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Silicon Valley Bank is setting up shop in Canada in aim to support country’s thriving tech scene

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The headquarters of the Silicon Valley Bank in Santa Clara, Calif.Handout/Silicon Valley Bank/The Canadian Press

Canada’s tech scene is heating up, and one of Silicon Valley’s oldest financial institutions wants a piece.

Silicon Valley Bank, the 35-year-old lender focused on tech startups and venture capital firms, plans to hire more than a dozen bankers in Canada with the goal of eventually banking 40 per cent of the country’s tech and life science companies. It’s received authorization from Canada’s finance minister to open and is waiting on final regulatory approvals to begin lending.

Canada’s tech scene is thriving. Startups are proliferating, fuelled by increased local investment and the presence of big-name U.S. venture firms like Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital. Internet giants including Amazon.com Inc. and Google are hiring thousands of engineers in Vancouver and Toronto and home-grown success stories like Shopify Inc. are taking off.

With all that activity comes opportunity for banks willing to lend to small, unproven startups, said Barbara Dirks, Silicon Valley Bank’s recent hired head of Canada.

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