Is it Friday yet? Dan DeFrancesco in NYC. What a week it’s been already for Wall Street. Fortunately, it seems like things are finally starting to calm down.
It’s also good to see the world goes on despite how crazy it might seem in our little bubble. Like this guy who’s bringing a lawsuit against Buffalo Wild Wings.
Today, we’ve got stories on why SVB employees can’t catch a break, the newest edition of ChatGPT, and a cosmetic surgery that is bound to grab your attention.
But first, how’s your credit?
1. What can you lend?
For every action, there is a reaction. So, too, it goes on Wall Street, where one firm’s downfall is another’s opportunity.
It’s a lesson the tech community is learning the hard way in the wake of the implosion of Silicon Valley Bank.
Already, there has been a mad dash among big banks and fintechs to capture the more than $200 billion in deposits housed at SVB and Signature Bank.
However, SVB’s relationship with the tech community wasn’t just about being a place for them to park their cash. Arguably its greatest service to startups was as a lender.
New companies, especially ones that
don’t make any money are “pre-revenue,” as VCs like to say, aren’t easy to lend to. How do you underwrite a loan for a company that didn’t exist six months ago? What’s the credit worthiness of a business that hasn’t produced a product yet?
As Insider’s Rebecca Ungarino and Dakin Campbell reported, a new group has emerged looking to fill that role. Private-credit firms, which include private-equity and alternative asset management firms, are offering loans to startups looking for help in the wake of SVB’s crash.
What’s interesting about this group is they operate outside the guardrails of traditional lending. These so-called “shadow bankers” are much less transparent than their big-bank counterparts.
And while there are benefits to their discreetness — would you like everyone to know when you take out a loan? — there are also risks to letting investment firms lend billions of dollars without much oversight.
This latest opportunity comes off the back of a massive 2022 for private credit, as Rebecca has previously reported. (She also mapped out the top players in the space, which is definitely worth a read.)
So we have investment firms lending billions of dollars to mostly unprofitable startups in a shroud of darkness.
What could possibly go wrong?
Call me paranoid. Call me pessimistic. Call me a socialist. Something just doesn’t sit well with me about private-credit firms picking up where SVB left off. Do we honestly think this will end well?
Insider’s Darius Rafieyan, who also reported on the rise of private credit looking to tap into venture debt, noted in his story that SVB built a reputation for being willing to work with founders going through a tough time. (A courtesy the bank was not afforded in return.)
But maybe that’s the point. SVB got into trouble because it didn’t rule with an iron fist. And perhaps private-credit firms will provide the tough love the industry needs.
Whatever happens, just don’t ask for another bailout.
In other news:
2. More bad news for SVB employees. As if things weren’t bad enough, the bank is walking back a previous offer to keep employees for 45 days and pay them 1.5 times their current salary. More on what that means, along with the internal memo announcing the news to staff.
3. Wall Street weighs in on SVB. Citadel’s Ken Griffin said letting SVB fail without a bailout would have been “a great lesson in moral hazard,” but instead US capitalism is “breaking down before our eyes.” Meanwhile, Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio said the bank’s failure was a “canary in the coal mine” moment for the financial world.
4. I am a libertarian!* (*Some restrictions may apply.) The tech execs and VCs who long fought against government intervention were singing a different tune over the weekend as they looked for help getting their deposits out. More on why the tech elites don’t mind the government’s help when it suits them.
5. Robots for the rich! Morgan Stanley wants to use an OpenAI-powered chatbot to help its 16,000 financial advisors, CNBC reported. The chatbot is built on GPT-4, which is the latest iteration of the AI model that was just unveiled. More on the newest tech that can “pass a bar exam and score a 5 on several AP exams.“
6. Inside a 21st century bank run. SVB’s collapse demonstrated how quickly panic can spread amongst a community thanks to social media. Here’s why the SVB crisis changed the banking industry forever.
7. I’ve got some eggcellent news! The cost of two breakfast staples — eggs and bacon — are finally falling. Here’s why you can afford to get a BECSPK at your local deli without having to take out a loan. (If you’re not familiar with that acronym, step your game up.)
8. Everything you need to know about that weight-loss drug people keep talking about. Ozempic, which is traditionally used for diabetes treatment, is also helping people shed pounds. More on the buzzy drug here.
9. Are penis-enlargement implants the new breast implants? Yes, you read that correctly. A urologist wants to make his procedure the new norm, but it comes with risks. If you’re interested in learning more about how men are *ahem* upgrading their member, click here for more.
10. The mystery of MH370 nine years on. It’s been almost a decade since flight MH370 vanished with 239 people on board. Here’s a rundown of all the theories on what could have happened.
Curated by Dan DeFrancesco in New York. Feedback or tips? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet @dandefrancesco, or connect on LinkedIn. Edited by Jeffrey Cane (tweet @jeffrey_cane) in New York and Nathan Rennolds (tweet @ncrennolds) and Hallam Bullock (tweet @hallam_bullock) in London.