Silicon Valley Bank expands to Canada, taps Barbara Dirks to lead expansion and team

Santa Clara-based technology debt financing firm Silicon Valley Bank has announced its expansion to Canada after securing a federal order establishing it as a lending branch.

The California firm will begin operations following the approval of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, and it has already appointed Barbara Dirks—most recently of Royal Bank of Canada—to lead its Canadian expansion and team.

Silicon Valley Bank is dedicated to supporting the global innovation economy by focusing on and addressing the needs of entrepreneurs, companies and investors in the technology and life science sectors. For the past 35 years the company has offered a range of specialized financial services through their locations around the world, and has served the Canadian market on a cross-border basis for several years, supporting clients like Shopify, Drop, and Lightspeed.

“This marks an important milestone in our aspirations to support our innovative clients in key international markets, and we are thrilled to bring Barbara on board to lead the way in Canada,” said Mark Gallagher, Senior Market Manager for Silicon Valley Bank. “Barbara has that unique mix of attributes and values we cherish. Her passion for entrepreneurs, depth of expertise and operational leadership, based on more than 17 years of experience in Canada and the US, are the right combination of skills to help us deliver our specialized knowledge and global network to Canada’s amazing innovation economy.”

Silicon Valley Bank applied for the regulatory approvals required to establish a branch in Canada back in May of 2017. Once the Superintendent’s approval is granted, the company will be able to provide in-market commercial banking solutions to private and public technology and life science companies and their investors across Canada. It will also continue to offer cross-border services to Canadian companies that have or wish to have a US presence.

“Silicon Valley Bank’s expansion into Canada will significantly support the tech ecosystem here,” said Jason Atkins, CEO of 360insights. “We’ve worked with SVB for more than three years now and they are a true partner. They understand our business, create opportunities for us to connect with other technology companies and investors, and provide flexible and innovative financing solutions.”

Barbara Dirks joins Silicon Valley Bank from her most recent position as Senior Vice President of Network and Advisor Strategy in personal and commercial banking at RBC. Prior to that she was Chief Operations Officer of the North American commercial banking group at Bank of Montreal, where she held various positions for a total of 15 years. She is a member of the board of governors for the Royal Military College of Canada.

As Head of Canada, Dirks will provide leadership and strategic oversight for all of Silicon Valley Bank’s activities in Canada, including business development and operations. She will also chair the supervisory committee for Silicon Valley Bank in Canada.

With $51 billion in assets and more than 2,400 employees globally, Silicon Valley Bank already has a strong track record helping to improve the probability of its clients’ success at every phase of their lifecycle.



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