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‘This Is Going to Be a Blip’: Investors, Founders Move On After Bank Crisis

Art by Jesús Escudero
Art by Jesús Escudero
March 24, 2023 6:00 AM PDT

On Monday, David Garner rose at 5 a.m. to sign the final documents required to finish setting up an account for his startup at JPMorgan Chase, following a two-week ordeal that began with the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. Garner’s Seattle-based startup—CalmWave, which develops software for hospital intensive care units—had moved its money out of SVB to First Republic Bank. When startups also began fleeing that bank over concerns about its stability, CalmWave again moved its cash, this time to Chase.

And then, for Garner and his team, it was back to business as usual. They arranged meetings, wrote papers and drafted patent applications. “It happened and disappeared so quickly,” said Index Ventures partner Mike Volpi, an investor in a wide array of companies including Sonos, Blue Bottle Coffee and Confluent. “I don’t think it has a materially impactful long-term effect other than us being more careful with cash management.”

That was a different sentiment than the one coursing through CEO chats and the boardrooms of venture capital firms just a week ago. Founders and investors initially worried a cataclysmic meltdown in the banking sector might vaporize their cash, but even after it became clear a federal rescue would prevent that worst-case scenario, dread lingered. Would PTSD from the crisis distract startups from their business priorities? Would their customers head for the hills?

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