Sagi Cohen and Corin Degani
Haaretz, Mar 12, 2023
“I’m responsible for them and they have disappeared, and it’s not because I made a mistake. There is talk that some of the money will be returned. That doesn’t comfort me. The level of certainty is zero. Leading a startup is hard. There’s always uncertainty, and things happen that you don’t anticipate. The market moves and the technology changes.”
Israeli high-tech firms and startups endured a weekend of anxiety and panic after the tailspin that led to the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. Several Israeli companies rushed to get their money out of SVB and move it to other banks in the United States and Israel. According to LeumiTech, its teams helped its customers move about $1 billion to Israel.
People in the industry said at the end of the week that a good many Israeli companies had been able to get their money out in time, but that it was clearly not the case for everyone. In fact, the real situation in the country’s high-tech sector is unclear, as companies whose deposits are now locked will seek to conceal this, concerned that any rumors might drive away customers, suppliers and employees.
One industry figure said there’s a startup that has tens of millions of dollars of deposits in SVB, about 90 percent of its money. “They have a few million dollars in Israel,” he said. “Under those circumstances, you have to be prepared to fire the whole company within a few months. There are also [companies] that have 100 percent of their deposits in SVB.”
“I’ve never experienced a situation like this,” said the CEO of an Israeli startup that has about $1 million in SVB, a small but significant amount of its capital. On Thursday afternoon, he said, he noticed a sharp drop in the bank’s stock. A few hours later, he started getting WhatsApp messages and phone calls from one of the board members, telling him to get the money out right away. …Source