Lessons from SVB’s collapse: Why cash management is critical in start-up success

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Are you a start-up founder or entrepreneur? Then, you know that cash is king. In the wake of Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse, it’s clear that managing your cash flow is critical to startup success. In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into the lessons learned from SVB’s downfall and explore actionable tips for effective cash management in your own business. Whether you’re just starting out or scaling up, these insights will help you make smarter financial decisions and keep your company on track towards growth and profitability. So grab a pen and paper – there’s much to learn!

What happened to SVB?

SVB’s collapse was largely due to mismanagement of cash flow. The company had been relying on a steady stream of venture capital to keep operations going, but when the funding dried up, they were forced to make drastic cuts. This led to layoffs and other cost-cutting measures, which only further hurt their chances of survival. In the end, it was simply too late for SVB to turn things around.

What caused SVB’s collapse?

SVB’s collapse was caused by a number of factors, including a poor investment strategy, excessive leverage, and a lack of liquidity. These factors led to a downward spiral in the value of SVB’s assets, which eventually led to the bank’s demise.

Poor investment strategy:

SVB made a number of poor investments in the years leading up to its collapse, including loans to highly leveraged companies and real estate projects. These investments proved to be disastrous when the economic downturn hit in 2008.

Excessive leverage:

SVB was highly leveraged going into the economic downturn, with its total assets exceeding $40 billion and its equity totaling just $4 billion. This made the bank very vulnerable to any deterioration in asset values.

Lack of liquidity:

SVB had a limited ability to raise new capital during the economic downturn, due to its high leverage and poor investment performance. This lack of liquidity ultimately proved fatal as it was unable to meet its funding needs and cover its losses.

The importance of cash management for start-ups

When SVB’s collapse happened, it was a shock to many in the start-up community. After all, SVB was a well-respected financial institution that had been helping startups grow for years. But the truth is, SVB’s collapse was not entirely unexpected. In fact, it highlights an important lesson for all startups: cash management is critical to success.

There are a few reasons why cash management is so important for startups. First, startup businesses often have very little margin for error. They may only have a few customers or clients, and any loss of revenue can be devastating. This is why it’s so important to carefully track and manage cash flow. Second, startups typically don’t have much in the way of collateral, which makes it difficult to get loans from traditional lenders. This means that if a startup does need additional funds, they may need to turn to alternative sources of financing, which can be more expensive in the long run.

Finally, it’s important to remember that startup businesses are often working on new and innovative products or services. This means that they may not have the same level of predictable revenue as more established businesses. For this reason, it’s especially important for startups to keep close track of their spending and make sure they have enough cash on hand to cover unexpected expenses.

The bottom line is that cash management is critical for any startup business. Those who fail to properly track and manage their finances are at risk of making costly mistakes that

Tips for better cash management in your start-up

1. Understand your burn rate: Before you can fix your cash management issues, you need to understand your burn rate—the rate at which you are spending money. This will help you identify areas where you can cut back and make changes to improve your cash flow.

2. Make a budget: Once you know your burn rate, it’s time to make a budget. Track all of your expenses and income so you have a clear picture of where your money is going. This will help you find ways to save money and improve your cash flow.

3. Stay disciplined with expenses: It can be tempting to spend money when you have it, but it’s important to stay disciplined with expenses. Prioritize what you need and want, and stick to your budget. This will help you keep more cash in the bank and improve your bottom line.

4. Have a plan for unexpected expenses: Unexpected expenses can throw off even the best-laid plans. Have a buffer in place so you’re prepared for these curveballs. This will help you avoid dipping into savings or taking on debt to cover these costs.

5. Review your progress regularly: Cash management is an ongoing process, so it’s important to review your progress regularly. Adjust your budget as needed and continue to look for ways to improve your cash flow


In conclusion, cash management is an incredibly important part of the success of a startup. We may never know exactly how or why SVB collapsed, but we can learn two valuable lessons from their unfortunate demise: always be aware of your financial situation and don’t wait until it’s too late to take action. By following these simple guidelines, you can ensure that your startup will have the best chance at success.


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