Monday, 20 March 2023

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Inside ‘Operation Yeti’: How U.K. tech fought back against a run down the Valley–and survived SVB’s collapse

Inside ‘Operation Yeti’: How U.K. tech fought back against a run down the Valley–and survived SVB’s collapse

Late last Friday evening, rumblings of an unforeseen and significant economic crisis were in play. By the next morning, it was clear that there was no viable future for Silicon Valley Bank (SVB).

Over the weekend, a collective, formidable, and focused force of U.K.-based tech leaders and investors came together to speak to the government and those companies directly affected by the bank’s collapse. The aim? To catalyze a reaction and commit to action.

The scale of the crisis

The collapse of SVB could have had a disastrous impact on the U.K.’s thriving tech ecosystem. Some 3,000 tech firms were at risk of going under.

But the extent to which our community had relied upon the bank had, until that point, never been established and therefore, the severity of the news was not immediately clear.

There had never been cause to establish how popular SVB U.K. really was.

What ensued was a swift undertaking to process who would be affected, and most importantly, how. 

The findings were pretty alarming. Early calculations estimated that up to 40% of U.K. startups held accounts or a relationship with SVB. 

Without rescue, one leading healthtech business that works with the National Health Service would have closed its doors on Monday, impacting NHS patients. Countless founders candidly revealed that they would be days away from being unable to pay their staff or suppliers. Investors who might normally backstop their startups in an emergency situation also banked with SVB and were locked out.

Panicked emails and an influx of distressed messages on social media showed that this was swiftly evolving into nothing short of a devastating crisis for the U.K. tech sector. A total of 1.8 million people are employed within the U.K. startup scene, not to mention the countless suppliers and providers.

Despite its relatively smaller size, the U.K.’s trillion-dollar tech industry sits behind the U.S. and China on the world stage. One of the world’s leading tech ecosystems was suddenly in jeopardy.

A coordinated response

Connected via a WhatsApp group, individuals across the ecosystem coordinated a response.

A core group assembled, reaching out to affected businesses to establish the impact. Others opened lines of communication with government departments and agencies, with a clear message that matched the name of our Whatsapp group: Save U.K. Tech.

The U.K. Treasury requested that impacted startups contact them immediately,…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Fortune | FORTUNE…