venture capital community who were singularly responsible for triggering and then exacerbating this run will not escape accountability. Future founders will know your worth. They will know you are not a reliable partner, ready to throw them to the wolves at a moment’s notice. You will be remembered for your hypocrisy.

Reputation is perpetual. You have destroyed yours. And you will be held accountable.

The list below will be updated if, where, and when I have time.

Note: I know of many other VC firms that have piled onto this run (and nauseatingly enough afterwards, tried to paint themselves as the “good guy”, including touting their signatures on the statement of support on Twitter/LinkedIn/etc.), but the list below at the moment includes those with public sources. If you have screenshots, etc., please send them to and they will be posted. Your identity will be protected at all times.

The rogues’ gallery: VCs who had their portcos withdraw funds from SVB

VC FirmSize of PortfolioWho Shouted Fire in a Crowded TheatreNotesSource
Founders Fund82“Top operations executives” and Trae StephensAllegedly the first mover.Axios and Bloomberg TV
Y Combinator1,021Garry Tan, CEOAdvised its portfolio companies to collapse SVB, while Garry Tan petitioned the government for a bailoutBI and LA Times
Union Square Ventures100+Signed the statement after contributing to the run.BI
Pear VC17Anna Nitschke, CFOSigned the statement after contributing to the run.CNBC
Coatue Management200+CNBC
Hoxton Ventures50+Hussein Kanji, FounderCNBC
Entrée Capital100+Avi Eyal, co-founder and Managing PartnerSigned the statement after contributing to the run.Ctech
Founder Collective150+Signed the statement after contributing to the run.Fortune
Hustle Fund400+Eric Bahn, co-founder and General PartnerCo-founder/GP Elizabeth Yin is “proud” of having exacerbated the bank runBloomberg
The Syndicate300+Jason Calacanis, angel investorSent hysterical all-caps tweets like this through the weekend, and then suggested that his tweets shouldn’t be able to cause a bank run.Bloomberg and Newsweek
Cofounders Capital30David Gardner, “Foundering” (sic) PartnerWRAL
Range Ventures20Chris Erickson, co-founder and Managing PartnerSigned the statement after contributing to the run.Bizjournals
Vida Ventures29Arjun Goyal, co-founder and Managing DirectorFierce Biotech
Launchpad Capital26Ryan Gilbert, founderAxios
Activant Capital46LA Times
Tribe Capital150+Arjun Sethi, co-founderLA Times
Enduring Ventures5Xavier HelgesenBI and Twitter
Mechanism Capital50+AMBCrypto
Eden Block15AMBCrypto

Corrections: when new information arises regarding the behaviors above

“When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”

Apocryphal, but often misattributed to Winston Churchill, John Maynard Keynes, or Paul Samuelson

Unlike clout-chasing VCs and tech bros who promptly disappear when called out, I own my mistakes. The below shows both my original reporting and details of any new information received that corrects it.

VC FirmWhat I originally saidContext and details of new information
Andreesen HorowitzDavid George appeared to obliquely go out of his way to not put a warning in writing, based on a misinterpreted email quoted in the LA Times.Two founders (Deidre Paknad publicly, and another who reached out privately) presented evidence that a16z partners did not encourage a run on SVB and in fact indicated their belief that depositors would be safe. The founder who reached out privately explained that David George was oblique in his widely-misinterpreted email because he did not “want to get into a debate on American banking with a mailing list of 1k+ founders”.

My own two cents is that you need to overcommunicate in a crisis, not broadcast oblique hints that not only creates an information asymmetry, but also tells everyone that an information asymmetry is being created (“hey, let’s talk offline 1:1, away from this mailing list”).
PrimaryReporting implied that they were privately telling their portfolio to withdraw funds (per BI), while Brad Svrluga was publicly decrying the bank run.BI posted a correction that separated the two events: Brad Svrluga‘s statement was after-the-fact. A Primary representative also reached out privately and shared an email from Brad Svrluga to SVB, while the bank run was underway, offering support such as trying to coordinate messaging within the VC community to take a stand.