We recently spoke with David Mandell, cofounder and CEO of PivotDesk, a Techstars in Boulder 2012 company. PivotDesk helps startups that need space find host companies that have space.
David talks about the company’s relationship with Silicon Valley Bank. SVB is banking the world’s most innovative companies, and has been a sponsor partner of Techstars for nearly four years.
How did PivotDesk meet SVB?
I’ve been working with Silicon Valley Bank for more than ten years. First with other startups, and now with PivotDesk.
How have PivotDesk and SVB worked together?
They’ve been a great networking and business development partner. There are really three key ways that SVB has helped PivotDesk:
First, they understand the needs and dynamics of a startup. There are no weird reactions to what we’ve got going on at the company because they understand startups from a market perspective and a growth perspective.
The second way they’ve been helpful to us is through access to their network. SVB’s clients are potential clients for us as well. So our partners at SVB have done their best to cross geographies to introduce us to others where it makes sense. The are a great business development partner to us.
Third, they put a spotlight on us. They invite us to contribute to conversations that are a huge benefit to a company at our stage. As an example, SVB kindly hosted our team for SXSW – saving us on expensive hotel rooms and connecting us with contacts who could really help us move the needle forward. One of the best parts? SVB’s CEO joined us for dinner and gave us time to pick his brain. It’s not too often that a company like SVB gives you such direct access to their resources and we’re thankful for it.
What do you think sets Silicon Valley Bank apart?
I’m not pushing a huge rock up a steep hill every time I talk with my banker. SVB understands startups. There are no weird reactions when I tell them what’s going on in my company: from cash flow, to banking account structure, to the speed of change in a startup—they get it.
They also have relationships across the VC community and understand how venture capitalists operate, which makes our banking easier. I don’t have to explain the process to them.
Do you have any advice for other founders who want to build good relationships with their banking partners?
Look at your banker as a partner. The more your banker understands you, your business, and how your business functions, the better they can serve you. If you—whether you’re the CEO or CFO—don’t make the effort to help that relationship, a productive relationship is not going to happen.
What’s the latest and greatest in the PivotDesk world?
This summer, we released a product called Cultivate that leverages the PivotDesk marketplace to enable commercial real estate brokers to help growing businesses avoid the static nature of traditional office space and find solutions that make sense for their needs today.
Cultivate means brokers no longer have to say no to servicing smaller clients. Instead, the platform allows them to find flexible space for growing businesses, help offset costs for larger businesses with extra space and manage their relationships with these businesses as they grow and change over time.