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Silicon Valley Bank to boost support for early stage UK tech start-ups

12 Feb 2013

Silicon Valley Bank's Bindi Karia For almost every start-up, the funding question is one of the most difficult to solve. This is especially true in the UK where it's often cited as one of the main problems with the market when compared to the US.

One woman hoping to change this is Bindi Karia, an expert in the UK start-up field, who officially joined the UK branch of Silicon Valley Bank in January in order to lead the firm's efforts in early stage ventures.

Silicon Valley Bank offers specialised financial and lending services for technology start-ups.

The bank has financed many of San Francisco's biggest start-ups in their early stages such as Twitter and Pinterest, and since 2004 has started expanding in the UK, financing start-ups such as Mimecast and Cambridge Broadband Networks.

Now, Silicon Valley Bank, under Karia's guidance, aims to expand its investment in the UK, helping some of the hottest young tech firms get established.

V3 spoke with Karia days after starting her new role about the investment opportunities available to UK start-ups, and the type of ventures she finds the most interesting.

"The reason why they've hired me is because I know this space. I know people who can identify cool, hot start-ups, and I'll eventually come to strength in the financial services area too," she said.

Karia is often nicknamed the "queen of startups", having supported many start-up events across Europe in recent years while in her previous Microsoft role, where she lead the firm's BizSpark programme in the UK, which had over 3,000 start-ups registered nationally.

Karia said one of the UK start-up industry's biggest growth areas is in the area of big data and analytics.

"Firms that are taking data from Twitter and Facebook and providing analysis on that data are doing well in the UK," said Karia. "More of these firms are cloud-based - it's never been so cheap to start a business."

Karia also said it is such firms that she is most interested in, although she declined to comment on whether she would be encouraging the bank's investment in this area.

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Rosalie Marshall

Rosalie Marshall is the special projects editor and chief reporter at V3. Previously she was a reporter for IT Week and channel editor for online television site Rosalie covers government IT, business applications, IT skills, open source technology and social networks.

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