RBCx hires former SVB employees to increase support for seed-stage and life sciences startups

RBC joins a growing list of Canadian banks to acquire talent from the now-defunct SVB Canada.

The Royal Bank of Canada’s technology and innovation arm, RBCx, has hired four former Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) Canada employees, becoming the latest in a growing list of Canadian banks to poach employees from the collapsed tech financier.

RBCx has hired Filip Stoja, former vice president (vice president) of early-stage startups at SVB Canada, to lead its early-stage banking practice, and Andrew Owusu-Sefa (one of SVB’s first 10 Canadian employees) as vice president of banking at early stage.

These are primarily talented people from SVB Canada who understand how to work with technology companies.
– Tony Barkett, RBCx

In the life sciences space, Anne Woods, previously managing director of life sciences and healthcare at SVB Canadas, has also joined the organization to lead the life sciences practice, and Rebecca Ross (the first loan officer hired by SVB Canada to grow its life sciences practice on Life ) to co-chair RBCxs’ life sciences-focused credit advisory group.

According to RBCx’s head of banking, Tony Barkett, these appointments come as RBCx implements an early-stage banking platform and looks to bring its existing life sciences practice to the national market.

First and foremost, these are talented people from SVB Canada who understand how to work with technology companies, Barkett said in an interview with BetaKit. We took the opportunity to give ourselves an advantage and acquire some of the best talent that is out there.

Since SVB’s collapse in March, many other large Canadian banks have also hired talent from SVB, including CIBC, TD, Scotiabank and National Bank, which bought the remainder of SVB Canadas commercial loan portfolio this summer.

RELATED: National Bank acquires SVB’s Canadian commercial loan book

While Barkett doesn’t expect one institution to fill the void left by SVB’s absence, he believes that SVB’s demise provides even greater growth opportunities for players like RBCx, noting that many other financial institutions viewed SVB’s demise as an opportunity to advance existing practice technology banking, employing people who had experience in working with technology start-ups.

Given current market conditions, Barkett believes it is especially important for RBCx to have a practice dedicated to the needs of early-stage technology startups.

Stoj’s career spanned traditional accounting, banking and finance, and entrepreneurship. Previously, he worked closely with early-stage technology startups such as MaRS Discovery District and SVB Canada, where he provided mentoring, advisory services and venture debt financing to both early-stage and growth-stage technology companies.

The talent, culture and mission, as well as the support and commitment of Canada’s largest bank, made joining RBCx my number one choice, Stoj told BetaKit.

For her part, Woods has divided her career between work in capital markets and life sciences. She recently launched and led SVB’s life sciences practice in Canada. Woods told BetaKit there were many reasons to join RBCx. Above all, it has allowed me to continue supporting great life science companies and innovators in Canada.

She described Canada as a global leader in life sciences innovation, noting that from insulin to stem cells to artificial intelligence, we have and will continue to improve health outcomes for patients around the world.

RELATED: RBCx and RBC Ventures Merger

With the addition of Stoj, Owusu-Sef, Woods and Ross, RBCxs’ technology banking team now numbers over 100 employees.

Barkett teased that RBCxs’ roadmap doesn’t just end with a deeper focus on serving early-stage and life sciences startups. He noted that the organization also intends to provide more tailored support to cleantech and FinTech companies in the future.

When we created RBCx, we were thinking about delivering more value to help companies scale beyond just banking products, Barkett said. We built this business model and now it is even more needed in the market without SVB.

Photo courtesy of RBC.

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Image Source : betakit.com

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