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‘Lungs of the startup world’: bank fall upends most Silicon Valley industries

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S tartup founders, venture capitalists and aspirational entrepreneurs descended on Austin on Friday for the annual South by Southwest conference as they do every year.

But as the day wore on, a sense of fear and confusion began to take hold amid the usual energy and buzz in the Texas capital.Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), a financial institution that had become the go-to bank for nearly half of all venture-backed tech startups and many in the healthcare sector, was collapsing.

Major venture capital firms and startup incubators including Y Combinator and Founders Fund had advised their founders to reduce exposure to SVB.

The industry began to panic.In the hours and days that followed, the situation amplified. Federal regulators took over SVB and shut it down by the afternoon, followed by an intervention by the Biden administration to protect depositors over the weekend.

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