Economics/Class Relations

Why Silicon Valley Bank failed

March 13, 2023
Hello, Insiders. The markets are in chaos as the Silicon Valley Bank contagion spreads. We’re diving into that and more today. Here’s what’s on the agenda:
— Nicholas Carlson


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Bank fallout, Ukraine war, & more

  • First Republic Bank shares plunged by over 60% in premarket trading on Monday, as SVB’s collapse fanned fears that the lender would also implode. Follow our liveblog.
  • Kremlin elites are fighting over how best to control their Ukraine war narrative, the Russian foreign ministry’s top spokesperson said. Read more.
  • Google employees are already internally testing a smarter version of its chatbot — called “Big Bard.” What to know.

Why SVB failed

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Wondering what the hell just happened at Silicon Valley Bank?

The California bank was closed by regulators and put under the control of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Last night, US regulators said they would bail out customers of the bank. And today, HSBC bought its UK unit for just 1 British pound.

Only a few days earlier, Greg Becker, the CEO of SVB, had been at an investor conference answering questions about what he does to relax. Yet before the week was out, he’d seen the largest bank collapse since the 2008 financial crisis.

So how did it come to this? A failed capital raise and a social media frenzy certainly didn’t help. But Matt Turner, Insider’s editor in chief of business, writes that the seeds of SVB’s demise were planted months ago.


Oscars, the next pandemic, & more



  • Tems, quite literally, stole the show at the Oscars. The Oscar-nominated songwriter went viral after blocking the audience’s view at the Academy Awards with her huge gown. Check it out.
  • Can Silicon Valley stop the next pandemic? Private capital has been eyeing public health for years. But after COVID hit, the money rushed in for real. The big question is: Can tech startups do a better job than the government of safeguarding us? Here’s what to know.
  • Aircraft “close calls” are on the rise. The head of the National Transportation Safety Board said it’s “very concerned” about the rise in close calls and that the FAA needs to “take action.” More here.
  • The mysterious Minerva Julie. The question of who blew up the Nord Stream pipelines is likely to remain unsolved for some time. But days before the explosions, a tanker called the Minerva Julie was drifting nearby in the Baltic Sea. Read on.
  • “I built an ADU in my backyard that brings in $3,000 a month.” Joyce Higashi is a San Jose native who built an accessory dwelling unit in her backyard for $230,000, leasing it out to traveling nurses for three months at a time. Here’s her best advice for doing the same.
  • “I flew in business class for the first time.” Our reporter took a 12-hour flight from Los Angeles to Auckland, New Zealand. She said it was the best flight of her life, but at $6,000, she said she wouldn’t do it again. Read more.
  • How work-life balance compares around the world. As American expatriates increasingly discuss the differences in work-life balance across the globe, here’s a look at how it compares in the US, France, Australia, and the UK.

Journey into the ice

Courtesy of Alyssa Ramos
Sailing to Antarctica is a notoriously treacherous journey — but it’s so worth it. Alyssa Ramos is a travel influencer who crossed the Drake Passage, a famously rough ocean passage that ships take to Antarctica, three times back and forth. Here’s a look at her pilgrimage — and why she keeps going back.

World Wide Waste


How mushroom startups use fungi to fight waste. There are over 10,000 varieties of mushrooms, and companies all over the world are using them to solve all kinds of problems. We looked at four different businesses building a more sustainable future out of fungi. Check it out.


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This edition was curated by Nicholas Carlson, and edited by Hallam Bullock, Lisa Ryan, Dave Smith, Nathan Rennolds, and Jack Robert Stacey. Get in touch:

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