Team Silicon Valley Bank: Shanghai, Week 1

Team SVB – Garrick Zhu, Pawan Nrisimha, William Frymann, Edmund Choi – are working with SVB in Shanghai to determine its market expansion strategy into East Asia. SVB is the bank for innovation companies, with more than 600 venture and PE firm clients. It has over 30 years’ experience nurturing firms from small to large and providing highly customized services along the different stages of development. Its portfolio of companies come from technology, life sciences, clean-tech and other prominent industries. Our team is tasked with assessing East Asia for market opportunities and fit with SVB’s mission and goals. We will provide recommendations on where SVB should consider entering in the near and intermediate future.

Our team made it to Shanghai after several delays due to the unfortunate incident at SFO on Saturday, July 6th.  Our workspace at SVB is a modest conference room on the third floor with a whiteboard, a wall-to-ceiling window looking out to the street and a hub of power adapters to charge our equipment. This will be our war room for coming up with the strategy for SVB.

Our work area at SVB Shanghai.

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Entrance of SVB Shanghai office.

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During the first few days on the ground, our time was split between meetings with SVB experts, venture capitalists, and synthesizing all the information from our research. Since none of us have a banking background, we felt like we learned so much about venture lending, banking regulations, capital structure, etc, that we can now apply for a job at a bank.

Team lunch at a local hot pot restaurant.

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On Wednesday, we met up with the other Shanghai IBD team and also a number of Haas alumni who work in Shanghai.  We hung out at a restaurant called Azul. We also met a couple of new Haas admits from Shanghai, and we told them all the great things about the Bay Area.

On Thursday, we were scheduled to have dinner with the Chairman and CFO of SVB at a private club. Before dinner, we amped ourselves up to ask “smart” questions and conducted a diverging exercise PFPS style to come up with a list of questions. Later, we found they were very laid back and extremely easy to talk to. Ken (Chairman) spoke a bit about the importance of culture at both the company and country levels in terms of shaping innovation.

Dinner with SVB Chairman and CFO

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On Friday, after five weeks of interviews and research in the Bay Area and one week of on-site work in Shanghai, our team has finally completed our scoring model that will drive our recommendations for SVB.  The team is excited to hit this milestone and see what our synthesis of all the massive amounts of information looks like. Next week, we will be pushing forward with the final recommendations and deliverables for our client.

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