Anything Goes

Jackpot!

Think all banks are callous cash cows that only help companies that already have money? Think again.

While many traditional lending institutions turn their noses up at Gen Xers, Silicon Valley Bank doesn't--especially if you've got emerging technology on the brain, and the ability to explain it with the mouth.

"The entrepreneur who stands out has a clear vision of what he or she wants to do," says Harry W. Kellogg Jr., an executive vice president whose bank taps $3.1 billion in assets to serve more than 3,500 companies. "A lot of people come in with a huge business plan and a lot of talk but can't articulate a crisp vision of their mission. State it succinctly. Tell us what you're trying to do."

If you own a high-tech firm, the 15-year-old bank, which has 15 offices nationwide, can help you get your show on the road. Though many of its clients already had venture capital when they came through the doors, bank officials take great pride in nurturing the promising companies that do not.

"We try to do more than put them in our bank," Kellogg says. "We try to help them raise money--introduce them to venture capital and angel investors. We also refer them to a CPA and point them in the right direction. What we're really trying to do is build lasting relationships."

For more information on Silicon Valley Bank, visit http://www.svb.com.

Contact Sources

EEF Productions, (970) 479-6333, eef@vail.net

Honest Tea Inc., (301) 652-3556, http://www.honesttea.com

Silicon Valley Bank, hkellogg@svbank.com

Swayne Agency Literary Management & Consulting, (212) 391-5438, lswayne@swayneagency.com

X-IT Products LLC, (415) 929-9487, andrew@x-it.com

Zydeco, 1600 Canal St., 14th Fl., New Orleans, LA 70112, (504) 539-9301.

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This article was originally published in the January 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Anything Goes.

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