As many of you know, we have a very special event going on here in NYC next Tuesday night called @shakeshack. The name comes from the Twitter bot us Big Apple geeks use to organize our midday jaunts to the famous Madison Square Park Venue.
The event is going to be huge: 300 key people in the NYC community: VCs, Angels, developers, designers, business people. You can check out the attendee list here. Sorry, but it's totally full!
We couldn't do the event, however, without sponsors, and a number of startup and tech friendly folks stepped up to make it happen. We'll be spotlighting those folks leading up to the event as part of their sponsorship, but more than anything else out of our appreciation for their support.
Our first is Square 1 Bank. I asked Brad Steele about what the bank does and here's is response:
"In a nutshell, we specialize exclusively in providing commercial banking services and senior debt financing to venture capital-backed companies and venture capital firms. That's all we do.
We are keenly aware of the ups and downs, life cycle stages and challenges early stage, emerging growth companies face as they drive to become a large, dominant player in its space. The traditional, mid-market regional and larger money center banks like the ones you mentioned below, are no very little about the venture capital world, entrepreneurs and start-up companies. It's important for an emerging growth, venture-backed company to surround itself with professionals who specialize in their world.
You wouldn't go to a mortgage company for a car loan. Why would you go to a bank who doesn't cater to venture-backed companies when you have an option which does?
"Innovation. Risk. Potential." High-tech shorthand like this describes the very essence of hundreds of young technology companies in the New York area.
For traditional business banks, terms like "conservative" and "risk-averse" are more appropriate descriptors--a profile that contrasts sharply... ...with hard-charging technology companies and their equally aggressive professional investor partners.
Square 1 specializes in meeting the requirements of emerging growth, venture-backed technology and life sciences companies. We tailor our service offerings and lending styles specifically to the needs to these companies and their more mature counterparts.
Venture bankers like those found at Square 1, on the other hand, understand that traditional attributes may not capture the true value of an enterprise and they are willing to consider additional factors.
For instance, the expertise and track record of a high-tech company's top management carries a great deal of weight. Another critical factor (particularly for start-up firms) is whether the company has gained the backing of a financial firm. Professional investor backing is a key consideration for venture banks, and the larger and more experienced the venture capital firm is, the better chance the company will have to obtain a bank loan. Venture bankers will also evaluate the company's intangible assets. For example, intellectual property--including patents, copyrights and trademarks--may be considered acceptable collateral."
You can learn a lot more about Square 1 Bank at @shakeshack, where Brad and several members of the Square 1 Bank team will be in attendence, or you can contact him directly at bsteele (at) square1bank (dot)com.